The debate over who holds greater importance to a team has largely concluded. Recent events, particularly the New England Patriots’ performance without Tom Brady, have led Shannon Sharpe to publicly acknowledge his undervaluation of the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take,” Sharpe was asked if he believed Bill Belichick had become “just another coach” in the post-Brady era of the Patriots.
The Hall of Fame tight end commended Belichick for the Patriots’ consistent success over two decades but also confessed that he had underestimated Brady.
“I think what has happened, and I can just speak to me, I think I owe Brady an apology because I don’t think I gave him enough credit. Or, I should have given him even more credit,” Sharpe said. “What Brady allowed Coach Belichick to do — Brady is the largest eraser in pro sports. Every mistake that Coach Belichick made during that two decades, Brady could erase it.
“Coach Belichick did a great job of designing defensive schemes, what he did against ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ and all these high-flying offenses. At the end of the day, when you needed a quarterback to make a play, Brady always made that play.”
Sharpe also emphasized that no “ordinary coach” could have achieved the same level of success that Belichick enjoyed over two decades. Similar to the prevailing sentiment, Sharpe believes that the Patriots’ recent difficulties underscore the fact that Brady played a more pivotal role in the dynasty than Belichick.
Although Belichick is poised to retire as arguably the greatest coach in NFL history, his legacy has undoubtedly been affected since Brady’s departure. Brady quickly secured another Super Bowl victory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Belichick seemingly led the Patriots to a position as one of the league’s weakest teams.
Belichick’s strategies have reached a point where even former Patriots stars are questioning their effectiveness. Sharpe is not alone in feeling that he failed to fully acknowledge Brady’s contributions.