INDIANAPOLIS — How much shine has come off of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in recent years?

The duo has now gone seven years without a Super Bowl after winning three titles in a four-year span. Since then, they’ve posted a playoff record of 7-6, losing twice in the in the Super Bowl itself.

It goes well beyond Brady and Belichick, obviously.

By all indications, Brady’s still an elite quarterback. He’s had three historically good seasons in the last five years, which is pretty amazing considering that he lost 2008 due to a knee injury. And on Sunday night, the guy did┬ácomplete 16 consecutive passes at one point.

And by all indications, Belichick is still a Hall of Fame coach. He won 11 games without Brady in 2008 and captured the AFC’s top seed the last two years despite the fact New England’s had considerable turnover on both sides of the ball. His draft record is still superb, and his teams continue to dominate despite ranking in the bottom of the barrel defensively.

That said, this was a quarterback-coach duo that was seemingly destined to eclipse the accomplishments of anyone who had ever played/coached the game. And now, they have two rather glaring stains that might prevent them from earning those reputations.

Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw never lost any Super Bowls. Neither did Chuck Noll or Bill Walsh.

When it mattered Sunday night, Brady was outplayed by Eli Manning. Again.

And based on New York’s ability to avoid costly penalties and keep the chains moving with slightly more success than the Pats, despite losing two tight ends to injury during the game, I’d argue that Tom Coughlin outcoached Belichick. Again.

It’s funny, because if Mario Manningham doesn’t make a circus sideline catch on New York’s final drive, or if an injured Rob Gronkowski is able to secure just one of two prayer throws from Brady, I’m writing a completely different post right now.

If that happens, I’m claiming that they’ve regained or even bolstered their legacies. But dynasties have to be able to overcome bad breaks.

And don’t blame the reputably horrific defense. This is a unit that gets beat on a lot, but the coverage was fantastic for much of the night. They held the Giants to only 19 offensive points, and that number would have been quite a lot lower had it not been for Manning’s astonishing accuracy.

This came down to making big plays in big moments, and despite outplaying the Giants for much of the game, the Patriots made fewer plays.

As a result, Brady and Belichick have lost some more luster.

Comments (9)

  1. I love Brady with all my heart, but dude’s messed up.

  2. You are such a Patriots hater Brad. The patriots were far from a complete team coming in, and that’s what we saw down the stretch. They lost the battle for field position throughout the whole match, which meant that Brady was constantly starting drives from inside his own half. The patriots run totally evaporated at times, which meant that drives were totally dependant on Tom’s ability to generate yardage (compared to Manning’s ability to hand it off constantly then work the play-action pass). And yeah, Brady put together an insane hotstreak in the middle of a game where his go to offensive target was lame.

    The team’s shortcomings (including drops by Welker and Branch which could have forstalled giving the ball to Eli with time on the clock) shouldn’t impact your analysis of whether Brady put it together or not. He carried that team.

    • I picked the Patriots to win. I had a lot of fun with some of their players last week. Try not to be a “hater” or supporter of any particular team, but me being accused of having it in for the Patriots makes little sense.

  3. the difference in eli’s play and brady’s is that the former had receivers who made catches when the ball hit their hands…

    • I completely disagree and have a hard time comprehending how anyone could watch that game and see it any other way. I just re-watched every play, and Manning was simply more accurate more often, threading needles through tight coverage. Brady had several important throws that simply missed the target, and the Welker “drop” was one of them. He also had an intentional grounding resulting in a safety and threw the game’s only interception on a pass that never should have been thrown. He was outplayed.

      • true — i forgot about that early safety. hard to win when you do that. i guess its safe to say though the game could have been closer if his wide outs had made those catches — the welker catch was a bit behind him, but he still got his hands on it and if you can get your hands on it, it should be a catch. the subsequent drops were so much worse because they were good throws and were so critical for a last minute drive, guess it amplified their costliness.

  4. also it’s a bit ridiculous to say he’s lost a bit of luster man. he’s won three super bowls in a league that is way different — much more competitive — than when bradshaw and montana were playing. tom brady has lost nothing, remember he was a 6th round pick? remember how he told robert craft when he was drafted that he didn’t make a mistake?

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