Why Bill Belichick Just Can’t Win Without Tom Brady

Darren - October 13, 2023

Why Bill Belichick Just Can’t Win Without Tom Brady

Darren - October 13, 2023

Bill Belichick is the most successful coach in the NFL with an unmatched six Super Bowl victories as New England’s head coach. However, in 2023, the Patriots tripped into a dark pit of despair. They’ve repeatedly suffered depressing defeats as sliding quarterback Mac Jones shows that he’s a terrible replacement for GOAT Tom Brady. But how did it get to this point?

Well, there are certainly many reasons. Today, we’ll look at all of the major reasons why Belichick can’t win without his former leading man Brady. Find out why some fans and experts think it’s time for New England to move on from their legendary coach.

CBS Sports

Lack of Motivation

Many people are questioning Belichick’s motivation to win. After all, the 71-year-old is an eight-time Super Bowl champion. We already mentioned how he led the Patriots to six titles. But he also won a pair of rings as the New York Giants defensive coordinator in the late ’80s.

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Some experts believe that he desperately wants to prove that he can win without Brady. However, recent performances show that Belichick isn’t as bellicose as he once was. He is no longer the charismatic presence that he once was and he’s making increasingly poor decisions (via Defector).


Weak Play-Calling

We’re seeing signs that Belichick is losing his touch as a play-caller too. One notorious example occurred in the Patriots’ Week 1 loss against the Eagles. Philly led 22-14 when the Patriots had the chance to go for a field goal and make it a five-point game (via The Mirror).

But Belichick opted to go for a first down instead of taking the points. Then he made matters worse because he refused to explain himself afterward. Former New England linebacker Ted Johnson shredded Belichick after his comments and called it a copout. It’s safe to say he’s not inspiring confidence right now.

Hello! Magazine

The Brady Factor

It’s impossible to overstate Tom Brady’s influence in Foxborough. The quarterback was a phenomenal player who assimilated perfectly into Belichick’s system. However, this also made it incredibly difficult to replace him when he finally departed as a free agent in 2020 (via Bleacher Report).


These days, people love to rewrite history and claim that Brady wasn’t that good. In the end, his numbers and longevity speak for themselves. Brady was a five-time NFL MVP and a 15-time Pro Bowler. He also led the league in passing yards four times and five times in passing touchdowns.

New York Post

QBs Evolving

The NFL is continuously changing on and off the field. We can see how the running back position is evolving but quarterbacks have also undergone a shift. There are increasing numbers of duel-threat QBs in the game now, from Josh Allen to Justin Fields (via SBNation).

Sky Sports

It’s rare for franchises to stick with a pure passer like Mac Jones in the modern era. This shows that Belichick opted not to evolve and reverted to type after Cam Newton departed. Jones was always a controversial choice but Belichick never doubted the former Alabama player because of his playing style.

Offensive Line

The Patriots’ offensive line was one of their biggest problems in 2023. Miami sacked Jones four times with seven hits as they demolished the young man. Jones has his flaws but it doesn’t help if he doesn’t have any protection. This is unforgivable in his third season.


It’s not as if the Patriots went through a complete rebuild either because they had a single transitional season before drafting Jones. This is their fourth season without Brady and it’s crazy that they’re in this predicament. Injuries indeed affected their O-line but it’s still not great (via Sports Illustrated).

Boston Herald

Weak Scouting

The Patriots are making mistakes in the Draft and signing overpriced free agents. This is a serious problem and the buck stops with Belichick. He effectively assumed the GM role after Dave Ziegler followed Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas. Nobody denies that Belichick knows football but scouting is a specialist art.

The Athletic

One executive said: “Bill is brilliant and provides a lot of value. He needs help with player acquisition. The question is, will he accept it or fight it? He’s going to have to make sacrifices to get that record for wins.” The writing is on the wall for Belichick if he doesn’t change his ways (via Bleacher Report).

Las Vegas Review-Journal

McDaniels Transition

Jones had a reasonably decent rookie season after a quarterback-heavy NFL Draft. He landed in the best situation in the league as New England couldn’t believe their luck. However, Josh McDaniels played a massive role in guiding the rookie through his first season and they had a great relationship.


But McDaniels couldn’t resist the lure of Sin City and joined the Vegas Raiders as their new head coach. He wanted to prove that he could do the job after he failed in Denver. This meant that he left the Patriots and Belichick for the second time. This was a serious blow to Belichick as we’ll explain soon.


Judge vs. Jones

Belichick made the surprise decision to replace McDaniels with Joe Judge. However, this was a disastrous move because Judge had a terrible relationship with Jones. The quarterback didn’t trust Judge and tensions grew between them. Eventually, it deteriorated so badly that they cursed each other out in practice.

NBC Sports

Furthermore, Belichick also lost patience with Judge before he finally switched his role. Everybody knows that Belichick has an unbelievable historical record of success with his assistants. Then they inevitably flop as head coaches before returning. We’ll see if Judge’s career recovers (via CBS News).

Sports Illustrated

Weak GM

It’s always tricky when head coaches become too powerful and also assume the GM mantle. Belichick only answers to Robert Kraft right now and that’s awkward. The pair have worked together for over two decades and Kraft doesn’t want to fire Belichick.

NBC Sports

An independent general manager would do their job properly. This also relates to the stream of free-agent failures and dodgy trades over the past couple of years. Brady has always had an eye for a player but there have been some strange selections in recent history (via Boston Herald).

Assistant Problems

Belichick confused the entire NFL when he appointed a defensive coach and a special teams coach to lead New England’s offense in 2022. We’re talking about Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. Both men have a wealth of NFL experience and held head coach roles in Detroit and New York respectively.


But it’s safe to say those tenures were unmitigated failures. Then, Belichick brought in Bill O’Brien to revive their offense, but it hasn’t worked. They have the fifth-worst overall stats after five games and went 10 straight quarters without scoring a single touchdown. That’s not acceptable by anyone’s standards (via NESN).

Houston Chronicle

Nothing To Prove

Another problem for Belichick is that he has nothing to prove. There’s no reason why he couldn’t move up in the front office and take an executive position. The 71-year-old NFL legend earned an easier life and this can’t be easy for him. His longevity deserves immense respect but the wheels are falling off today.


This is normal and we’ve seen it in the past with Don Shula and other legendary coaches. One NFL executive said: “Their best move is to bring in a young offensive coach with a new GM and start fresh. You let the new offensive coach determine whether Mac can be saved. They need real change (via New York Post).”

Sports Illustrated

Business is Business

In the end, it’s all about money and the Patriots are hemorrhaging it. They lost their biggest brand ambassador, Tom Brady, and now they’re losing games too. Meanwhile, enough people still hate them because of their cynical ways when Belichick was at the ruthless top of his game (via The Guardian).

Fox News

In March, Robert Kraft said: “But in the end, this is a business. You either execute and win, or you don’t. That’s where we’re at; I think we’re in a transition phase. I think we’ve made some moves this year that I personally am comfortable with, and I still believe in Bill.”

New York Post

No Longer Desirable

There was a time when everyone wanted to play for Belichick and the Patriots. He turned New England into a well-oiled machine and led the NFL’s most dominant dynasty. But that’s not the case anymore. It says a lot that DeAndre Hopkins opted to join the Titans in 2023 instead of the Patriots.

NBC Sports

The Patriots went 25-25 since Brady retired and have a weak quarterback. It’s not a good time for the franchise and canny players know this. They don’t want to go down with a sinking ship and tarnish their reputations. A new head coach might revive the organization (via Sports Illustrated).

No Reinvention

One of the biggest problems is that the Patriots don’t seem to have a Plan B. They keep trying to do the same thing and their system isn’t evolving. Before, this didn’t matter because they had elite players in the skill positions who made their game plan work perfectly (via The Athletic).


Ominously, in 2022, Belichick said: “If we can just do consistently what we were doing, we’ll be all right. We just haven’t been able to have enough consistency. It’s not one thing. One time, it’s one thing. Next time, it’s something else. We just have to play and coach more consistently.” So far it’s not working in 2023.

NBC Sports

Historically Bad

Belichick suffered the worst results of his career in 2023. The Patriots went 1-4 in their first five games with back-to-back blowout defeats. First Dallas demolished them with the worst loss of Belichick’s career. The Cowboys defeated New England 38-3 in Dallas (via Sports Illustrated).

L.A. Times

But things went from bad to worse in Foxborough. That’s because they suffered the second shutout loss of Belichick’s Patriots coaching tenure. The 34-0 defeat was one of the most demoralizing results ever and turned many fans against them. Time will tell if he can turn it around.

Boston Herald

Team Effort

Some of the best quarterbacks didn’t get the accolades their efforts deserved because their team wasn’t good enough. Tom Brady says that the current Patriots roster isn’t performing cohesively. Belichick is responsible for this because he is the team’s head coach.


Brady explained that football is a team game. He told NBC Boston: “Obviously, I needed a great coach. I needed great receivers and a great O-line. If I was going to be successful as a player, I needed all those things. And I was fortunate to have a lot of those things over a long period.”


Lack of Depth

Jones isn’t the only problem in New England’s offense but he is a serious issue. The problem is that Belichick didn’t ensure the Patriots had a decent backup. They released Bailey Zappe in a surprising move after he performed well in flashes in 2022. Then they signed Will Grier from the Bengals.

Carolina Panthers

In the end, they also brought back Zappe but the indecision was telling. It’s one of the most average quarterback rooms in the entire league and that’s why Jones continues to play. Maybe Belichick took Brady for granted and thinks he can transform any quarterback into a winner (via CBS Sports).


Mac Isn’t Tom

The simple truth is that Jones isn’t Brady. It was easy to compare the two men in the beginning because they share physical characteristics. Neither are great athletes nor do they have the strongest arms in the sport. But Brady was brilliant in the Patriots’ system and even more consistent.

Fox News

His consistency elevated his game beyond his raw capabilities. However, Jones doesn’t have this right now. The Crimson Tide indeed played in a similar style to the Patriots. But Jones doesn’t have the decision-making to lead the Patriots to glory. Maybe one day it will come but the NFL isn’t patient (via SBNation).

AP News

Past His Prime

There’s a strong argument that Belichick is past his coaching prime. We’re not saying that he’s too old because that would be ageist and unfair. Seattle’s Pete Carroll proved the futility of writing off veteran coaches. He also lost his long-term franchise quarterback and everyone dismissed him.


Then Carroll revived the ghost of Geno Smith and transformed him into the Comeback Player of the Year. Unfortunately, Belichick failed to do this with Cam Newton. But it’s everything from his scouting to his playcalling that’s giving the doubters something to shout about (via Deadspin).


Legacy Damage

The problem for Belichick is that every time the Patriots lose a game, it damages Belichick’s short-term legacy. There will be increasing numbers of people calling for him to retire or even for Robert Kraft to pull the trigger. He deserves time and respect because of his impact on the sport (via Sportskeeda).

Yahoo Sports

But memories are short and the NFL is a cutthroat business. Nobody wants to see him lose his job but perhaps the best thing for him to do is announce that this is his final season. Then the players may pour their hearts out for him and recognize they’re also playing for their jobs under a new head coach.