Their partnership gave the franchise six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances over two decades.
Brady had an edge on who mattered more during their successful run when he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.
Started 1-3 and 2-4 and, yet, they’re still the first AFC team to 9 wins and head into a Week 14 bye-week with sole possession of the top spot in the conference.
What a run for the New England @Patriots
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) December 7, 2021
But the 69-year-old coach might get his first championship sans Brady this year if the good times continue to roll for the Patriots.
Though New England still has four regular-season games left, Belichick built a solid case for an individual award.
It will be a controversy if he doesn’t win his fourth Coach of the Year and his first in over a decade.
The 2020 Patriots weren’t that bad, finishing with a 7-9 record under Belichick and quarterback Cam Newton.
However, they did not waste time building a competitive roster, thanks to their draft picks and free-agent acquisitions during the 2021 offseason.
Belichick got the players he wanted, given that he’s also the team’s de facto general manager.
New England has stormed into free agency in an atypical Patriots way, spending big money on two big weaknesses – former Titans’ TE Jonnu “Easy 💰” Smith and former Dolphins’ NT Davon Godchaux.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2021
The Patriots also acquired defensive tackle Davon Godchaux from Miami via a two-year, $15 million deal.
But while the pieces are already in place, the Patriots suffered growing pains.
Final stat line for the winning QB, Mac Jones: 2 for 3 for 19 yards, 0 TD 0 INT with 4 rushes for 1 yard. Brilliant.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 7, 2021
Belichick had to figure out the right combination for his players, and his new starters needed time to learn the system.
As a result, it looked like the Foxborough faithful would have to endure another down year as the team lost four of their first six games.
Yet within the season, the Patriots turned from losers to legitimate contenders.
That quick turnaround must be the feather in Belichick’s cap to become the 2021 Coach of the Year.
— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 7, 2021
Since their overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Patriots went undefeated in November and started December on a high note.
They’ve had scoring outputs of 54, 45, and 36 points throughout their seven-game win streak.
More importantly, their defense intensified, surrendering just 10.42 points per game during that stretch.
Winning At All Costs
New England’s position as the AFC’s top seed after Week 13 and Jones’ emergence are just two reasons Belichick is the rightful Coach of the Year.
But their recent victory against the Buffalo Bills encapsulates his ability to devise a game plan that exploits their opponent’s weakness.
Jones threw three total passes, and the Patriots called run plays throughout the game, knowing that the Bills are struggling to stop the ground game.
The swirling winds at Highmark Stadium also made it difficult for pass attempts.
The @patriots run game vs the @buffalobills run defense. Same formation-2 different plays. Me and @realrclark25 had a guest appearance from @mspears96 👀👀@espnnfl @mikereiss @benvolin @tomecurran #patriots pic.twitter.com/iliRjzAu7F
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) December 7, 2021
The plan worked as the Patriots won, 14-10.
Buffalo will seek revenge during their rematch in Week 16.
Regardless of that game’s outcome, Belichick is the rightful Coach of the Year winner.
Zac Taylor’s Cincinnati Bengals are the only team that had a dramatic transformation this year, but they’re still behind the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
The New England Patriots are currently the #1 seed in the AFC standings. 🔥👀 LFG! pic.twitter.com/Oox5ktVJjd
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) December 6, 2021
Mike McCarthy could also stake a claim, but he doesn’t call plays on both sides of the ball.
Therefore, Belichick has the award on lock unless something monumental happens.