Super Bowl LIII: Why Brady and Belichick are the greatest ever
Forget Ant and Dec or Posh and Becks, Matthew Crist thinks that Brady and Belichick are the best double act of them all...
"What makes the achievements of Belichick and Brady so astonishing is the sheer longevity of their working relationship, with little sign of their hunger for more success ending anytime soon."
When two become one
Sport has been littered with great individuals down the years, but to win a major championship it often takes two and there have been few dynamic duos as effective as the Patriots pairing of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
After their sensational overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday - led by a young quarterback who many thought would come out on top in this battle of the biceps - it's now veterans Brady and Belichick heading to their ninth Super Bowl together in Atlanta, twice as many as any other coach-quarterback combination.
The Patriots could equal the Steelers haul of six Championships on February 3, but as much as the team as a whole must take credit, it's also a huge testament to the coach and quarterback; surely the greatest duo in sporting history?
Of course, there have been plenty of potent partnerships over the decades who have combined to bring success and glory to their respective clubs - The NFL alone has treated us to Montana and Rice, Aikman and Irvin or Manning and Harrison - and the debate will rumble on as to exactly who are the Batman and Robin of the game.
Then there's the NBA, where Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant led the LA Lakers to seven NBA Finals together winning five, while Jackson and Michael Jordan went to six NBA Finals with the Chicago Bulls, winning all six.
And who could forget the New York Yankees pairing of Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, who went to six baseball World Series together, eventually being victorious in four? But dynasties in the NFL are hard to come by these days and that's what makes the achievements of Brady and Belichick so special.
Marriage made in heaven
Brady, now well into his 40s, is the only quarterback in NFL history with five Super Bowl rings to his name as well as four Super Bowl MVP awards - and is 11/10 to be named MVP in 2019 on the Sportsbook - while nobody has won more regular-season and playoff games in the history of the game than this veteran of 17 seasons as a pro.
The efforts of Brady is one thing, but as in any great marriage, he has been ably supported by his sporting other-half, with no coach boasting more Super Bowl wins, playoff victories and postseason appearances than Belichick.
"I don't think there's been a finer coach in the history of the league," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said of Belichick ahead of the side's Championship game with the Chiefs. "He's the GOAT of coaches, just like our quarterback is the GOAT of quarterbacks. And no one can dispute it."
Bucking the modern trend
What's also astonishing is the sheer longevity of their working relationship, with little sign of their hunger for more success ending anytime soon after some two decades together at an organisation which had previously only been to two Super Bowls.
Brady has always stressed his desire to play well past the big Four-O and having seen the way he galvanised a Patriots side who were not massively fancied to make the Super Bowl this season it shows there is still plenty in the tank in these days when most athletes peak in their mid-20s.
That hunger evidently still burns strong with the 66 year old Belichick too, who appears to be as sharp as ever and despite fewer wins as a head coach than Don Shula and George Halas and a lower winning percentage than Vince Lombardi, he is showing he can still sustain success under far more challenging circumstances than those that went before him.
Discussing how long the pair have left at the top is for another day as the Patriots head to Atlanta as [1.86] favourites to win their sixth Super Bowl, but in an era of salary caps, free agency and with the high turnover of stars meaning the playing field has never been more competitive, the achievements of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady surely make them the greatest ever.