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Article:Belichick's Legacy: Spygate Circa 2000

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Bill Belichick has widely been regarded as the top mind in the National Football League since he took the New England Patriots out of mediocrity and led them to become a full fledged dynasty. However one thing has always confused me about Belichick. Typically head coaches find similar success during their tenures with different franchises with the exception being those that choose to coach franchises such as the Arizona Cardinals (Dennis Green) and Detroit Lions (Steve Mariucci) who haven't won a championship in 110+ combined seasons.

Belichick posted a .450 winning percentage during his tenure as Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns but a stellar .711 with the Patriots. Some credit this to the legendary rise of Tom Brady but in both situations he inherited a losing team who had won their division two years prior. Of current NFL Head Coaches, there has not been a dramatic increase or decrease between winning percentages between two separate franchises the individual coached.

Here are the numbers...

Tom Coughlin, .531 winning percentage with Jacksonville Jaguars, .547 winning percentage with New York Giants, Differential of .016  

Tony Dungy, .563 winning percentage with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, .760 winning percentage with Indianapolis Colts, Differential of .197

Herman Edwards, .488 winning percentage with New York Jets, .406 winning percentage with Kansas City Chiefs, Differential of .082

Jon Gruden, .594 winning percentage with Oakland Raiders, .500 winning percentage with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Differential of .094

Mike Holmgren, .670 winning percentage with Green Bay Packers, .569 winning percentage with Seattle Seahawks, Differential of .101

Dick Jauron, .438 winning percentage with Chicago Bears, .438 winning percentage with Buffalo Bills, Differential of .000

Bill Belichick, .450 winning percentage with Cleveland Browns, .711 winning percentage with New England Patriots, DIFFERENTIAL OF .261

Wade Phillips and Norv Turner are not included for both have only coached one season with their new franchise and inherited winning teams, a situation unlike Belichick's, but both are unlikely to approach the differential level of Belichick. 

How do you explain this extreme difference in success between teams. Belichick still had an able Bernie Kosar in Cleveland upon taking over the franchise who posted a 87.8 rating in Belichick's first year, similar to acquiring a team with an able veteran like Drew Bledsoe. BOTH teams had won their division two years prior.

Who deserves the credit for suddenly making the Patriots a dynasty? Tom Brady had a similar effect upon the franchise as Peyton Manning did in Indianapolis, but odd claims like Eagles Pro Bowl Cornerback Sheldon Brown's declaration that the Patriots knew to throw a screen pass ever time the Eagles threw a major blitz their way in the Super Bowl leads me to believe that Belichick isn't all he is hyped up to be. Whether it be video taping signs or stealing the next best thing to Joe Montana in the draft, it doesn't seem like all of this success can be credited to Belichick. Coaches become better over time but I don't know if any coach can improve that much between leading two franchises in very similar circumstances. A Good Coach? Absolutely. One of the Greatest Ever? I'm beginning to question it.


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