The divergent paths for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick this year have led to a speculation of who was more important in their common success. Worth it?

Tom Brady (USA) could become the first NFL player in history to win 7 Championships, in 2 weeks time -if he can beat Patrick Mahomes (USA) and the Kansas City Chiefs-.

By beating the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers (USA) -to many the bet Quarterback in the regular season- he qualified to his tenth Super Bowl, just in his first season in the team.

The Patriots, meanwhile, had a losing record of 7-9. For many this settles a debate that has ensued about whether Tom Brady or Bill Belichick (Patriots’ Head coach and General manager) were more important fo the dynasty that the Patriots established in American football for the last two decades

Sporting success is the result of a series of systems that are put into place for a machine to deliver. Belichick and Brady were part of the critical gears needed for the systems to work.

Assembling the rest of the team and making sure that it works is critical and so is delivering on the field. But in sport it is always the sportspeople. Everything else is a series of services and facilitators for the sportspeople to shine.

The players are the most important. Indeed being in the right place at the right time are a sine qua non for success. The country in which you were born, the diet that you take, the luck of having been found by a scout, the sacrifices made to pursue success, and indeed the management and people that support an individual are crucial factors to achieve success.

This does not mean that other individuals and systems cannot be held accountable for results. Coaches always are.Their obligation is with the correct management of the resources (human, financial, etc.) available to them.

Right now Bill Belichick lost his most important asset -and several other players that aged, retired or opted out in the pandemic- and the playbook is not enough, even if he is -or not- the best in the world at the playbook.

Sport is in the end about those who play it and deliver. What Brady is doing is historic and for the sport aficionados to enjoy and savor, because players like him, with his commitment to success, his game intelligence and overall management and leadership -such as his influence in bringing Antonio Brown (USA) and Rob Gronkowski (USA)- to a team are very rarely seen.

If Brady wins the Super Bowl in two week time it will be hard to argue against considering him the greatest American football player of all time. He achieved it thanks to Belichick and the rest of the Patriots. That is fine, because sportspeople always need the right systems in place to succeed.