The New England Patriots hired Bill Belichick as head coach on January 4, 2000. After 17 seasons as the head man in New England, Belichick has a regular season record of 201-71 with 7 AFC titles and 5 Super Bowls. Love them or hate them, no other NFL franchise has come close to sustaining the success the Patriots have been able to maintain since the turn of the century. Belichick’s formula may not please the critics and may have created a lot of haters over the years, But for the fans of the Patriots, they wouldn’t want it any other way.
When you try to piece together how exactly Belichick has been able to sustain his success you have to start with the one man Belichick has always counted on, Tom Brady. Brady is the best quarterback that’s ever stepped on the field and without his constant success and leadership there’s no way the dynasty would be as great as it is.
Brady has always shown the uncanny ability to still be great with whatever he’s given. Just think about what he worked with this year. He had Kevin Hogan, who only had one year of football experience in college and bounced around the league until he found a home in New England. Julian Edelman was a quarterback at Kent State and had to convert to a receiver when he entered the NFL and is now Brady’s number one target. Malcolm Mitchell was a 4th round pick this year and Brady quickly got him into action as Mitchell was able to make a major impact toward the end of the year. Having Brady as your quarterback to lead your franchise does you a lot of good and with help from his coaching staff Belichick and Brady are the winningest coach quarterback combination of all time.
Another thing Belichick does extremely well is the ability to know when to get rid of players whether it’s due to age or if it’s to get value for players he won’t resign. Dynasty’s before the Patriots didn’t have to worry about this aspect because without a salary cap teams were able to lock up their stars with large contracts. Now with a cap in place, team’s have struggled with keeping their star players. To Belichick, every player expendable no matter how much skill they possess. Examples include Lawyer Milloy who was a big hitting safety for the Patriots during the mid 90s and early 2000s. He is known for being the first in a long line of star players Belichick would move on from. Belichick also moved on from great stars including Ty Law, who’s considered to be the best defensive back the Patriots ever had, and Richard Seymour, who was surprisingly traded to the Raiders.
After the Patriots destroyed defenses with great weapons like Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Belichick let them leave once he thought they were past their prime. Long time nose tackle, Vince Wilfork was unable to restructure a contract two years ago and Belichick released him. Most recently, Belichick traded edge rusher Chandler Jones in a surprising move last offseason and also traded star linebacker Jamie Collins to the Browns for a third rounder.
Belichick has definitely done a few trades that may put fans up in arms but Belichick and his staff always finds a way to work the pieces they have. For example, this season, after trading Chandler Jones, the Patriots were still able get pressure on the quarterback thanks to the emergence of 4th rounder Trey Flowers and free agent Chris Long. After the Patriots traded Jamie Collins, the Patriots were still able to plug up the middle due to the emergence of 6th rounder Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy, who the Patriots converted to an inside linebacker after trading for him in the middle of the season. This unique ability to move on from star player and still win games is one of the main reason why Belichick has been able to win the Salary Cap Era.
Now that Belichick and the Patriots have 5 Super Bowls, the Patriots’ dynasty is a strong contender for the greatest in NFL history.