KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Bill Belichick ranked No. 1 in our Head Coach Tiers ranking of the 32 NFL head coaches last month, a project for which we had eight general managers, four former GMs, four personnel directors, four executives, six coordinators and four position coaches rate every coach in the league. He'll have to do his best coaching job yet to overcome the talent issues Belichick the general manager has created for the New England Patriots in 2014.
It's never been much of an issue in New England, because the team almost always improves and contends. That could happen again, but the Patriots' embarrassing 41-14 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs on "Monday Night Football" showed just how small the Patriots' margin for error has become.
These Patriots barely beat winless Oakland in Foxborough eight days before the Raiders fired their coach. New England has now lost by 13-plus points twice in four games this season after suffering just one defeat by a margin that wide over the previous three seasons.
While the Chiefs' Andy Reid won the coaching battle at Arrowhead Stadium through the successful deployment of unusual formations and design of plays, that isn't the big story for New England. Squandering quarterback Tom Brady's final few seasons will become the big story if what we saw Monday night is truly representative.