The “Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick” debate is never going away.
Throughout the rest of NFL history, there will always be the question: Who was more important to the 20-year, six Super Bowl run? The greatest quarterback of all-time? Or the greatest coach of all-time?
Devin McCourty can’t decide:
“I think both can be true,” the former Patriots safety told the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football crew on Thursday. “I think Brady is probably the greatest player, but I think [he’s] the greatest player ever because of… the six [Super Bowl] titles in New England.”
“If you had to rank the top quarterbacks, just talent-wise, how high would you rank Brady when you have Aaron Rodgers and John Elway?” McCourty asked. “I think that gap [and why Brady is the GOAT], is the Bill Belichick. It's: Tom can just show up and play, under Bill. I was there for ten years of Tom’s career. He’s not going to be in there ripping guys day in and day out in the locker room. That’s Bill’s role… Tom didn’t have to worry about that.”
McCourty went onto explain that when Brady went to Tampa, he not only had to play the physical role on the field, but also had to set the standard off the field. This may have been a reason why the Buccaneers didn’t have even more success during Brady's time there:
“I think when Tom went to Tampa he saw the difference of how he had to kind of, not be Bill Belichick, but he had to have that side to him of ‘hey guys, this is the standard we have to push to day in and day out.’”
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So what did Brady provide to Belichick?
“I think [Brady] being able to be coachable set the tone," McCourty says. "Obviously I can only talk for the ten years I was there, but that set the tone for our whole time there. That was really a big reason why were able to have that run."
“I’m sure for Bill," McCourty continued, "coming in those meeting rooms every day and knowing no matter what you say, you’ve got your guy sitting front row who’s going to have a standard as a player every single day [helped]."
"[Now] you go Cam Newton and then you go rookie quarterback in Mac [Jones] and you’re like, ‘Dang, for 20 years, I didn’t even have to think about that…. You knew what you were getting out of [Brady] day in and day out.”
Ultimately, according to McCourty, the Patriots' success came from, "those two guys understanding ‘we’re at the top, we’ve gotta always go at each other, push each other, but it sets the tone for the rest of the team.’”
So what does he think the two of them are saying now?
“Man. I kinda miss that guy.”