ESPN released a much anticipated article on the relationship between New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, and the article turned out to be a fairly ridiculous hit piece on the Patriots. The article, titled The Patriots On The Brink and written by Seth Wickersham, details an internal power struggle within the Patriots organization. ESPN is falling apart and needs clicks, the article was one of the most widely shared articles of the day, and due to ESPN’s damaged relationship with the Patriots due to their questionable coverage of several Patriots scandals another hit piece on the Patriots dynasty should come as no surprise. Here are the allegations against the Patriots in a nutshell:
- Tom Brady cussed out offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the sideline when Brady uncharacteristically missed an open Brandin Cooks in a recent game against the Bills. Our Comments: We all saw this, the video went viral, sometimes players and coaches argue.
- The Patriots banned Tom Brady’s longtime trainer Alex Guerrero from the sidelines and the team facility, because he was not a Patriots employee, but Guerrero was allegedly blaming the team’s training staff for injuries to other players and trying to grow his list of clients inside the Patriots locker room by pressuring players to train the TB12 way. Our Comments: a non-team employee should not have been allowed in the team facility in the first place, and if Alex Guerrero was undermining the team’s training staff, he should have been banned.
- Against the Chargers, Brady missed his first read who was open possibly for a touchdown, since he got rid of the ball fast, because he was scared to get hit. Our Comments: All quarterbacks, even the great ones, miss reads regularly. It’s part of playing quarterback.
- Tom Brady saw backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as a threat. Brady never gave Garoppolo instruction at practice or in meetings. After Garoppolo hurt his shoulder in 2016 he asked Brady’s TB12 trainer Alex Guerrero for help rehabbing, and after initially agreeing to help Garoppolo, the TB12 team then ghosted Garoppolo and refused to treat him. Our Comments: Joe Montana and Steve Young, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, many all-time great quarterbacks have shaky relationships with their potential successors.
- The Patriots wanted to keep Jimmy Garoppolo because they knew he was good, they offered him two contract extensions to remain Brady’s backup, but Garoppolo rightfully refused because he wanted to be a starter and the starting quarterback money that came with it. With Garoppolo set to become a free agent this offseason, the Patriots had to either trade him and get value, or do the unthinkable and prepare to move on from the legendary 40-year-old Tom Brady in favor of the young and talented Garoppolo. Our Comments: The team had to make a decision, a talented young quarterback who was ready to start, or a 40-year-old legend who was still playing at a high level.
- Belichick allegedly thought that the team should consider moving forward with Garoppolo, he saw the talent in Garoppolo and was younger and cheaper, so from “The Patriot Way” standpoint it would be the right move. No player is bigger than the organization, even the legendary Tom Brady, and as no quarterback had ever played at a high level after age 40 and with a talented successor in place now would be the perfect time to move on from Brady. Our Comments: Belichick knew the right move for the was to commit to Garoppolo, he knew how talented Garoppolo was, and that he was ready to lead a team for the next fifteen years.
- Near the trade deadline, Brady met with Kraft for an hour and a half, and after the meeting Kraft called Belichick and demanded Belichick trade Garoppolo. Brady is the present and the future, they will all go down with the TB12 ship, and will ride it until it sinks. Our Comments: Brady, the legend, picked up on the fact that his job was in jeopardy and truly feeling he could play another five years convinced Kraft that Garoppolo needed to go.
- Belichick traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second round pick, and after Garoppolo’s perfect (5-0) record to finish the season, Belichick is beaming with pride and the knowledge that he was right. Kraft is second guessing his decision to recommit to a 40-year-old legend and let a potential franchise quarterback for the next fifteen years walk out the door. Our Comments: The right move for the future of the franchise was to move forward with Garoppolo, but after all Brady has done for the Patriots Kraft was convinced Brady could play another five years, so the he made the decision to move forward with the legendary Brady instead of having a nasty public divorce like Favre in Green Bay.
So the bad relationship that ESPN alleges to exist between Brady, Belichick and Kraft really comes down to a difference of opinions when it comes to the handling of the end of Tom Brady’s career. 40-year old Brady wants to play for five more seasons and wants any threats to that plan gone, Belichick did not want to lose a talented young quarterback who could carry him through the twilight of his career in favor of keeping a 40-year-old legend, and Kraft had to choose. Kraft sided with Brady and Garoppolo was gone. That’s it. Throw out all that crap about Brady missing receivers twice, watch an Andy Dalton game and count how many times he misses A.J. Green alone, even great quarterbacks like Tom Brady make bad reads.
This whole article could have been summed up as – Brady is 40-years-old and wants to play for another five years, but the Patriots had a very talented potential successor on the roster in Garoppolo who they were going to lose, they had to commit to one of them and after some disagreement they picked the legendary Brady and traded Garoppolo.
This does not spell the end of the Patriots dynasty. Sorry ESPN. Look for Belichick to try to find a new potential successor to Tom Brady in the 2018 NFL Draft, who can take over when Brady does eventually retire, and the franchise needs to hope that Brady can truly play at a high level into his mid-40’s as they groom a new successor.
Note: I love the New York media picking up on this ESPN hit piece, and publishing articles that it’s time for Belichick to take the Giants vacancy where he started, and to come home to New York City.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Maybe ESPN should worry about their own organizational structure, they are accusing the Patriots of having cracks in the organization, as ESPN’s own organization crumbles to the ground.