Not even a Hoodie Head like myself is going to argue that the Pats will simply keep on chugging once Brady and Belichick leave, but I would argue that Belichick is the more important piece of the puzzle, by a nose.
Look, Brady’s probably going to be the greatest QB of all time by the time he hangs them up. You can’t minimize the player he is, but the precedent is there with the 49ers for a team to maintain a level of dominance through a quarterback transition. Belichick has spoken admirably of what San Francisco did going from Montana to Young, and with his sense of history it wouldn’t surprise me to see him try to do the same thing in New England.
There’s also the matter of the currently much-maligned Patriots defense. In a few years they will start to hit their peak, and with the talent that has been added over the last few seasons there’s no telling what their ceiling is. So that should also help. Just look at how long Baltimore has gotten by with a great defense and just average quarterback play.
Finally there’s Belichick. In football the coach is king and BB affects every facet of the Patriots football organization. Some will point to the Matt Cassel year as an example of how the Pats can survive without Brady, but that was a team that simply won the games the should’ve and lost to the every good team they played. That makes 2008 a little deceiving. Still, there’s no arguing that the Pats were prepared when Brady went down, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe that Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett would be capable if put in the same situation. Last year’s Colts team shows just how badly things can go if you don’t have a viable back up quarterback plan.
Ultimately Belichick and Brady are so intertwined it’s hard to make definitive statements about what one would do without the other. But as long as the Belichick system is in place the odds seem decent that the Patriots will remain competitive after Brady retires.
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