Sunday, January 13, 2008

Belichick is a Genius, Haven't You Heard?

Someone on one of the radio stations a few weeks back brought up a great point about Bill Belichick. And this, of course, has been brought up before but it doesn't get nearly enough play: He was a head coach once of the Cleveland Browns, and went 36-44 over five seasons. Hardly someone you could call a genius, at least then. And then, in 2001, after Belichick's first season in which he went 5-11, Drew Bledsoe gets hurt and then enter Tom Brady, and all of the sudden the Patriots started winning Super Bowls.

The point is, as we all know, it takes great personnel to win games. There are probably some coaches out there that could take this current 17-0 Patriots and lose more ballgames than Belichick, but I almost guarantee those same coaches would be in the playoffs anyway. And when you have guys like Corey Dillon a few years ago and Randy Moss this year willing to play for less on a team that is already good, becoming a genius is so much easier.

I heard this usual overwhelming praise for Belichick a lot yesterday, as if people can't say enough how incredible he is. He could not take over the Miami Dolphins tomorrow and make them the same team as the Patriots. However, there is a sort of domino effect to his perceived reputation, and that is players will want to play for him now that he's won so much. And maybe he could take the hypothetical Dolphins to a Super Bowl in a few years, but it would be because he has people on the field that can execute.

Also, I really like Tom Brady. I've always thought he was a great field commander, because he efficiently ran a game without major stars. And we now see what he can do when he has at least one. But we can no longer compare him to Peyton Manning and say one is better than the other. They are both as excellent as you can possibly be. If you had a choice between the two, you can't lose. I'm sure there will be lots of wasted time trying to decide who's better long after they retire. Belichick is lucky to have one of them.

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