Bill Belichick traded Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 3rd round pick earlier this week. The move was a surprise to many, but anyone who has ever worked for the New England Patriots knows, it was a brilliant move to get rid of a Pro Bowler on the 3rd ranked defense in the NFL. Or was it? Are Tom Brady and a flukey 7-1 start masking the fact that Belichick is losing the confidence of New England players and fans? It sure seems like it. Take it from Sports Illustrated‘s Greg Bedard:
In the wake of the Patriots’ shocking trade of linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns on Monday, it’s now Super Bowl or bust for New England.
There were small rumblings of discontent last year after a series of questionable moves (poor coaching in New England’s Week 13 loss to Philadelphia) cost the Patriots home-field advantage in the playoffs, which likely helped swing the AFC Championship Game in favor of the Broncos. But if New England again fails to win the Lombardi Trophy this season, even the most ardent “In Bill We Trust” droids will question the recent defensive moves made by Patriots coach/demigod Bill Belichick, leading to thoughts that were once considered heresy: has the 64-year-old Hall-of-Famer-in-waiting started to lose his touch?
Not only did the Patriots lose in week 13, but they dropped 4 of their final 6 games last season. Of course, those losses weren’t the first signs that Belichick had lost his touch.
The Patriots won 12 games four season in a row – failing to improve their record at any point. Say what you will about Jeff Fisher, but his teams have improved their records year-over-year twice this decade and the 2016 Rams are headed for another improved record.
The Patriots have won just one Super Bowl in the past decade. That’s 90% of their seasons where they didn’t win the Super Bowl. A 10% success rate isn’t very good. The Cleveland Browns have won 31% of their games in that span.
Sure, Belichick has the Patriots off to a 7-1 start this season, but the team was just 3-1 without Tom Brady. Now they’re 4-0 with Tom Brady and the franchise quarterback is in the MVP discussion. The Patriots have never won a title without Tom Brady and they missed the playoffs in 2008 when Brady missed the season. So who really deserves the credit in New England?
Has Belichick “lost his touch?” It’s unclear if he ever really had it. It’s obvious that the only way for the Patriots to keep moving forward is to fire Bill Belichick. Don’t let the best record in football, 15 consecutive winning seasons, five straight trips to the AFC Championship Game and 4 Super Bowl victories fool you. Belichick is a man whose only plan should be retirement.