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16th anniversary of Bill Belichick drafting Tom Brady

Saturday we celebrated the sweet 16 anniversary of the move that altered the course of NFL history.

On April 16, 2000, day two of the NFL Draft, Bill Belichick -- now 64 years old -- spent his 48th birthday in the New England Patriots' war room, sifting through potential prospects, his first year with the franchise.

Late in the day, Belichick handed in a draft card with a franchise-altering name on it: Tom Brady.

The sixth-round selection of Brady will be a lasting legend and the greatest birthday gift anyone has ever received.

Drafting Brady 16 years ago propelled New England to four Super Bowls and 12 out of the past 13 AFC East titles. The decision will help get Belichick's face etched on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches, along with the likes of Lombardi, Halas and Walsh.

Since that moment 16 years ago, every team has been scouring for "the next Tom Brady," hoping to find magic under every rock, but mostly finding waste.

No quarterback drafted in the sixth or seventh round comes close to matching Brady's accomplishments -- few first rounders are even within sight. Sure, there have been the likes of Matt Hasselbeck or Marc Bulger, but most are Jeff Smokers or Jim Sorgis.

Each time a quarterback with "potential" gets drafted in the sixth round, the Brady comparison gets spun from dust -- Zach Mettenberger, anyone? -- only to quickly fade back to ashes.

So, on this most sacred of Boston holidays, we remember Belichick's birthday and the greatest draft pick in NFL history.

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