Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe seemingly chose a side regarding the debate about who was more responsible for the New England Patriots dynasty between quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
“I think what has happened, and I can just speak for me, is I owe Brady an apology because I don’t think I gave him enough credit,” Sharpe explained during an appearance on the ESPN “First Take” program, as shared by Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post. “I should’ve given him even more credit, because what Brady allowed coach Belichick to do, Brady is the largest eraser in pro sports.”
The combination of Brady and Belichick guided the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships from 2000 through the 2019 season until the signal-caller signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020. While Brady ended his first campaign atop Tampa Bay’s depth chart with a Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in February 2021, Belichick hasn’t yet won a playoff game without the 199th pick of the 2000 draft on the roster.
The Patriots went 8-9 last season and head into Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders at 1-4 amid rumors suggesting team owner Robert Kraft could move on from Belichick as soon as this winter if the coach endures another losing campaign. Unnamed NFL executives took shots at New England’s overall lack of talent following the club’s 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday, but Sharpe hinted that Brady could produce better results with the current Patriots offense than what quarterback Mac Jones has delivered over the past couple of weeks.
“Every mistake that coach Belichick made during those two decades, Brady could erase it,” Sharpe said.
After the Patriots fell to the Dallas Cowboys 38-3 on Oct. 1, one league executive told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated that Jones “won’t be the reason” New England consistently earns victories. Assuming that’s accurate, Sharpe reminded fans that Belichick simply got used to having an all-time great at the sport’s most important position for the better part of two decades.
“But what it does go to show you is that no matter how great of a defensive or offensive mind you are, if you don’t have a guy that’s (6-foot-4) and 200-plus pounds with an arm, you’re whistling in the wind,” Sharpe added.
Brady sounds committed to remaining retired this time around, and there’s no sign the Belichick-Jones partnership is close to fixing a team that may be dealing with issues beyond just losing games. The numbers don’t lie, and they show Belichick isn’t sniffing a Super Bowl appearance anytime soon without TB12.