In the NFL, it is hard enough to win 9-12 games a year and reach the playoffs.
It is even harder when you are the Miami Dolphins (or Jets or Bills) and have to face the greatest Head Coach/Quarterback duo that ever existed twice a year.
Their epic comeback was nothing short of phenomenal, and a textbook example of their dominance. There was not another single coach/QB in NFL history who could of pulled off what the Patriots did on Sunday night, even with as much help as the Atlanta Falcons provided in choking that game away.
The bad news is clear. Brady and Belichick are seemingly unstoppable when on the top of their games, and it does not look like they are slowing down any time soon. As long as the Patriots can keep Brady upright and healthy, there is no reason he can´t play late into his 40´s like he is projecting. And as long as they are together, it will be seemingly impossible for any AFC East team to uproot them.
Seemingly impossible, not actually impossible.
This is the good news. The good news is that the Miami Dolphins have already taken a giant step towards doing what they need to do to dethrone this god-like duo. They have changed the culture and they have found who I believe is the next best thing to Belichick: Adam Gase.
Gase, like Belichick, preaches a no-nonsense, my-way-or-the-highway system, one that demands his players buy into. He has done wonders for his QB Ryan Tannehill in just one year with him, leading him to his highest season total in wins (before being injured), and his most efficient season.
You can look at the Dolphins playing in the same division as Belichick/Brady as a bad thing, or as a good thing. I see it as a good thing. The Dolphins will face the best duo in NFL history two times a year (and have for the past decade and a half), meaning they will know come playoff time if they are ready to play against the best or not.
This year, they were not quite ready. They dropped both contests to the Patriots. The Patriots were better coached and overall more talented in both.
Playing in the same division as the Patriots is exactly what the Dolphins need moving forward to expose what areas need fixing, and to serve as a model of what being the best in this league truly means.
Yes, I dislike the Patriots just as much as the next Dolphins fan or even Bills or Jets fan. But I would be stupid not to respect them, what they have accomplished, what is left for them to accomplish, and what they offer to learn from.
Adam Gase is just as smart as Bill Belichick.
Even if he has a lot yet to learn from him.