Bill Belichick is certain to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after he’s finished coaching - three titles gets him in - but to call him a football genius these days is completely outdated.
Although he always has one of the best teams in the NFL, and this season is no different, it’s been seven seasons since Belichick last won the Super Bowl and his three championships in his first five years in New England all came prior to being exposed in the SpyGate scandal at the beginning of the 2007 season.
The longer Belichick goes without winning a Super Bowl after the Jets and the NFL put an end to his intricate spying operation of opponents’ defensive signals, the more a case can be made that his championships deserve an asterisk.
The mystique and aura of Belichick has taken major hits.
He is supposed to be so much smarter than everybody else, so until now he has escaped criticism for his bizarre deployment of personnel in blowout games because it hasn’t resulted in a major injury.
What sense does it make leaving Tom Brady in at the end of games with leads so big even the Patriots’ putrid defense can hold them? Fortunately for Brady, nobody has taken a cheap shot at him as Belichick keeps dialing up touchdowns.
But how sick must Belichick feel now that he will be Gronk-less for the Thanksgiving Night game against the Jets at MetLife because he kept All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski on the extra point protection team after New England scored its eighth touchdown Sunday to take a 59-24 lead against the Colts with 3:55 remaining. Gronk broke his forearm and had surgery Monday.
“He is my All-Pro tight end and my quarterback’s favorite receiver. I would get him off the field,” an NFL source said Monday. “Don’t expose him any more than he has to. Belichick can be second-guessed for that. I would. If it was a game-changing situation and we need to lock down the game, then use him. But what he did is not smart. It’s not good business.”
JIM ROGASH/GETTY IMAGES
Rob Gronkowski plays one down too many against the Colts.
Belichick, who would not even acknowledge Monday that Gronkowski had surgery that’s expected to keep him out 4-6 weeks, defended leaving Gronkowski on special teams at the end of Sunday’s game, although he wasn’t on the field for the offensive series.
“Football players play football,” he said on WEEI in Boston. “You tell me which guys are going to get hurt and I’ll get them out of there.”
He added, “You have to be careful about pulling some guys and not others and sending the message that the team cares about one player more than the other.”
However, the reality is some players are more important than others. Those players need to be protected when possible to minimize the risk of being injured.
The Jets, who might need to win their final six games to make the playoffs, certainly will benefit by Gronkowski’s absence. He scored two touchdowns against them earlier this season in the Patriots’ overtime victory in Foxborough.
Brady threw his last pass Sunday against the Colts with 5:32 left even though the Patriots led 52-24. Brady took the first 58 offensive snaps until he was finally replaced by Ryan Mallett for the three plays the Patriots ran on the last series. When the Patriots beat the Jets, 45-3, near the end of the 2010 season, Belichick had Brady take every snap.
How do you average 12 wins per year in a league that strives for parity and not be somewhat smart, if not a genius? The Pats always have to draft at the bottom of each round, they have to play the divisional winners from the previous year, but they somehow keep on truckin'. No one in New England expected them to go 13-3 last year, let alone be a couple of minutes away from winning a Super Bowl. They had lots of issues personnel-wise last year, and the same is true this year.
Why shouldn't we trust Belichek's judgement?
If the Pats lose to the Jets Thursday night, and the Jets, as they did in the last matchup against the Patriots, and as they did against the Rams, if the Jets show what they are capable of in a season they may have squandered already, who has the smarter coaches? Why does this discussion event matter?
he hasn't won anything without knowing the other team's plays in advance
he stockpiles first round picks and when he uses them they suck
he let Seymour go because he wasn't "worth the money" and the d hasn't been the same since.
Actually, the D hasnt been the same since McGinest left; he was the guy that used to be the most difficult to account for.
There is plenty to criticize on draft picks, FA's, coordinators, etc., and Spygate was a joke, but the Pats have won more games with less talent than they had in the first part of the decade. He was clearly outcoached by Coughlin in the first game, and the Giants were a clearly better team the second time around. Giants fans don't be-labor their championship by lamenting how they lost brainfart games to the Redskins (twice), Eagles and Jaguars last year. It's not Belichik's fault the Giants were 9-7 when they should have been 13-3.