When Tom Brady went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first week of the season, experts from all over said that the Patriots are done. That they were a .500 team at best, and Bill Belichick would have to be a genius to produce a winning season.
Things didn't get any easier from him, either. The man who replaced his All-Universe QB hadn't started a meaningful game since high school.
Laurence Maroney, Adalius Thomas, and Tedy Bruschi have all suffered season-ending injuries. His whole team has been banged up all season.
But as is the way with Belichick, none of that matters. He has produced a very good football team through all the adversity.
You could even call him a genius.
He's proved that the system he established in New England isn't dependant on Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi, or any other single player. It's a system of picking up and drafting the right players, giving the starters a cast of more than adequate backups and excellent game-planning.
Both his offense and his defense are complex and they change with every game the Patriots play. But Belichick runs a tight ship.
When they go out to get a free agent or when they use their picks in the draft, Belichick and Scott Pioli choose players that can fit into Belichick's mold. Talented, driven, smart and coachable.
They want every player on their roster to know their job and do it successfully, no matter what that job is.
All of this adds up to a system of team management. One that can take its lumps during the season and still manage to be a solid football team. He simply doesn't get enough credit for that.
Belichick catches a lot of heat from players, coaches, and fans around the league. He's not well-respected like a Tony Dungy or a Bill Cowher, but he doesn't strive to be.
Bill Belichick wants only one thing: He wants to win football games. And he doesn't care whose feelings he hurts in the process.
People from all around the league often have very few nice things to say about Bill Belichick the person.
Yet, I dare you to show me a franchise that wouldn't want to have Bill Belichick roaming their sidelines right now. From choosing his players to his weekly planing, he is a winner in every aspect of the game. Nothing more, nothing less.
Love him or hate him, Bill Belichick is one of the league's greatest football minds
The job he has done this season has proven his doubters wrong.