Opinion: Bill Belichick's genius is why a Super Bowl matchup with Tom Brady is a real possibility

Mike Freeman
USA TODAY

If you hate Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick, and anything Brady or Belichick or Patriots or Bradychick-related, well, there's a very real possibility your hatred cup will spilleth over.

Both are doing remarkable things this season, but it's what Belichick is accomplishing now that's more impressive. It is, in fact, the best coaching job he's ever done, and that's saying something. It's actually one of the best coaching jobs any coach has ever done in the modern history of the league.

There's no way this Patriots team should be 9-4 and the top seed in the AFC. There's some talent on the Patriots, for sure, especially on defense, but Belichick is winning with a rookie quarterback who in the Buffalo maelstrom on Monday threw three passes, the lowest number of attempts since 1974. It was very Pleistocene.

Tom Brady celebrates with Bill Belichick after one of their many victories with the Patriots.

It's easy to hate Belichick. He can be smug and condescending. He's at times so much of both he's smugascending. That hoodie he wears is annoying. He's got a permanent smirk. His press conferences have the appeal of a punch to the face. I get it. We all get it.

But what he's doing now is simply incredible.

Belichick isn't putting on a coaching clinic. It's more like a coaching doctorate. It's the kind of coaching job that Lombardi and Walsh and Shula would sit in the back of a room, turn on the tape and nod in approval. Yes, even Shula, and Shula hated Belichick.

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It's easy to dismiss the Patriots' game plan against the Bills as weather-predicated, and it was to a degree, of course, but the Patriots running the ball continuously took courage. Most coaches and offensive coordinators, if not all of them, would have mixed in far more passes, in part because of ego.

They'd want to appear smart, and running the ball over and over and over seems overly simplistic. Most coaches want to look like geniuses. Everyone wants to be Denzel Washington, not the understudy.

Belichick threw ego aside and rode his huge advantage to absurd levels. In doing so, he completely humiliated the Bills' coaching staff; outcoaching them to the point it was embarrassing. The Bills knew it, too. That's why coach Sean McDermott had a bizarre postgame rant about how Belichick shouldn't be given so much credit.

“Let’s not give more credit than we need to give credit to Bill Belichick in this one. Whether it was Bill or anybody else, they beat us, right?" he said. "But you sit here and you tell me when we start with an average starting field position of the 40-yard line and he starts with the 23-yard line — I’m rounding up in both cases — and we were 1 for 4 in the red zone and they were 0 for 1 in the red zone? You give me that ahead of time, I’d say I like my chances ...

"I don’t think, with all due respect, it’s not a Bill Belichick-type thing. It’s what are you doing with the opportunities you got? ... We turned the ball over on the plus-30-something yard line. Sloppy football ... I’m very comfortable in that situation.”

Just reading all of the saltiness in that quote causes hypertension.

The hatred Belichick generates causes blindness in some and, again, I get it. But quiet that hatred for a moment and look at what he's doing.

The Patriots have won a number of different ways: dominating on the ground with a cavalcade of backs, a fantasy football player's nightmare; Mac Jones throwing it short and long, three times or literally 50 times; he's used varied defensive strategies to dominate even the best offenses.

They do it all with smarts and steadiness, and it's why they are prospering and other AFC contenders are floundering. They don't have the Patriots' egoless ship that can win any way.

So get your hate ready. Prime it like the engine of a Cessna 172. Fire it up.

Because it's possible we'll see Brady-Belichick in the Super Bowl again, except on opposite sidelines.

And it could happen because of Belichick.