It's a question we'll never get a definitive answer to. Who was more important to the New England Patriots in their 20-year dynasty, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick?
That debate will only heat up once Brady begins his new chapter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In fact, it was mentioned to Brady on Wednesday during his interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM, and the ex-Pats quarterback called it a "sh---y argument."
Still, the argument was made shortly thereafter by Rex Ryan on ESPN's "First Take." The former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach says it was Brady, not Belichick, who was the key to New England's six Super Bowl titles.
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“It was definitely Tom Brady,” Ryan said. “If I’ve got to take one I’m taking Brady.”
“Let’s give [Belichick] somebody else, let’s give him [former Jets quarterback] Geno Smith, let’s give him whoever, and let’s see how many Super Bowls he would have won. We saw the answer was zero in Cleveland.”
Watch the full clip below:
"Give him Geno Smith ... and let's see how many Super Bowls he would have won."— First Take (@FirstTake) April 8, 2020
Rex Ryan to people who say Belichick would have been just as successful without Tom Brady. pic.twitter.com/3LsYOQblIj
Ryan actually makes a fair point, although there certainly seems to be some saltiness on his part since Geno Smith was his QB from 2013-14. Smith didn't take too kindly to his former coach's remarks, either.
My momma never liked dude he been a snake.. and y’all glorify it.. should’ve got fired after yr1.. truth is we won 8 games after ESPN had us winning two and he got his job back.. somehow I’m caught up in a feud and I’m the scapegoat.. Same guy that drafted me#TheBusiness— Geno (@GenoSmith3) April 8, 2020
Although we'll never know how Brady's Pats career would have gone without Belichick and vice versa, 2020 will be a true test for both New England icons. Brady will look to prove he can duplicate his success in Tampa with Bruce Arians as his head coach, and Belichick will look to do the same likely with Jarrett Stidham under center.