Cardinals have chance to save fans from Brady v. Belichick fatigue
A movement is afoot in football. Brady v. Belichick might be overturned.
It is up to the Arizona Cardinals to keep this debate on barstools and out of the upcoming Super Bowl.
Our NFL franchise must save a weary nation from more Tampa/New England fatigue.
This argument felt settled nine months ago, when Tom Brady won his seventh NFL championship. He now has more rings than he does current quarterback peers who have also won a Super Bowl (six).
Both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson seem to be trapped in a special kind of torment, aware they will never catch up; aware they each have as many rings as Nick Foles and Joe Flacco; aware they will never be recognized as the G.O.A.T.
Brady also won a championship in his first year removed from Bill Belichick. It gave him bragging rights. It gave him separation, even though he joined a team loaded with talent.
And at age 44, he is still playing at an MVP level, some 20 years after beating Kurt Warner for his first championship.
Except Belichick just a crafted a masterpiece inside his own season of redemption. In a weather game at Buffalo, he defiantly refused to throw the ball. In the process, he ripped the heart and soul out of the rival Bills. He effectively told the opposition what was coming on virtually every down and still came out on top.
He proved he didn’t need Brady or Mac Jones to win the biggest game of the season, and his ruthless simplicity emasculated the Bills on national television.
No NFL team has ever made the Super Bowl with a rookie at starting quarterback. Yet here are the Patriots, unbeaten on the road, reclaiming their AFC East throne with a great defense, a revamped roster handpicked by the head coach, the most physical team in football. And, yes, a rookie quarterback.
By most indications, the breadth and scope of Belichick’s performance has vaulted him into the lead for NFL Coach of the Year.
It’s hard to argue with the logic, even if it comes at the expense of Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the previous favorite who entered the season on a hot seat; reimagined his entire offense, achieving great balance and distribution; has already beaten Sean McVay, Pete Carroll and Kyle Shanahan; while winning two games with his backup quarterback.
Much can change in the final five weeks. The No. 1 seed represents one of the greatest playoff advantages in history, a golden ticket to the lucky winner.
The Cardinals have everything they need to win the NFC Championship, which is good because I’m not ready for another nauseating round of Brady v. Belichick, especially with two full weeks of hype preceding the Super Bowl.
After all, the Bucs and Patriots have already played once this season. And it was more than enough. Even Bucs coach Bruce Arians seemed to agree.
“I was very, very frustrated with everybody saying this was a quarterback and a coach,” Arians said. “This is a team sport. The Buccaneers won this game. We beat the Patriots. We were losing sight that this is a team game.
“Everybody wanted to make this all about Brady and Belichick. I don’t think Bill played a snap. He had 22 guys out there playing their asses off, and I knew he would. We had 22 guys out there playing their asses of. One of them just happened to be named Brady.”
To be fair, Brady v. Belichick might be the greatest sports debate in history. It’s certainly closer than Jordan v. LeBron. After two decades, the answer is still up for grabs.
Here’s hoping we keep it that way, and keep these Patriot games out of the Super Bowl.