Whenever someone works closely with someone for 20 years, there are ups and downs. Just because Tom Brady and Bill Belichick enjoyed unprecedented success with the New England Patriots doesn’t make them any different.
Has no quarterback and coach One of the more prolific partnerships in NFL history, the duo made nine Super Bowl appearances and claimed the championship in six of them.
Brady, who is now quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made his first comeback in his first game against his former team at Foxboro on Sunday.
In honor of his return, here’s a look back at the timeline of the Brady-Belichick relationship from the beginning.
199th Pick of the 2000 NFL Draft
Even though the Patriots had a proven starting quarterback in Drew Bledsoe, Belichick took a flier at the quarterback with a sixth-round pick from Michigan. Brady was inactive for most of his rookie year, dressing only for two. He completed one of three passes for 6 yards in a 34–9 loss against the Lions in Week 12 of that season.
Mo Lewis Hits
To start the 2001 season, Brady defeated Damon Huard for the backup quarterback job.
In a Week 2 loss against the Jets, New York linebacker Mo Lewis knocked Bledsoe out of the game with a vicious hit that eventually hospitalized him. In place of Bledsoe, Brady took over and was an immediate success.
Belichick said of Brady’s leadership abilities in September 2001, “I really don’t think I’ll be standing here week after week talking about all of Tom Brady’s problems.” According to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. “I have faith in him, I think the team has faith in him and I think he will prepare himself well and he will go out there and perform at a good level.”
Bledsoe will not start the second game. Brady played well enough to manage the games and benefited from playing with talented skill position players and behind a strong defence. Brady finished the regular season scoring 63.9% of his passes for 2,843 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Patriots would go 11–5, winning the AFC East and eventually Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams. This will happen beginning of a dynasty.
After leading 9–7, the Patriots would win consecutive Super Bowls in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, after being knocked out of the playoffs in the 2002 season.