After staging the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history – and winning an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl title – Tom Brady and Bill Belichick may have cemented their legacy as the greatest NFL quarterback and coach of all time.
But not everyone likes them. How are Brady and Belichick perceived within NFL circles? Is it more respect or disdain?
“It’s mostly respect,” former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “A lot of guys don’t like the Patriots because they lost to them over the course of their career, and I was one of those players. You respect the heck out of them. Obviously there’s a history there of them stepping outside the rules or pushing the boundary of the rules. I do know people like Bill Belichick are always looking for some sort of advantage. With the way the rules are with the NFL, everything is so even, whether it’s salary cap or number of players on your roster, all those types of things. Bill has done whatever he can do over the course of his coaching career – and over the course of his last 16 or 17 years as the Patriots head coach – to find any advantage possible, and sometimes that’s pushing the rules or occasionally stepping outside of them. People don’t like that, but (the Patriots) are looking for an advantage and they’re looking for ways to win. They’ve been busted a couple of times for some smaller things, some bigger things, and they’ll always have that on their record. You could say it’s somewhat tarnished, but to be honest with you, they would have won all those games – or the majority of those games – even without those infractions that they committed.”
There was certainly nothing shady about New England’s win Sunday. The Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to stun the Falcons 34-28 in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. Brady finished 43-of-62 for 466 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Brady, who turns 40 in August, now has more Super Bowl rings than any player in NFL history.
“No one’s had any career like that as a quarterback, as a player,” Rosenfels said. “No one’s had that type of success. And the fact that he is still playing at an extremely high level – he’s not just sort of an old guy on the football team. Last year, Peyton Manning won it and he was probably the worst player on the Denver Broncos team. A very, very different situation up in New England, where Tom is still playing at an extremely high level.”