Revenge is a dish greatest served in a stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Sunday evening’s recreation is not precisely a big-picture matchup within the grand scheme of the 2021 NFL season, however typically the league’s natural drama is just too good to not concentrate to. Week 4’s Patriots vs. Buccaneers “Sunday Night Football” tilt is the purest instance of that: Conquering hero Tom Brady returns to Gillette Stadium in a Buccaneers uniform, going through off in opposition to Bill Belichick, the person below whom he gained six Lombardi Trophies.
While this recreation does not precisely have playoff implications or is even a preview of a possible Super Bowl 56 matchup, each Brady and Belichick are enjoying for one thing private (and candy): Payback.
With information of the schism between Brady, Belichick and the remainder of the group trickling out since Brady’s departure from New England, the sport goes to imply loads for 2 guys who’re seemingly dying to show one thing to the opposite occasion. So, who needs Sunday’s recreation extra? The case for each guys is fairly robust.
The case for Tom Brady
At age 44, with seven Super Bowl rings, the NFL’s winningest participant and some of the prolific passers in league historical past has an opportunity to … make historical past as soon as once more.
Tom Brady has made a degree of proving everybody unsuitable his total profession, even off of manufactured bulletin board materials that possibly does not make a whole lot of sense. Just look again on this from 2019, weeks earlier than Brady and Belichick gained their sixth Super Bowl:
(Everyone thinks the Patriots suck? Who mentioned that, Tom?)
Well, in any case, with a win on Sunday, Brady has a chance to be a part of Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as the one quarterbacks in NFL historical past to beat all 32 NFL groups. The final remaining victory, although, is likely to be the sweetest.
Brady already proved he can win away from Foxborough and his former head coach along with his Super Bowl-winning season in 2020, however the Buccaneers did not have to undergo New England to do it. It additionally says one thing that Brady walked right into a readymade scenario loaded with expertise, serving to intensify his skillset in his twilight years. (There’s nothing unsuitable with saying that, by the way in which.)
There is little question that, spoken, hypothesis, reported or reality, Brady would adore a win over Belichick in his return to Foxborough and as soon as add one other bulletpoint to his GOAT resume whereas shoving it in Belichick’s face.
The win would not imply greater than a Super Bowl, clearly, however Brady’s “Prove Them Wrong” demeanor has been on show for 20 years.
Given that Brady’s alternatives to face Belichick and the Patriots once more sooner or later are slimmer and slimmer, Brady, who reportedly handled the connection along with his head coach deteriorating by means of the top phases of tenure with the Patriots, completely needs to hold another pelt on the wall.
A win would not solely give him historical past, it will give him satisfaction — and who is aware of when this chance would current itself once more as Brady nears the top of his profession. Whenever that occurs.
The case for Bill Belichick
Belichick does deserve credit score for serving to develop Brady into the participant he’s right now, however how a lot? That’s a significant query that is still, and it is one which’s not going to be answered within the rapid.
There’s no denying that Belichick getting a win on Sunday would quell post-Brady anxieties in New England, which is why the Patriots want this win greater than Brady and the Bucs do.
As odd as it’s to say, Belichick, coming of a 7-9 season, has one thing left to show with out Brady on the helm. The Brady impact has already been felt in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers’ win in Super Bowl 55, leaving Belichick with some catching up to do. The Patriots put collectively a reasonably uninspiring 2020 season with out Brady.
Belichick has lengthy been recognized to do issues his means as a coach and a GM, and there is a good probability this is without doubt one of the final occasions that Belichick and Brady will meet within the common season — until the 69-year-old Belichick discovers the fountain of youth and coaches into his mid-to-late 70s. That’s a risk, if Belichick is hellbent on wanting to catch Don Shula in profession victories (Belichick has 281 wins, the late-great Shula has 328).
The Hoodie has routinely drafted mid-round quarterbacks, and most of these mid-round quarterbacks have flunked out within the league. That’s sort of anticipated. After all, it is a listing that features Ryan Mallett, Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell, Jarrett Stidham. That’s not essentially the most glowing and NFL-ready group, and so they’re not guys who have been anticipated to evolve into franchise passers.
With Mac Jones, although, Belichick has a chance to take a passer and show he can develop him right into a franchise sign caller. Very few NFL coaches are afforded the chance to nurture two franchise QBs: Belichick’s success has put him within the place to accomplish that. Now he has to make good on it.
With the drama in Gillette unfolding and blooming for years and ultimately main to Brady’s departure from New England, Belichick goes to have to construct a championship contender as soon as once more whereas additionally molding a younger QB. The Patriots aren’t far off from being contenders, however nobody will confuse them for being the elite AFC shoe-in that they had been for years.
Brady exhibiting up to Foxborough with Gronk is like an previous highschool buddy coming again to city along with his new faculty buddies. Just take a look at how a lot enjoyable he is having; Winning championships with out you, consuming tequila by the gallon, starring in commercials. The work is simply starting for Belichick to attain that tenth Super Bowl.
Brady vs. Belichick: Who needs it extra?
It’s simple to say that each events benefited from the breakup — one facet far more than the opposite — however the reality is, individuals will all the time surprise what Belichick is with out the best quarterback of all time. The clock is working out on a solution to that query.
Belichick, at 69, seemingly does not have an extended, lengthy profession forward of him to determine the quarterback place and construct a confirmed, sustainable winner. Brady has already confirmed he can win with out Belichick. While Belichick has a lone 11-5 season with out Brady (the Matt Cassel 12 months) there’s not a lot else to show that the Patriots Dynasty was extra a results of Belichick than Brady, even when it was a 51-49 share in both means.
This is not to say that Belichick is a foul or unsuccessful coach, however getting the W over his biggest pupil would go an extended, good distance.