Success is either Belichick or Brady - A Catch 22...or is it?

sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Ever since the greatest quarterback of this era, Tom Brady, suffered a left flat tire, there's been a theory floating around.  A theory so irrefutable that many say it creates a Catch 22.  Here ya go: If the Patriots do well this season, then their success can be attributed to Bill Belichick and the coaching system he's put in place.  Clearly, in that case, Tom Brady is a mediocre quarterback and simply the product of a great system.  On the other side of the coin, if the Patriots flounder, Bill Belichick and his system are in question and have been the beneficiary of a great quarterback in Tom Brady, hitting the quarterback lottery, if you will.  Ironclad, right?  Of course.  Obviously there's no way out of this one.  Clearly.  Horsepucky. 

This line of reasoning is so pedestrian and sophmoric, I'm surprised it's made it past the sixth graders reading the sports page.  Like a cheap prom dress, it unravels quickly.  Like a Miller Lite, it's initially thirst quenching, but ultimately unsatisfying.  Like a...drop it, dude.  Ok, one more.  Like a Family Guy episode, it makes me want to puke.  So let's easily tear it to shreds, shall we?

If the Patriots do well without him, Brady's a mediocre QB

  • When Brady took over the reins in 2001, the team wasn't much to write home about.  Coming off of a 5-11 2000 regular season, things opened up in 2001.  Troy Brown went from 944 yards to 1199.  First down conversions went from 82/234 to 91/221 and TDs went up from 28 to 43.  Clearly, "The Team" benefitted from having a capable leader on the field.
  • 3 Rings.  'Nuff said.  Success like that doesn't happen without a great quarterback to lead the team.  Oh, by the way, he's only had 1 regular season 1,000 yard receiver during those Superbowl wins (Troy Brown in 2001).  Teams with average quarterbacks just don't win Super Bowls.  Well, almost never.
  • 2007.  Again, 'Nuff said.  He couldn't seal the deal, but that season broke more records than any other.  It was carpet bombing.  It was pillaging on a grand scale.  An average quarterback with great toys can't do what Tom did.  No way, no how.

If the Patriots do poorly without Brady, Belichick's a mediocre coach

  • Well, Belichick's clearly mediocre.  Look how bad he was at Cleveland!  Well, duh!!  That was twenty years ago.  I'd say he's learned a few things since then.  Like how to take advantage of, and mold a hidden talent like, Tom Brady.  Players don't become great by themselves.  And players can't be great without a well coached team around them.  Here's an example: In 2000, the Patriots turnover ration was -2.  In 2001, +7 (positive is good, btw).  That's a team effort and is brought on by good coaching.
  • It is quite clear that Belichick's a great coach.  Great teams are built and only great coaches know how to build them.  In 2000, Belichick was handed a team that ultimately went 5-11.  An 11-5 2001 and a ring was accomplished with a Brady passer's rating of 86.5 compared to a 2007 of 117.2.  That can only be done with a TEAM, not a group of guys and a coach reliant on a great quarterback.
  • Matt Cassel could implode (shhhhh!!).  He may just not have the talent to do what it takes.  Is this Belichick's fault?  Hardly.  Is it Belichick's fault for putting him in there?  Nope.  How many teams have first string quarterbacks waiting in the wings?  If they do, they won't be there for long.  It's stupid to think a backup can take the reins and do the impossible (think Jim Sorgi).  Or is it (think Tom Brady)?

This whole "obvious" Catch 22 arguement is a little ridiculous.  Great systems create great players.  Without the system, it's just raw talent with nowhere to go.  Mold that talent and you have a superstar.  Randy Moss, anyone?  So let's stop this silliness, shall we?  I'm going to have fun watching the New England Patriots succeed no matter what happens.  Like they've done for the past 8 years.  Welcome to Chowdah Land.  Boom Baby!!

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