Belichick and Brady had an incredible run in New England. During the 18 seasons in which Brady was the starting quarterback — Brady threw only three passes his rookie year and was hurt in 2008 — Belichick and Brady went to
nine Super Bowls and won six.
They also won 10 or more regular season games during 17 of those 18 seasons. To give you an idea of how incredible that record is, the Washington Football Team (formerly the Redskins) has won 10 games during the regular season only twice since 2000.
So how will Belichick and Brady do without each other?
In 2008, when Brady was injured in the first game and did not play for the rest of the season, the Patriots still posted an 11-5 (11 wins and five losses) record.
Matt Cassel was the Patriots’ quarterback in 2008. Believe me, Cassel was not Brady. He bounced around the NFL for much of his career, playing for six teams mostly as a backup. So Belichick has shown he can win without “Tom Terrific.”
This season, the Patriots will have Cam Newton as quarterback. Although he was hurt last year, Newton is a talented signal caller who has gone to one Super Bowl and three Pro Bowls during his nine-year career. My guess is that Belichick and Newton will lead the Patriots back into the playoffs.
Brady may have a tougher assignment in Tampa Bay even though the Buccaneers are loaded with offensive weapons. Brady can target wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, who combined for 153 catches and 2,490 receiving yards last season. Brady’s old Patriots pal, tight end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, has signed with Tampa Bay, too.
Still, Brady is trying to do something that has not been done in the history of the NFL — be an effective, full-time quarterback at age 43.
Blanda was really a kicker who occasionally played quarterback. Moon threw only 37 passes during his last two seasons at ages 43 and 44. Testaverde and Flutie were mostly backups in their 40s.
Maybe Brady will be the first 43-year-old quarterback to start and play well for an entire season. He is smart and has taken good care of his health.
Belichick and Brady: They won’t be together this season, but they will still be worth watching.