Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were already the greatest coach – player combo in NFL history before Sunday’s AFC Championship game win that earned them a berth in their record eighth Super Bowl together.
Tied for second on the list are Dallas’ Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll, and Buffalo’s Marv Levy and Jim Kelly. They all only made it four times together. In other words, Belichick and Brady have doubled them up.
Now that it’s become increasingly difficult for Patriots haters and conspiracy theorists to poke holes in the Pats’ dominance in the NFL, it’s time to see how Belichick/Brady stack up to the greats in other major pro sports.
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Red Auerbach and Bill Russell went to approximately 88 NBA Finals together – but for the sake of avoiding a Boston sports rumpswab special, let’s go with the more modern NBA duo (the Boston sports haters always point out that there were like five teams in the league when Auerbach and Russell ruled).
Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant went to seven NBA Finals together (winning five), and Jackson and Michael Jordan went to six NBA Finals together – winning all six. That’s very impressive, but Phil cherry-picked his situation with Kobe, and it’s a good bet that the Cambridge Rindge and Latin JV coach could have won a few titles with Jordan.
Joe Torre and Derek Jeter went to six World Series’ together (winning four), but it’s difficult to give too much credit to one player in baseball. Ditto for hockey, and with hockey coaches typically lasting only three or four years at most in one spot – there’s not much of a parallel there.
I’m of the firm belief that Belichick would have won a title or two even if Brady never fell into his lap. I believe he’s that great.
I’m not sure if Brady would have ever reached the promised land without Belichick.
Regardless, together – they have proven to be nearly unstoppable and are the best player – coach combo in North American sports history.