ESPN Calls It “The Beginning of the End” For The New England Patriots, But Is It Really?

There’s been considerable speculation that the end to a powerful yet humble dynasty is amongst us. That the harsh fear of stepping foot in snowy Foxborough, in late January, will no longer haunt teams around the NFL. What could’ve caused such animosity between what we know as the ‘Football legends’- Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? According to ESPN reports, there’s been a silent feud in the New England Patriots locker room for quite some time now.

A feud that slowly started off as a candle fire but rapidly grew into a wildfire. Alex Guerrero, who is not only Tom Brady’s personal trainer but the Godfather of one of Brady’s sons, seems to be playing the role of the one ‘friend’ who tries to convince you that you can do better than your current significant other. After being brought aboard the team in 2013, signs of issues and miscommunication between Belichick and Guerrero had surfaced. Belichick and Guerrero didn’t quite see eye-to-eye and that ultimately led to Belichick stripping Guerrero of his power. Eventually, Guerrero was banned from all of New England’s facilities and was not permitted access to the sidelines.

Besides the turmoil between Guerrero and Belichick, Brady expressed interest in playing football well within his 40s to Robert Kraft. Kraft decided to stick with Brady and trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Belichick wasn’t too thrilled (when is he ever) when he was informed that Garoppolo will not be a part of the teams long term plans and reluctantly traded Garoppolo to San Francisco 49ers for a 2nd round pick. The ambitious will for Brady to play until he turns mortal seems to fluster Belichick.

What Happens With Bill Belichick?

If the Patriot’s dynasty crumbles after this season (knock on wood), my best bet would be, it would start with Bill Belichick walking away with his fist raised like the character John Bender, in the last scene of the movie, “The Breakfast Club.” This is a bold statement, but if anything substantial is to happen next season, I predict that Bill Belichick will retire and end his legacy in New England. With that said, Matt Patricia will take heir of the head coaching job in New England. Patricia has been with the Patriots for 14 years and has been an apprentice to Belichick. Granted, Patricia can go elsewhere, but why should he if the position if offered? He is the most qualified for that job and would probably have more success head coaching for the Patriots than any other team.

For all my of life, Tom Brady has been the sheriff in Boston/New England. At one point, I questioned myself whether or not Tom Brady had meant more to New England than Paul Revere. I honestly don’t foresee Robert Kraft trading the man who built a legacy that will be pridefully mentioned to future generations.

We often discuss how the Patriots offer job security to no one. If Brady should ever fall into that predicament, let’s not forget that most New Englanders own a Tom Brady Jersey, not a Belichick t-shirt. Don’t get me wrong, Belichick is like the Gandhi of football and clearly was a huge cornerstone of the Patriot’s dominate success over the past 16 years. But as a businessman, when your star player is a household name in a foreign country and has a pass to eat at any home locally, you keep him as long as he keeps throwing touchdowns.

What Happens With Tom Brady?

As of right now, there is no one to replace Tom Brady. Brady is the only quarterback for the Patriots, so even if he would get injured in the playoffs and still advance, there is literally no one to replace him with (Brian Hoyer is the immediate option but not in the future plans). The Patriots would have to wait for the 2018 NFL Draft in April to even consider moving on from Brady. And even if they do draft a quarterback, it is going to take time to groom him and that would have to be under Patricia, assuming that Belichick decides to remove himself. Brady isn’t going anywhere for at least a few more years and while this might be the “beginning of the end,” as ESPN says, we can do without the drama-filled stories and just stick to what is really going on.

It hurts a lot of people in the league to say it, but Brady can very well play into his 40’s. He has played an MVP season this year, leading the league in passing. Brady has been able to maintain such high skills with a minimal amount of receivers and still ended the Patriots season 13-3 and led the AFC. And if it sounds like I’m giving Brady all the credit, it’s because he should get all the credit. The Patriots defense is in the bottom five in the entire league and the only way for the Patriots to be able to have the record that they did, was due to the offense. So yeah, Brady gets all the praise along with Belichick and the offensive coaching staff.

What About Alex Guerrero?

It seems like one of the biggest problems the author brought to light in this article was the Alex Guerrero incident. Is the TB12 method a problem? Absolutely not, but having a guy in meetings who offers very little and is basically there to work with one person is. Letting Guerrero into meetings and onto the sidelines didn’t seem like a very Patriot Way type move in the first place, so revoking those credentials shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

This story, as with Deflategate, is trying to make it into that. The TB12 method shouldn’t be seen as a problem, as an athlete of Tom Brady’s caliber shouldn’t have to just fly under the radar after he retires, and this is something that will keep him relevant for many years. Did you ever think that Peyton Manning would be doing Nationwide and Papa John’s commercials after he retired? (Granted he does own a bunch of Papa John’s in the Denver area).

The author goes on to make claims about the TB12 method’s “subtle changes” affecting the offense, that doesn’t make any sense. He brings up one example of the game against the Chargers where Brady got rid of the ball quickly with a clean pocket, but he doesn’t mention that Brady has been sacked 35 times this year, the fourth most of his career. Not to mention, the first five games of 2017 included more sacks than the 15 he took all of last season.

The Jimmy G Effect

Going on to talk about Jimmy Garoppolo, an extension for him never seemed to be in the picture. Offering him $18 million to sit on the bench would never work. Brady is still playing very well, so why take the risk of signing this extension if you’re Jimmy G if you know you might not play for another two years?

Who knows what Brady is actually going to do, so why take that when you can go start somewhere else? Now yes, I understand the Patriots definitely could have gotten more for Garoppolo in the offseason, but Belichick knew that and it seems like he played hardball, especially with Cleveland, who had two picks inside the top 12.

The 49ers trade that materialized doesn’t seem like a panic move because keep in mind at the time of the trade, the 49ers had the 2nd overall pick in the draft. Getting a 2nd rounder was great because it was going to be right at the end of the 1st round, and there was still going to be a ton of talent on the board. Sure that pick has slipped a little bit, but it’s still a pretty valuable pick since it’s going to be inside the top 45. The Patriots are very well known for trading back if their guy doesn’t fall to them, so the true value of this pick has yet to be shown. It may seem like they traded away a future franchise QB, but if Brady plays at this level for one or two more seasons, there are plenty of QB prospects the team can develop.

What’s Really Going To Happen?

And really, this is all just under the assumption if the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl this year. If the Patriots can win, there will be no choice for them, but to get over their differences since what I think they all value more than their pride and ego, is winning Super Bowls.

Kraft owns the team so he isn’t going anywhere.

Bill Belichick’s contract is so under wraps that no one has an idea of when he could possibly leave football although we all love to speculate, so that leaves us with Brady’s contract. His contract is up in 2018,  but with the recent backup quarterback moves, it feels like the Patriots are sticking with Brady. So for better or for worse, I think that the Patriots leading men are sticking together for at least a few more years.

SAD New England Patriots Beat Writers Leslie Torres-Valadez, Jamal Layne, and Roman Tomashoff all contributed to this story.

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