On the long-running roundtable show Inside the NFL (airing Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on Showtime), a topic of conversation for analysts Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason and Michael Irvin is about the marriage of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and whether the two can be successful without each other.

Honestly, Brady may never have to worry about that because it’s likely he’ll retire a Patriot (despite what happened in the desert the other night). But Belichick is living sans Brady now and could one day in the future.

The question prompted Simms to opine that Belichick is an operation unto himself.

“He’s a solo act,” said Simms. “He's doing it. . . He does it by himself. . . Think about what Bill Belichick has done in his career up there.  He has changed his offensive philosophy three times.  He has changed his defense from zone to an all-out blitz team, now to a different kind of defense that he's ever coached before where it's man-to-man. . . He has created things and been one step ahead. . .”


Esiason agreed, saying, "The coach sets the culture, whether it be Paul Brown and Otto Graham, Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre, and of course, Shula and Marino. To me the coach sets the culture. In this case, Bill Belichick, not only is he setting the culture he’s also picking all the other players. And it really does give a blue print for Tom Brady. Now, it has certainly helped to have the greatest quarterback of all time, in my estimation, with Tom Brady.”


More than Brady’s playing style, it’s helped that Belichick’s had complete buy-in from Brady – at least publicly – every step of the way. There’s no pushback from the team’s marquee player on personnel, expectations, intensity, any of it. And that’s been as important as Brady’s ability.

For his part, Irvin drove a stake into Darrelle Revis, saying when asked what he learned over the weekend, that, “There are no more islands in the NFL. You know, last year, Darrelle Revis, …we saw A.J. Green, kind of put the nail in the coffin, as far as islands in the NFL."