The Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years during the 2000s, leading to all-decade honors for the team, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Tim Graham ESPN.com selected Belichick as its all-decade coach for guiding the New England Patriots to three Super Bowls and four AFC championships and at least tying for the AFC East's best record each year since 2001.
That same résumé is why ESPN.com also chose Tom Brady as its MVP and the Patriots as its team of the decade. The honors were bestowed with consultation from NFL general managers, coaches, scouts and players.
"You have to recognize championships because, ultimately, that's what we're playing for," Belichick said when informed of ESPN.com's selections.
Belichick is more than a head coach. When the Patriots hired him in 2000, owner Robert Kraft essentially gave Belichick total control over football operations. Belichick handpicked his supporting cast and signed off on every major decision.
"He's made some great moves, brought in some players who had been released from other places. And he's done it year after year," said Ted Marchibroda, the coach who gave Belichick his start with the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
"As a player, you get some unique opportunities to learn from some of the best, and I thought this was a great opportunity to learn,’’ he said. "It’s a chance to find out if this is something you want to do when you’re done playing. A lot of the guys here, including myself, kind of feel like this is something they might be interested in, but they really don’t know where they would fit in or what they really want to do, so you come to a broadcast boot camp and get thrown into the fire, and you go through a lot of different scenarios.’’
- NECN Boston honors sports legends at "The Tradition" (1min. video).
Patriots all-time leading receiver Troy Brown, center, enters the Sport Museum’s The Tradition sports gala at TD Banknorth Garden with sons Sirmon and Sanjay Wednesday.
Christopher Price reports on the praise showered on the Patriots by ESPN. Miami DE Jason Taylor wasn't surprised about Brady receiving honors, "
"The guy’s just a winner," Taylor told Graham. "He knows how to win, period.
"He’s got the talent. But everybody at this level has talent. … Maybe he does have a little more God-given ability than some others, but between the ears he’s as good as they come."
- Mark Farinella thanks Michael Jackson for the Lombardi Trophies. The degree of separation between Michael Jackson's Victory Tour and the fortunes of the New England Patriots.
- Mike Reiss discusses the Vince Wilfork/Richard Seymour dynamic, their contract situation and which is the more valuable player.
- Mike Reiss talks about Robert Kraft's opportunity to buy Liverpool, why he turned the offer down, and his views of the salary cap in the NFL.
- Mike Reiss checked in for his weekly Patriots online chat yesterday. Lots of good insight here as usual and worth the read.
- Michael Hurley questions why the best quarterback in the league, Tom Brady, isn't paid like one.
David Heck says Peppers to the Patriots is an unlikely, though not impossible, dream.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Belichick still working on his legacy.
- Adrian Hasenmayer (Fox Sports) ranks the NFL's top ten clutch players. Wes Welker 6th (an "unstoppable waterbug on speed"), Peyton 3rd, Vinatieri 2nd, and Tom Brady 1st. Gee, is the bandwagon big enough to hold everyone???
- Nick Szczepanik (London Times) Robert Kraft turned down chance to buy Liverpool.
"I wanted to do it," he said. "I met with David Moores [the former Liverpool owner], who is a fine gentlemen, and we came very close to buying it, very close. But in the end, my instinct was - not without a salary cap. If a salary cap come to the English Premier League, I’d buy a team in a minute."