Most of us will always remember the shocking news that Tom Brady not only left New England, but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For those of us that have watched Brady’s entire career unfold, it always seemed inevitable that he and Bill Belichick would retire together, riding of into the sunset in Canton, Ohio.
This was obviously not to be as Brady and the Patriots decided to mutually part ways as Brady would move on to just his second ever NFL Head Coach, Bruce Arians.
We’re halfway through NFL Week 8 and the results are pretty clear. Bill Belichick needed Brady a lot more than Brady needed coach Bill.
We’ve seen Belichick coach without Brady before and as a professional and card-carrying Tom Brady hater, I always thought it was the system in New England that made Tom so Terrific. In 2008, Brady suffered an injury that ended his season and the Patriots went on to an 11-5 record missing the playoffs despite a terrific record.
We’d also seen countless quarterbacks look pretty good in this system including Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett, Matt Castle and most notably Jimmy Garoppolo. If Belichick decided to coach during life after Brady, the system seemed poised to make a host of QBs successful especially considering the middling success those guys have had in other situations. (Except Jimmy G since he obviously just made a Super Bowl last year.)
It now seems obvious that none of us truly understood what the Tom Brady effect was until this season.
In Week 1, we saw Brady look a bit old and lose to another aging quarterback in Drew Brees. The Patriots looked dominant against their divisional rival Miami Dolphins and it seemed the previous notions about Brady and Belichick were to come true.
Fast forward 7 weeks and we clearly see that isn’t the case.
Statistically, the difference is eye-opening
The New England Patriots and their fans watched Cam Newton seemingly fumble away any real opportunity of making up ground against the Bills or Dolphins today as Newton continued his poor play in a season riddled with COVID-19 issues and terrible turnovers. Through two weeks, Newton looked poised to be the comeback player of the year. We now see why so many teams avoided signing him this offseason.
Through 8 weeks and 7 games played, the Belichick and Brady have mirror image records at 2-5 and 5-2 respectively. Brady and Newton have seemingly had mirror image seasons statistically as well.
Brady has been spectacular this season throwing for 1,910 yards, 18 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. And in case you’ve been living on a rock, his offense is only going to get better soon. Chris Godwin has had injury issues early, but he will return in week 9 as will a certain formerly dubbed best wide receiver in the league.
Newton, on the other hand, has been horrific. He has thrown for just 969 yards entering today’s game with 2 tds and 7 interceptions adding 244 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.
His performance against a divisional rival wasn’t any better adding 174 yards in the air with no touchdowns and 54 yards on the ground with a TD and the most devastating fumble of the season so far.
As sports fans, we can have knee-jerk reactions that make outlandish opinions like this seem as if they are formed too soon, but we’re halfway through the 2020 NFL Season and the Patriots are in third place in the AFC East and are now 4 full games behind the Buffalo Bills and appear to have very little chance at challenge for even a Wild Card Playoff spot.
The Buccaneers look poised to not only challenge the Saints for the NFC South title, but perhaps make a run toward a Super Bowl as Brady and his weapons continue to get frighteningly more and more comfortable with each other.
Its safe to assume that the Patriots season is done and the franchise is left with question marks all over the field including at the quarterback position.
We always knew life after Brady was coming, but nobody knew it would be like this.