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Is this the beginning of the end?

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Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Unless they meet in the Super Bowl within the next four seasons, the Eagles won’t play the Patriots until 2027. Bill Belichick will be 75, and probably no longer coaching by then. Maybe well before then.

Is this the beginning of the end for Bill Belichick?

Since Tom Brady took over as Patriots starter in 2001, Bill Belichick is 38-31 without Tom Brady. But 10 of those wins were in 2008, and he’s 25-25 since Brady left for Tampa. He’s made puzzling draft picks such as Cole Strange in the 1st round and a not particularly good kicker in the 5th round made worse when they didn’t realize he is a white supremacist. He’s made head scratching free agent signings such as two starting TEs in the same offseason and giving Nelson Agholor $22 million a year after Agholor signed for the veteran minimum the year before. And he’s hired assistant coaches to roles that everyone outside of New England knew they were not cut out for and lo and behold it turns out they were not cut out for those roles.

Meanwhile Tom Brady won another Super Bowl immediately after leaving Belichick; in year two put together an even better regular season and lost to the Super Bowl winners by 3 points; and then last year even though he was clearly finished as a player he was a more efficient passer than Michael McCorkle Jones.

Belichick hasn’t won a playoff game since 2018, got blown out in his last one in 2019, has two losing seasons in his last three, his offense was a joke last year… Frank Reich and Mike Zimmer have a better resume since the start of the 2019 season. We’re looking at the late stage Andy Reid Eagles era here.

The rings buy you a lot of rope, but eventually that runs out. Is this the year? Can the Eagles start the misery pile that finishes Bill Belichick?

Predicting some Week 1 overreactions

With nothing this season to look back on other than the Chiefs WRs losing to the Lions, let us look forward. Talking head shows will need something to yell about.

Panthers at Falcons: Desmond Ridder is good

Jaguars at Colts: Anthony Richardson is a star OR Anthony Richardson is a bust

Titans at Saints: Are the Saints Super Bowl contenders?

Cardinals at Commanders: The Cardinals might win a game

Texans at Ravens: CJ Stroud is a bust

Buccaneers at Vikings: I got to be honest, I got nothing on this, who cares about this game

Packers at Bears: Justin Fields is MVP

Raiders at Broncos: Russell Wilson is back/Sean Payton has fixed Russell Wilson

Bengals at Browns: The Browns are Super Bowl contenders

49ers at Steelers: The Steelers are Super Bowl contenders

Dolphins at Chargers: The Dolphins are Super Bowl contenders

Rams at Seahawks: The Rams might not win a game

Giants at Cowboys: The Cowboys are winning the Super Bowl

Bills at Jets: The Jets are Super Bowl contenders OR the Jets are frauds

Some of them might actually be true!

Critical (of a) Mass (of) Media

On September 1st my subscription to The Athletic was set to renew at the price of $72. $72 is nothing. It’s $6 a month. It’s a beer a month at the bar, it’s six cocktails a year. But The Athletic has shifted completely away from its “Why I Joined The Athletic” days to chasing the kind of stuff that First Take and Undisputed yell about all day, and that started well before they were sold to the New York Times. And pretty much all of the people who I signed up to read have left either by choice or were laid off. There are several writers there that I read, covering multiple sports, but no one I can’t go without. So I was planning on canceling because it wasn’t worth its price point to me. They offered the standard “please don’t cancel, how about $24 for the year?” deal, and at that price point I said sure and renewed. They got me, I admit it.

Also on September 1st a bunch of Philadelphia sports writers and media personalities announced their time at whatever outlet they were at had come to a close, not so cryptically hinting that they were headed to a brand new venture. That new venture is the yet to be launched PHLY, the latest branch of the All City Network that currently exists in/for Denver, Phoenix, and Chicago. Similar to the peak of The Athletic, they’ve tried to go after a ton of people to disrupt the market; whether they be writers, podcasters, or bloggers, if you’ve heard of them chances are All City talked to them. Some left or will be leaving their current platform, while others are staying at their current platform for various reasons. PHLY will have articles, podcasts, videos, all things you would expect. Including a subscription tier, which at the other sites is $80 a year (maybe they’ll have a limited time launch offer for PHLY, we’ll see).

Perhaps I am wrong but this is another venture capital move-fast-and-break-things/growth rules everything around me bubble that will eventually burst. There are only so many paid subscriptions one can do before it overloads, if you can even afford any to begin with. $24 for this publication, $80 for that outlet, $96+ for another, $100+ for a fantasy site, $60+ for a YouTube channel, $48 for a podcast Patreon… this stuff can add up fast, and eventually you’re paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for overlapping content that you’re not getting hundreds of dollars of value out of. At some point the law of diminishing returns applies, at some point we will reach our own critical mass and have to draw the line somewhere.

Television is figuring out a similar path. For a while the only options were competing cable and satellite bundles of mostly the same content. A lot of people clamored for an a la carte option and streaming platforms have essentially offered a quasi a la carte option. But consumers are realizing that when you are signed up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, whatever Warner Bros. Discovery is calling HBO+Max+ these days, Apple+, Peacock, Paramount+, etc you can’t watch them all at once and the quality isn’t worth it, so this model isn’t worth the money. As a result, streaming services are now losing subscribers and cutting content to save costs. The bubble has burst.

The digital sports media landscape is on similar unstable footing. There is a nomadic aspect to the career, so talent going to three platforms in as many years isn’t unusual. But some day some of them will go to yet another place and you’ll have yet another outlet to spread your attention and potentially your wallet too. Eventually it will be too much to consume and will not be worth the money. The bubble is ready to burst.

College Football Week 2 Watch List

# is their jersey number

Early: Nebraska at Colorado

Colorado: QB Shedeur Sanders #2, WR/PR Jimmy Horn Jr. #5

Nebraska: Nobody

Late: Texas A&M at Miami

TAMU: DT McKinnley Jackson #3, DT Shemar Turner #5, CB Tyreek Chappell #7, CB Tony Grimes #8, S Demani Richardson #26, RT Reuben Fatheree #76

Miami: S Kamren Kitchens #5, S James Williams #20, DT Leonard Taylor #56

Night: Texas at Alabama

Alabama: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry #1, CB Terrion Arnold #3, S Malachi Moore #13, EDGE Chris Braswell #41, RT JC Latham #65

Texas: WR Xavier Worthy #1, WR AD Mitchell (formerly of Georgia!) #5, DT T’Vondre Sweat #93

Late Night: Oklahoma State at Arizona State

OKSU: EDGE Collin Oliver #30

ASU: DB Ro Torrence #9, WR Xavier Guillory #1, WR Elijhah Badger #2

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