When someone is great over a long period they can sometimes get over looked. It's not fair, but that's how life goes. When someone always get's A's on tests it's not a big deal when they keep getting A's. It becomes what you expect. He/She is a fantastic student so you sort of just get used to it. But truth be told A's are hard to get and just because you have a ton of them doesn't make getting them in the future any easier. You still have to perform at a high level. You should get acknowledged for being a great student but overtime when it just becomes the norm it can be tough to appreciate.
Same can be said for Bill Belichick. Since 2001 he's never had a losing season. He's won 4 (possibly 5 by Sunday) Super Bowls and 7 Conference Championships. He's won 12 games or more 11 times. For reference the New York Jets have won 12 games once in franchise history (BUMS). But he's only won NFL Coach of the Year 3 times. Given his resume that is kind of surprising, but it makes sense. AP Coach of the Year is usually given to a coach who turned around a bad team. That's just how it works. In fact Belichick is the only coach to win the award and the Super Bowl in the same season this millennium (2003). Other than his first year in New England he hasn't really had a bad team so he doesn't have opportunities to go from 4-12 to 12-4. When you win 12 games a year people can take for granted how good of a job you did coaching. I don't really care if Belichick wins it this year, he should but it doesn't matter, I doubt he even cares. However given the circumstances he's dealt with and the success this team has had this season win or lose Super Bowl Sunday I think the argument can be made this is best job coaching yet.
First off the Patriots without Tom Brady were able to go 3-1. It may seem like years ago but going into the season many people believed the Patriots would struggle without Tom Brady and that if they went 2-2 it'd be a success. Look at a team like the 2015 Cowboys. They go 12-4 with Romo the year before, the next year I'm pretty sure they didn't win a single game he didn't start.
Opening night the Patriots shocked the nation as they upset the Arizona Cardinals on the road 23-21. Going into that game the Cardinals were not only 9 point favorites but they were also favorites to represent the NFC in the the Super Bowl. They ended up disappointing this season but when that game was played the Patriots were able to go into a tough environment and win on the road with a QB making his first career NFL start against a team that went 13-3 the season before. That game truly showed the world Jimmy Garappolo, the next week against Miami he shined. Before he left with an injury Jimmy G was 18-26 for nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. People were wondering if he was going to steal Brady's job. When he went down it was up to rookie 3rd round pick Jacoby Brissett to hold on. The Patriots did and won 31-24. The next week Jacoby Brissett was able to do just enough to lead the Patriots to a 27-0 shutout win over the Houston Texans. In the final game without Brady the Patriots lost 16-0 to the Buffalo Bills. Without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski (non factor until Brady returned) the Patriots were able to go 3-1.
With Brady at the helm the Patriots went 11-1. Not bad for a 39 year old QB. The one loss came against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football where the Patriots had first and goal inside the 5 yard line and were unable to tie the score.
Not only did the Patriots go 14-2 this season which was their best regular season record since 2010 (last time Bill won coach of the year) but they did it despite trading away All-Pro linebacker Jamie Collins and losing TE Rob Gronkowski for the season.
When the Patriots traded Collins I thought it was a death sentence for their defense. Nobody understood the move. Bill stuck to his guns and did what he's been doing for nearly 20 years. A controversial move that ended up being the right one for the team. They responded by allowing the fewest points in the NFL. Something this franchise hadn't done since their 2003 Super Bowl season. With a team of old vets and cast offs the Patriots were able to statistically have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Mainly because of defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the head man Bill Belichick.
Rob Gronkowski has been the straw the stirs the drink for the Patriots offense since he came into the NFL. When he's healthy the Patriots offense has been unstoppable. In seasons he got injured it basically ended their championship hopes. After not having him since week 12 the Patriots offense has not skipped a beat. The Patriots offense despite no Brady for 4 games and no Gronk for 11 and counting finished 3rd in the NFL for points per game.
Without two of their five most important players going into the season the Patriots went 14-2 and are a win away from their 5th Super Bowl championship. I don't believe any other team or coach in the NFL could do that. If you take away Julio Jones and Vic Beasley the Falcons aren't in the Super Bowl. That's basically what happened with the Pats yet here they are at 16-2 heading into Super Bowl LI. I know they've been the model of excellence for over 15 years but do not let that make it so you cannot appreciate how great of a job this coaching staff has done this year. I believe that in year 17 given what he's had to work with this may be Belichick's best coaching yet.