Bob Ryan: ‘Tom Brady And Bill Belichick Are Better Than Everybody Else’
The Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan has witnessed firsthand the entire Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era – from three Super Bowls in four years, to Spygate, to the record-setting 2007 campaign to two Super Bowl losses, to now.
Yet, for all of their accolades – of which there are many – we keep hearing, lately, a sentence that begins, “The Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since . . .”
That sentence, if you’re curious, ends in “2004” – which makes it nine years and counting if Brady and Belichick don’t hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.
After this Sunday, however, the Patriots will have played in nine AFC Championship Games in the last 13 years. So, is it possible that we’re actually underestimating the success that duo has had in Foxboro?
“I don’t know about the outside world, but I think locally they are,” Ryan said on The John Feinstein Show. “This season in particular is a gift beyond all imagination. It is utterly unexpected. And they may very well have peaked with this wonderful performance the other night (a 43-22 win over the Colts). I don’t know. And if they have, then people should be grateful for what they’ve gotten.
“But it is a run that in this era – in this salary-cap era – (that) is just phenomenal,” Ryan continued. “And it comes down to those two guys. They are the greatest partnership, statistically, in the history of the league – and they might pull one more off.
“Not only have they gone to all these championship games, but remember, the two Super Bowls they lost were lost on the last possession.”
Some in the Boston media, however, are framing Sunday’s game in Denver as must-win for the Patriots. After all, Brady is 36, and his window is closing.
Ryan called this “propaganda.”
“This is a gift from the gods to even be in this position,” he said.
The Patriots entered the season without their top five pass-catchers from a year ago, including Aaron Hernandez, who was charged with murdering Odin Lloyd. New England also lost stalwarts Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo to injury and has, at times, played without star corner Aqib Talib.
“We all know that everybody has injuries, but this is pretty extreme,” Ryan said. “At the beginning of the year, it was hard. Brady was not himself – and it wasn’t just the young receivers, either. He wasn’t accurate. He just wasn’t the guy that you know the first four or five weeks and now he is.
“But it’s an incredible tribute to Belichick’s resourcefulness and his adaptability,” added Ryan, who also praised Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. The Patriots began the season with 14 rookies on the roster – seven drafted, seven undrafted.
Nine have started at least one game.
“Now that’s scouting,” Ryan said.
Still, a lot of teams have tried – and failed – to win consistently with different pieces, with different philosophies. What makes New England special?
“It’s actually very simple,” Ryan said. “We’re all not created equal. They’re better than most everybody else. Belichick is smarter . . . and Brady – along with (Peyton) Manning – is one of the two greatest computers that’s ever stepped up to take a snap. There’s better arms out there – there’s plenty of better arms out there than both of them right now. It’s not about that. What they do better than anybody else – and you can argue which one’s better – is size up a situation as they’re taking the snap and put their team (in the best position to succeed).
“(Belichick and Brady) are just better than everybody else.”