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NFL column: Brady, Belichick a legendary duo

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Published:   |   Updated: September 22, 2013 at 08:32 AM

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — There may be no more important relationship in professional sports than the vibe between head coach and quarterback.

As any Buccaneers fan can attest, there’s certainly been plenty of chatter in recent weeks about the trust factor between Greg Schiano and Josh Freeman. An 0-2 start has fueled rampant speculation of discord in Tampa, but there are no such concerns about the tandem that will be across the field today at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have been the NFL’s dominant franchise since 2001, which just happens to be the season Tom Brady replaced injured Drew Bledsoe at quarterback.

Bill Belichick was hardly considered a coaching genius 12 years ago, but together, he and Brady have made history.

“There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady,’’ said Belichick, who needs three more victories to pass Hall of Famer Chuck Noll for No. 5 on the all-time coaching list with 210 career wins.

“There’s nobody I’d ever want to play for other than him,’’ said Brady, who boasts the No. 3 career passer rating in league annals behind Aaron Rodgers and Hall of Famer Steve Young.

It’s easy to understand the mutual admiration.

Since the 1970 merger, the Brady-Belichick tandem has more victories (138) and a better winning percentage (.780) than any quarterback-coach duo.

With a win against the Bucs today, Brady and Belichick will have combined for a 139-39 mark. Think about it: 100 games above .500 in fewer than 13 years.

Together, Belichick and Brady won three Super Bowls within a four-year span, interrupted only by the 2002 championship Bucs.

Together, Brady and Belichick have captured five AFC titles, coming within a few plays of taking home five Vince Lombardi trophies.

Belichick has coached the Pats to double-digit wins in 10 consecutive seasons. That had never been done before, and you’d be a fool to doubt that streak will reach 11 years running by the end of December.

“They play awfully hard in all three phases,’’ Schiano said, regarding the Patriots. “There is no letdown. We are trying to become a team like that.’’

Belichick’s obsession for uncovering the winning edge is legendary. Surely it helps when you can call on a kindred spirit under center.

“I think Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana,’’ said New England owner Bob Kraft. “I know that’s a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all time. He’s like Bill ... he’s into the details.’’

While Freeman and Schiano try to build a legacy, there’s little question Belichick and Brady will be joined forever in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There have been a few stumbles along the way, a few pebbles in their cleats, but Brady and Belichick have forged a new NFL template by which to judge the coach-quarterback tandem.

“We’ve always had a great relationship,’’ Brady said. “I think the most important thing for me, and I know for him, is to win. Those interests are always aligned.’’

ikaufman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7833

Twitter: @IKaufmanTBO

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