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Stephen A. Says Tom Brady 'Disguised' Belichick's Major Flaw

Stephen A. Smith looking on at the NBA Celebrity Game

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 14: Head coach Stephen A. Smith of Team Stephen A. looks on before the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Presented By Ruffles at Wintrust Arena on February 14, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

When discussing the legacy of all-time-great quarterback Tom Brady, one of the biggest arguments against him is a perceived reliance on coaching legend Bill Belichick.

On Monday's episode of

"Tom Brady proved that he deserved far more respect, adulation and deference from Bill Belichick than he received. And gratitude. Because he disguised Bill Belichick's deficiency as a GM."

— First Take (@FirstTake) January 26, 2021

">ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith made quite the opposite argument. Now that Brady has led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl in his first season without his former Patriots head coach, Smith believes some of Belichick's key mistakes were masked by the QB's greatness. “Tom Brady proved that he deserved far more respect, adulation and deference from Bill Belichick than he received, and gratitude,” Smith said. “Because he disguised Bill Belichick’s deficiency as a GM."

As general manager/head coach, Belichick has made some questionable draft decisions -- especially at the wideout position. Smith thinks Brady's skill as a passer and game manager "disguised" the lack of a No. 1 receiver.

“Not a coach. I’ll never question the greatness of Bill Belichick as a coach. There’s too many responsibilities that come with being a coach, and he didn’t get there to nine Super Bowls and win six by himself. But when you consider that last year you — meaning Tom Brady — had to work with (Jakobi Meyers) and you’ve got N’Keal Harry instead of A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf, and (Belichick) drafted Sony Michel instead of Lamar Jackson. These are some glaringly flagrant errors made by Bill Belichick, the general manager.”

The stats are certainly there to back up this argument.

In 2019, Brady and the Patriots ranked 8th in the NFL with 3,961 passing yards. In its first year without Brady in 2020, New England finished 30th with 2,890 yards -- only above the Jets and Ravens.

If Belichick had brought in some decent talent around his star QB, Smith thinks Brady would've retired in New England.

“For me, Tom Brady never departs from New England if he had the personnel in place — the love that he has for Robert Kraft and New England and the Foxboro area and what have you,” Smith said. “He never leaves. Never leaves New England if you make sure he has the weapons that he needs. But by not having the weapons that he needed, you had people talking and bringing up ‘the cliff’ and ‘the ravine’ and about how he couldn’t get it done and how he was done and he was over the hill and all of this other stuff. And as a result, he heard all of that noise and he’s like, ‘These people don’t know what the hell I’m working with. I have nothing.’

“If Bill Belichick had given him weapons, Tom Brady would still be in Foxboro and Tampa wouldn’t be going to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2003.”

If Brady can claim his seventh Super Bowl ring with Tampa Bay, the way things ended in New England will sting all the more for Pats fans.