Try 3 months for $3
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before the start of play against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before the start of play against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Bill Belichick could coach another 10 years until he is 76 and still possibly win the Super Bowl title.

Each year the NFL becomes even more average and that forces the coaching gap between Belichick and the other coaches to become greater.

There is a certain delight in watching Belichick coach the New England Patriots because of the way he dials up plays and installs schemes. But there is always a desire to see him lose because New England has been so good for so long.

Through the years, there was hope that some other coach would rise up and take over for Belichick. Maybe it was going to be Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin, the Ravens' John Harbaugh, New Orleans' Sean Payton or Philadelphia's Doug Pederson.

Of course the latest was going to be Los Angeles Rams' Sean McVay, the youngest guru. Yet on Sunday night, on the event's biggest stage, Belichick took apart another possible heir apparent.

It was a close game because the Rams were always a play within tying or taking the lead for nearly the entire contest, but New England controlled most of the action and the pace. By late in the fourth quarter, the only question that still remained was who is going to unseat Belichick as king?

Tomlin can't control his players in Pittsburgh and Harbaugh, even though the Ravens were better this year, can't escape the same mediocrity that embodies the rest of the league. Pederson's offense hasn't been the same without former coordinator Frank Reich, who is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and Payton couldn't beat the Rams even though an official's lack of a call hurt the Saints in the NFC Championship Game.

McVay was the only hope but that quickly disappeared late in the first half Sunday. By that time McVay had been jumping up and down on the sidelines like a cheerleader several times, including once when the Rams stopped New England on a third-and-short situation.

On the other sideline was Belichick as emotionless and stone-faced as ever. It's those times where your mind shoots back and remembers the great coaches on the sidelines like Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll and Don Shula, and how they gave the occasional smiles, but they were always in control.

McVay looked lost early. Quarterback Jared Goff looked out of touch as well for the entire game and the Rams have filled out a missing person's report on running back Todd Gurley.

If you went down the rosters, clearly the Rams had better talent but the Patriots have Belichick and a better coaching staff.

This is by no means a great New England team. Tom Brady is still great but past his prime. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is soon to be 29 but at times played like he was 39.

Who are the Patriots receivers? Guys named Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson, who might have been more effective as a running back than a receiver this season. Then there is Julian Edelman, all whopping 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, who controls the middle of the field against every defense.

On defense a lot of teams ran against the Patriots this season but on Sunday they held one of the NFL's top offenses to three points. Goff was 19 of 38 for 229 yards as New England took away his short passing game with variations of zone defenses and crashed the middle of Los Angeles' offensive line to put pressure on Goff.

Get the latest sports news and scores sent to your email inbox

One of the keys to Belichick's success is that he doesn't mind borrowing from other coaches. He admitted after Sunday's game that his defense started out playing in the same manner as Detroit when the Lions had success against the Rams earlier in the season. In the AFC divisional game, he played a lot of Cover 0 against the Los Angeles Chargers after watching what the Ravens and coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale did against them in two previous games.

The Rams defense played well enough to win but they never found a way to stop Edelman. Belichick would have done that. On defense the Patriots have taken a player like Lawrence Guy and turned him into a starter. He couldn't get on the field consistently for the Ravens.

They have taken another former Raven, John Simon, and turned him into a part-time third-down pass rusher. Running back Sony Michel is a rookie who has played well this season and had 94 yards rushing Sunday, 68 of those in the final period.

It's about the system and the coaching in New England. Other teams like the Ravens have tried the no star system but they don't have Belichick. Other teams have good coaches but they need the star players.

There are few super teams in the NFL. The league is a blob of mediocrity. It's all because of the salary cap, which is supposed to create a level playing field.

That's good in theory unless you have a coach like Belichick. The cap has made the disparity between him and other coaches greater than ever.

He can stick around as long as he wants.

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
0
0
0
0

Load comments