A first-year coach, leading his failing team to a division championship, turning a former draft bust into a superstar, and bringing back old school football makes for a great story. Has anyone in recent memory paralleled this success?
Still, Belichick did better.
I say this earnestly, solemnly and truthfully. As a Pats fan, I know how frustrating this season has been. We've lost to a bad team (the Bills), we've lost to a team due to penalties (the Giants), and we have one of the worst defenses of all time. I say that we should try to sign and play Curtis Painter at safety. Can't be worse than what we've already got.
Cliche. Yes, I know.
The 49ers and the Pats may seem like complete opposites. On one side: a weak passing game, a strong running game, and an elite defense. On the other: an elite passing game and not too much else.
Harbaugh can take a lot of credit for turning his team around, but Belichick did more with less. Frank Gore was in San Fran before 2011, as was most of the Niners defense. The coaching, nonetheless, was superb.
On the other hand, Belichick did equal amounts with far less. One can blame him for his failure to create a stable and steady defense, but none can deny him those 13 wins with that same defense. His defensive stars have had a revolving door of injuries, and now unaccomplished wide receivers are starting in the secondary.
This is a massive success.
During the first halves of games, it seems like the Patriots are being decimated. They are often shut out and are run over by the opposing offense.
During the second half, we see a whole different team.
Take the Week 17 Buffalo game for example.
In the first quarter, NE gave up 21 straight points. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots gained a whopping total of five yards.
In the second quarter, the Pats exploded.Thirty-five points and four interceptions (which actually would have been five if not for a penalty post-interception to negate the turnover). Pure magic.
Belichick has this ability, this endowment, where he can Midas the lowest of the low within a few quarters.
This year, the games are not being won by the players, but by the Hoodie.