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The Patriots Killed Dick LeBeau

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Dick LeBeau. Veteran of nearly 60 years. Hall of Famer. Innovator. Champion. Coaching legend. But a man who, in the end, knew he’d been beaten by Bill Belichick.

Let this in no way be taken as disrespect for Coach LeBeau who owns a gold jacket he did not have to pay for an deserves it. On the contrary, I give him credit for knowing when the time was right. What ultimately brought an end to his storied career wasn’t age, the game passing him by or uncertainty in Tennessee. It was this:

Dick Lebeau3Dick Lebeau2

The Patriots killed his career. A man who’s been running defenses since he was in Cincinnati in the early 90s, who’s lost big postseason games to Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, John Elway and Tim Tebow, knew that as long as Tom Brady was taking NFL snaps and Bill Belichick was calling shots, he was never going to succeed. And there is no end in sight for men like him. No hope. Maybe at some point he saw a light at the end of the tunnel and thought maybe he could wait Bradichick out. But after watching him beat a team LeBeau’s Titans had beaten twice, with a much better defense than his own and Brady playing with a Deadpool hand, the last flicker of hope was doused for good.

It’s sad, really. A universally respected man whose entire team showed up for his Canton induction and who created a style of defense that confounded quarterbacks for generations was cursed with one guy he couldn’t stop. Like I said before the Divisional game, the Zone Blitz is a complex equation that Brady solved a long time ago. He was defenses Dragon Glass. Its one vulnerability. And LeBeau could never counter him. He didn’t in Pittsburgh. He didn’t in Tennessee. He could’ve figured out immortality and coached forever and still the TB12 Method would’ve kept Brady going, breaking down his schemes and producing games like that playoff game.

So it’s with a heavy heart but solar systems of respect that I bid farewell to not only a great Football Guy, but a man smart enough to know when he’d met his better. Godspeed, Dick LeBeau.

@jerrythornton1