On Thursday night, some rumors leaked about ESPN’s plan to run a story about dysfunction within the New England Patriots. That ESPN report, authored by Seth Wickersham, is now available. Stop whatever you’re doing and check out this must-read material.
Real, real interesting stuff in there. The “too long; didn’t read” version is that there’s tension between quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft. Some of the tension has seemingly been caused by Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. But it’s more complicated than just that. There’s a lot of layers to the Pats’ dysfunction. It seems like their success has become a burden in some ways. And the issues could be “the beginning of the end” of an era in New England.
We’ll see if that’s the case. The Patriots are still obviously among the NFL’s elite. Despite all these reported issues, they’re still 13-3 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season. They could easily win another Super Bowl ring.
But maybe, just maybe, the Brady-Belichick era is really coming to an end. And if that’s the case, that has a huge impact on the rest of the league. Gone would be a strong favorite to win the title game every year. The door would then be more open for some of the league’s ascending teams, such as the Philadelphia Eagles.
I can’t lie: given the way this Eagles season was going, I was fully imagining a scenario where Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson would beat Brady and Belichick in the Super Bowl to usher a new era in the NFL. With Wentz out for the season, that won’t be able to happen now. It’d still be pretty sweet for the Eagles if they could somehow get to the title game and beat the Pats in what could be New England’s final year of their current structure. Not to mention avenge 2004.
Again, we’ll see what happens. Knowing the Pats, they’ll probably somehow find a way to win the next 100 Super Bowls just to spite this ESPN story. In the meantime, though, it’s interesting to know one of the NFL’s most successful franchises isn’t as invulnerable as it may appear.
PS: LOL at this
At the same time, as his age has increased, Brady has become an advocate of positive thinking. Belichick’s negativity and cynicism have gotten old, Brady has told other Patriots players and staff. He feels he has accomplished enough that he shouldn’t have to endure so much grief. Patriots staffers have noticed that, this year more than ever, he seems to volley between unwavering confidence and driving insecurity. Brady has noted to staff a few times this year that, no matter how many game-changing throws he makes, Belichick hasn’t awarded him Patriot of the Week all year.