Danny Ainge on Brady-Belichick Debate: ‘It’s Weird to Me’

Getty Danny Ainge

Not everyone is into the Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick debate.

Boston Celtics general manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is one who isn’t all that interested in trying to determine which future Hall-of-Famer meant the most to the New England Patriots‘ success over the past 20 years.

In fact, Ainge a former NBA player for the Celtics and other teams thinks the whole thing is “weird.”

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Ainge: “It’s So Weird to Me”

Ainge recently appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” show, and like just about everyone associated with the Boston sports scene, the 61-year-old was asked for his take on the Brady-Belichick drama.

Ainge wondered:

Why can’t we as New Englanders just appreciate what a great era we had with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady — with nine Super Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl rings — and not just enjoy that instead of have a competition between Belichick and Brady and who’s more important? It’s so weird to me. It’s like, who was more important (to the Celtics), Bill Russell (or) Red Auerbach? Like, no. They both played a big role.

Ainge is probably right, but that’s just not how the minds of most human beings work.

By nature, people tend to want to look for the victor or superior in every situation. It’s almost as if there is no closure unless we can say one of the two men was more important to the bottom line.

The Flawed Comparison

For starters, it’s weird to compare a player to a coach. Obviously, the two roles have vastly different responsibilities. As instrumental as Brady was in everything the Patriots did most of the time he was with the organization, he still wasn’t the head coach.

That concept goes into this year now that Brady has taken his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization. Brady is charged with leading the offense, and even that responsibility is subject to the gameplan Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have devised. While Brady is a 43-year-old football savant whose game IQ and work ethic are legendary, Arians, Leftwich and the rest of the coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball aren’t simply resting while the quarterback hammers out the gameplan and calls all of the plays.

This isn’t to say that Belichick definitively deserves more credit, because quite obviously, it is very difficult to win in the NFL without upper-echelon play from the QB spot. Brady is arguably the greatest ever and there is no question Belichick benefitted from having such a bright star in the game’s most important position. However, at the end of the day, as Ainge pointed out, Brady and Belichick helped each other reach the levels of success they attained.

One was not more important than the other. Trying to compare what Brady has done by helping to lead the Bucs to the Super Bowl while Belichick and the Patriots missed the postseason is the epitome of a flawed comparison.

There’s very little substance that can come from this debate, and quite frankly, it is weird.


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