Look, I get what everyone says about how the Colts have had crazy sustained success compared to the vast majority of football teams. But to me, thats simply because we have Peyton Manning, a truly all-time great and the best player in the league, year in year out, who plays the most important position. Its the same reason the Patriots are having crazy sustained success, because even though as a Michigan Wolverines fan I don't get how it happened, Tom Brady is also an all-time great and the 2nd best player in the league, year in year out.
Belichick is overrated, because of the combination of this demeanor and results, but he is a good coach and runs a good organization. The Colts are also a decently run organization long-term, although I don't see Jim Caldwell as a good NFL coach. I don't hate him and I don't think he matters that much outside of some timeout gaffes and the such.
The problem I see, and the reason I think the Patriots have had a bit more success over the long-haul than the Colts, is that they seem to have a better understanding that they have an all-time great QB, a player who instantly makes the team at least a respectable, close to 8-8 team, with fringe players at EVERY other position (ok. I don't mean high school football players, but you know, within reason NFL players, maybe some with experience all of whom just really aren't good by NFL standards).
Sure the Patriots liked have Randy Moss with Welker for those couple years, until Moss even started to hint at being annoying. He Gone. Its not that they don't want good WRs and all of the weapons and toys Brady could want. Its that this is not the be-all, end-all. With Brady, what they need, are receivers who can at least function, maybe throw in a few mismatches from time to time, run some ok routes. They don't need to have 2 RBs, 2 WRs, a TE all from the 1st round of drafts, most of whom are pretty young still.
They've had that (at least part-time) 3-4 defense that mucks it up. With large men in the middle. Vince Wilfork is fat. And he's pretty good. They always have had that reliable 3rd down back (Faulk) That reliable all-around RB who wasn't Addai in the 1st round (Morris) A consistenly solid O-line. It's not that beautiful Brazilian soccer game where when Peyton puts up 21 in the first quarter and then Freeney and Mathis go to WORK, and everything runs so smoothly we actually consider taking Peyton out for a few snaps. I get it, MJD and Sproles 7 yards a carry and 10 yards a screen just can't make up that kind of deficit -- those games when it all happens, its NFL perfection. The Pats D mucks it up, it does ok, and it does ok reliably. Because they still have that piece that reliably is an all-time great, and plays the most important position, and can make Blair White look good. He would have gotten some TDs on the Patriots last year too if they had him in as a 3rd WR for chunks of game time.
I don't know if its the front office having this ultimate plan which I think is clearly flawed despite Peyton, or its Peyton's perfectionism that requires having us draft receievers and TEs and RBs and DEs to tailor to that beautiful game plan of Peyton perfectness. Maybe Ugoh being a bust was just luck and thats what we ended up with. I just think the better way to reliably win Super Bowls (in football, where you can lose any given Sunday) is the way the Patriots have reliability rather than a combo of greatness/flaws around their all-time great QB.