By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick has never been afraid to make moves that other head coaches and GMs would shy away from. Making those decisions has been a hallmark of the Belichick era in New England, an era which brought about six Super Bowl victories.
Now, though, a two-time Super Bowl champ from the first run of Super Bowls is taking a fairly significant shot at the man in charge.
After the Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday, former Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel tweeted, “Belichick never surprises me.”
A couple of minutes later, Samuel quote-tweeted ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who had said that Belichick is “cold blooded.” Samuel took it a step further, indicating that Belichick would be “just another coach” if he never paired up with Tom Brady.
Cold blooded is a understatement! But without Brady he is just another coach in my opinion https://t.co/FvNocsC2UF
— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) August 31, 2021
Considering Samuel’s Patriots career ended a bit ugly — he played his final year under the franchise tag, then left as a free agent after he didn’t secure what would have been a victory-securing interception to cap off the perfect season in 2007 — it’s not particularly surprising to see the now-retired cornerback express some disrespect to Belichick.
Add in that Samuel believes he taught Belichick about the cornerback position …
— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) June 23, 2020
… and the comment on Tuesday falls in line with what might be expected from Samuel.
Samuel even expressed a similar sentiment last year:
I think Bill Belichick needed Tom to be successful. Do you think Tom needs Bill??? My answer is Nooo. Talk to me
— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) April 22, 2020
Brady winning the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay likely only strengthened his belief.
Realistically, Brady was more instrumental in the Patriots’ winning six Super Bowls from 2001-18, as he played the most important position on the field. Belichick has said many times that players can win games and coaches can lose them, and Brady certainly won a whole lot more than he lost.
But (and this is a waste of breath to even say) Belichick obviously was a significant factor as well. (Duh.) If having the best quarterback was all it took to win Super Bowls, then Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers would have 12 apiece. Winning Super Bowls takes a lot more than great quarterback play — like, say, fourth-quarter interceptions of Eli Manning. That’s how championships are won.
Yet Brady has also said the same thing going the other way, stating before last year’s Super Bowl that he “certainly could never have accomplished the things in my career without [Belichick’s] support and his teachings.”
It’s one of those things. Belichick’s one of the best coaches of all time, if not the very best. Same for Brady at quarterback. Had they never met, they each would’ve had plenty of success. Not six Super Bowls, no. But they likely would have found plenty of glory apart from each other.
But the universe got together and paired them up in 2000, and the two were able to make history together. That’s a bit of a more understated take, but it’s nevertheless closer to the truth than suggesting Belichick would ever be “just another coach.”
That’s all debatable, sure. As this matter stands, though, it feels safe to assume that Asante won’t be getting any personal invites from Bill for any reunions of those two Super Bowl teams from ’03 and ’04.