I don't think it's been decided in the minds of most yet, but I think my mind is made-up: Bill Belichick was the beneficiary of the Brady/Belichick duo.
"With Brady as his starter Belichick has a 249-75 record, for a Hall of Fame worthy 76.9 percent winning percentage.
Without Brady as his starter Belichick has a 66-72 record, for a good-enough-to-get-you-fired 48 percent winning percentage."
On top of that, since Ton Brady's divorce from Belichick he has one Super Bowl win, and five playoff wins. That has to be compared to Belichick's zero Super Bowl wins and zero playoff wins.
Of course losing the best quarterback and probably best football player to ever play the game is going to hurt a franchise to a point, but at what point is the team supposed to right the ship? Is it three years A.B. (after Brady)? Four years A.B.? Maybe we should give Belichick some slack and give him five years to get his team back to a playoff-winning caliber squad. You can, I'm not going to.
In my opinion, Belichick's teams have had warts all long and Brady was good enough to cover them up. I won't go as far to say that Brady was the lipstick on a pig, but the warts are starting to become very visible now that he is gone.
Certainly Belichick has made great decisions along the way, whether it was with personnel, game plans, and other coaching decisions, but there have been many others that have hurt the teams' chances of winning that Brady was able to overcome.
That's becoming more obvious as the seasons without the GOAT go by.
There are quite a few of examples of some of the shaky personnel decisions Belichick has made, and here is one.
These are the players the Patriots have drafted in rounds-1 thru 3 in 2018 thru 2020.
These types of high-round misses are what takes a negative toll on a roster eventually.
These types of misses is what forced Belichick into the free agent market to fill roster spots that he couldn't fill with drafted talent.
One of positions Belichick has struggled to draft is Wide Receiver. This lack of
home-grown talent at the WR position caused Belichick to dish-out a lot of money to TE's Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith in 2021 in order to get some kind of receiving targets for rookie QB Mac Jones.
Just this past draft Belichick selected WR Tyquan Thornton in the second round. Two of the WR's selected after Thornton were George Pickens and Sky Moore.
Pickens and Moore had great pre-seasons and look to be locks to remain on an NFL roster for the foreseeable future, while Thornton was placed on the NFL injured/reserved list causing him to miss at least the first 4 games of the season.
Thornton does have great speed and we'll have to wait and see if he can earn a spot on the Patriots roster, but his slight build of 6' 2" and only 181lbs was a concern for many scouts. NFL.com scouts even tagged him as a "Average backup or special-teamer" before the draft and projected him as a 3rd or 4th-round talent. Only time will tell, but Belichick can't afford to whiff on anymore high-round WR's.
It has well noted that in 2019 Belichick selected WR N'Keal Harry in round-1 when A.J. Brown, Mecole Hardman, Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson were still available. These types of misses have really hurt the receiving core of the current 2022 roster.
There have been draft selections Belichick has made that have been very good decisions, but if he is the "genius" and the "GOAT" that many think he is, he shouldn't have such a depleted roster due to draft misses and free agent signings that flopped.
Any bungled personnel moves will be much more noticeable and scrutinized now that Brady is no longer there still leading the team to double-digit win seasons and deep playoff runs.
We're starting to hear Patriots fans voice their displeasure with how the team has been trending these last few years and I expect the calls for the team to move-on from Belichick to become even louder as this season moves on.
When Belichick is no longer the coach of the Patriots I also expect that more people will agree with me, than not - Brady was he driving factor in the dominance of the Patriots for 20-years, not Belichick.
Again, for some, only time will tell, but I have made-up my mind already.