Bill Belichick and Tom Brady entered the Patriots' bye week tied for the winningest quarterback-head coach tandem in NFL history. Barring a disaster, they will break the record this season.
The pair that already has three Super Bowl rings together is tied with the duo of Dan Marino and Don Shula with 116 wins. They passed Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll (107 wins) last season and other notable pairs Jim Kelly and Marv Levy (99) and Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid (92) along the way.
In this era where quarterbacks and coaches change teams often, creating the kind of longevity and success necessary for this list is more difficult than ever. There is a big gap between Brady and Belichick and the next active tandem.
Belichick was asked about the success he has had with his quarterback.
"I feel like I have a good player-coach relationship with Tom. We have spent, through the years, a decent amount of time together on a regular basis. I think that's important," he said. "We talk regularly during the week about what's going to happen, how we're doing it and then we review what did happen and then we move on to the next stage. It's a continuous cycle that we've kind of been in that routine for a lot of years now."
Assuming a few more seasons of success between Brady and Belichick, who aren't going anywhere, this appears to be a record that will last a long time.
Here is the list of the active quarterback-head coach duos with the most wins:
1. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick / 116 wins — Belichick and Brady's respective success always will be connected, and they represent longevity at their posts that is not seen in this era of the NFL. Belichick is the second-longest-tenured head coach, while Brady is second to Peyton Manning for most starts with one franchise. The duo that is rarely satisfied with its success hasn't been to a Super Bowl since 2007.
2. Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin / 64 — When his brother, Peyton, had to miss his first start in the NFL in Week One, Eli became the active leader among quarterbacks for most consecutive regular-season starts — 109 and counting. Manning has avoided injury and, with Coughlin, has found consistent success, including a Super Bowl after the 2007 season.
3. Drew Brees and Sean Payton / 54 — Both arrived in the Big Easy in 2006, keying the Saints' turnaround from a 3-13 record in '05 to a playoff berth in '06. Brees is set to get a contract extension this season, and Payton got his deal last offseason, meaning this duo can continue to climb the ranks. Brees began his career winning 30 games for the Chargers before coming to New Orleans.
4. (tie) Philip Rivers and Norv Turner / 45 — Since Turner's arrival in 2007, Rivers has emerged from being a good QB into one of the league's elite signalcallers. He led the NFL in touchdown passes in 2008 with 34 and in passing yards last season with 4,710. Their best season together came in 2009, when the Chargers won 13 games.
4. (tie) Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin / 45 — Drafted in 2004, Big Ben won 29 games over his first three seasons under Bill Cowher, and he didn't slow down when Tomlin took over the team in '07. The two have led the team to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, including a pair of Super Bowl appearances: a victory in Super Bowl XLIII and a loss in Super Bowl XLV.
6. Matt Ryan and Mike Smith / 37 — The Falcons' 2007 season was one disaster after another, starting with QB Michael Vick's incarceration and ending with head coach Bobby Petrino's resignation with three games remaining. To fix those problems, the team brought in Ryan and Smith before the '08 season. The solutions have proven to be smart ones, as Atlanta has made the playoffs twice in three seasons since the two became Falcons. Twenty-two of their 37 wins have come at the Georgia Dome.
7. Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh / 36 — Many people were skeptical in 2008 when Harbaugh, the first-time head coach, announced that his rookie QB would be his Week One starter under center. The call proved to be the right one, as Flacco has led the Ravens to the playoffs each season he has been in the league. The pair also has won four postseason games.
PFW associate editor Eli Kaberon contributed to this article.