On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles overcame the historical might of the New England Patriots to claim their first ever Super Bowl win and deny the Pats their record-equalling sixth.
The Patriots have appeared in a record 11 Super Bowls, but could not draw level with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ six wins at Super Bowl LII after being beaten 41-33 by the Eagles.
And that loss is now leading some pundits to ask: is the Brady-Belichick dynasty finally over?
The Brady-Belichick Era:
Is it really over?
Tom Brady has four Super Bowl MVP awards, more than any other player, as well as three league MVP awards. He has also led his team to 15 Division titles, more than any other QB, in the 17 years of sheer dominance imposed by the Patriots during the Brady-Belichick reign.
And it isn’t like they have not faced challenges during that time, none more seemingly insurmountable than the deficit faced against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. But Brady, all but indisputably the greatest quarterback of all time, found a way. On Sunday night, even after Brandon Graham’s eventually game-winning play in the dying embers of the game, no commentator was willing to write the Patriots off.
But Brady is now 40 years old. And Belichick’s wisdom and discipline has come under fire more this season than ever before in his and Brady’s reign of terror.
In 2015, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler made the game-winning interception to win them the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. But he was inexplicably dropped by Belichick for this year’s all-important game against the Eagles, and he has been vocal in his indignation about that decision, saying that they have given up on him.
And that sort of recalcitrance from players has been rife this season relative to any other under the disciplinary iron fist of Belichick. Realising Brady’s advancement in years, Belichick has been moulding Jimmy Garoppolo to be Brady’s successor since he picked him in the 2014 draft. But this was a move that threatened Brady, who this season reportedly made his feelings known to Patriots owner Bob Kraft. Kraft then forced Belichick to trade away the prodigy, much to the coach’s dismay. The trio denied any such occurrence in a joint statement, but as the old saying goes: there’s no smoke without fire.
Add to that the uncertainty of Rob Gronkowski’s future. He was discernibly non-committal in comments made after the game. If Brady loses his number one weapon in the Gronk, maybe it truly is a sign that the Brady-Belichick reign, which has brought about unparalleled success for the Patriots over nearly two decades, is finally fading.
The Patriots, under the stony-faced coach and the all-American golden boy, have been the team that opposition fans love to hate. And maybe it’s about time they got a fair shot at glory.