I'm not going to give much credence to the list of "100 Most Influential People for the 2015 Season", compiled by Monday Morning Quarterback, because they have the Packers 4th receiver on their depth chart (maybe even lower) ranked 26th overall. They go on to explain their ranking for Jared Abbrederis by stating, "No, we're not really arguing that a 2014 fifth-round pick who spent his rookie year on injured reserve will be one of the most influential figures in the NFL this season."
So I'll take the list as seriously as the folks at MMQB did. But since the venerable Greg Bedard wrote up the article for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, coming in at 4th overall, well, it's worth a share.
Belichick isn't the first Patriot on the list. Owner Robert Kraft is 14th. All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is 37th. Back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is 42nd.
Belichick ranks 4th because of how much power he wields. He's in charge of the reigning Super Bowl champs. He can have new rules implemented with the flick of his wrist (and the inevitable complaint of the vanquished). He's remodeled and retooled his team on a year-to-year basis, and this upcoming season is no different.
The Patriots don't have a secondary that can compare to last season's unit. This is a passing league. Oh, and the Patriots might be without their quarterback, Tom Brady.
Yet you'll be hard pressed to find someone who thinks that Belichick won't find a way to cobble together a team that will compete (and win) the AFC East for the trillionth time. Belichick thrives in this scenario; it's what keeps him young (it's either the love of competition, or the painting in his attic).
With Belichick coming in 4th, it will be interesting to see who MMQB ranks ahead of him. Roger Goodell makes sense as one. Tom Brady hasn't been listed (Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers have all been listed so it would be weird not to see Brady). Everyone else that comes to mind as "important" has already been named.
Who would you rank ahead of Belichick with regards to influence on the upcoming NFL season?