my answer on Quora
Tom Brady is a system Quarterback. However, not in the conventional sense of a football system. The system which I’m referring to is not the X’s and O’s but Bill Bellichick’s system in both preparation, on-field performance and mental attitude towards the game. They are the prime modern day football example of how successful systems/partnerships lead to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts which can be measured in both winning percentage and Super Bowl rings. Brady/Bellichick have formed the winningest quarterback-coach tandems since the AFC/NFC merger in 1970 (Belichick’s record before Brady: 5-13; with Brady: 147-43).
In sports there are always unique individual achievers, but pull down the veil and you’ll often find someone alongside them…hence the reason why football is an elite team sport. Oftentimes, we tend to think that onfield tandems are the only way to measure successful systems/partnerships ..think Montana to Rice or Jordan & Pippen. Working together these individuals create a more dynamic and successful team. However, coaches can create far more successful system/partnership than individual players….specifically, QB’s and Coaches.
Is the conclusions that great coaches make great QB’s (and vice versa) groundbreaking? Not really but there is no coach or quarterback who had previously formed the greatest QB/Coach tandems who have found the same amount of success when separated from the coach (aka the ‘system’). When looking at elite sports systems, most people do not consider trust as the foundation of winning, followed closely by a real sense of work and personal ethics….nowhere is this better portrayed than in a QB/Coach tandem
I agree with John DeMarchi that Tom Brady can win with any on-field personnel but without Bill Bellichick he would not know what to do with them …and vice versa. Hence, he is a system quarterback.