WASHINGTON — With Bill Belichick and Tom Brady having secured their fifth Super Bowl ring this past Sunday with a remarkable comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons, most have conceded that the pair represents the best coach and quarterback of all-time.
Not simply as a duo, mind you, but rather Belichick as the best coach of all-time and Brady as the best quarterback.
But, as always, there’s no such thing as a unanimous opinion in sports.
Ross Tucker, former NFL player and current NFL analyst, is one such dissenter. While he concedes Brady is the best to ever throw a football in the NFL, he’s not so sure Belichick is at the top of the league’s coaching pyramid. In his mind, former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs holds that spot.
Tucker, who briefly played for both Gibbs, in his second tenure as Redskins coach, and Belichick, joined The Sports Junkies Tuesday morning and switched gears somewhat, positing a question to the hosts. The dialogue is as follows, with the Junkies’ paraphrased responses in brackets.
“Can I ask you guys a question? [Yes.] I know it’s your show. Who’s the best head coach in the history of the NFL? [Bill Belichick.] Here’s the thing. I’m not saying this is against Belichick, I played for him, he’s probably the most impressive coach, gameplan-wise, that I played for. But for me, I look at what Gibbs did … three Super Bowls, with three different quarterbacks that are not Hall of Famers. Like, that is crazy and will never be duplicated.
“So I understand Belichick’s had more sustained success. I will also say this though: Then, Gibbs came back and went to the playoffs with Mark Brunell and Jason Campbell slash Todd Collins, the year I was on the team. So that’s at least … five different quarterbacks that Gibbs took to the playoffs, three of which he won Super Bowls with, none of whom are really even close to being Hall of Famers.
“As great as Belichick is, he’s doing it with a guy that clearly is the best quarterback of all time. Even Bill Walsh had it with [Joe] Montana. I’d even give some props to [Bill] Parcells for turning around four different teams. But for me, I’m still going with Gibbs. And I’m surprised, I’m talking to D.C. guys, and even you guys won’t go that way.”
The Junkies offer two counterpoints. The first is with Belichick having won his fifth Super Bowl title, the titles outweigh the other accomplishments, and the second is New England’s record when Brady hasn’t been active in recent seasons. With Brady suspended for the first four games of this season, the Patriots went 3-1 behind a combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, and when Brady got hurt and missed virtually the entire 2008 season, Matt Cassel led them to an 11-5 record — including one loss that came in overtime. Other than those 19 (and change) games, Brady has started every game for the Patriots since he took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe early in the 2001 season.
Tucker countered with the pre-Brady failures Belichick, who went 30-34 with three losing seasons in four years as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, endured. The Patriots were also 5-11 the first season Belichick was the coach, and they were 0-2 in the two games of the 2001 season Bledsoe started.
“We have four years of Cleveland where he was a head coach and they went to the playoffs once. Then we have 2000 with Bledsoe and New England and they didn’t go to the playoffs. 2001 they weren’t playing that well until Brady went in there, and yes they went 11-5 with Matt Cassel, and yes they went 3-1 this year with Garoppolo and Brissett, but that’s not getting to the playoffs. That’s not winning playoff games. That’s not winning championships.
Look, all I want is for Brady and Belichick to break up, like, tomorrow, for three years so we can see both those guys do it other places.”
The entire audio is available below.