The NFL world was turned upside down right before the playoffs started. ESPN’s Seth Wickersham came out with a lengthy piece about the schism currently going on in Foxborough. For those who may have doubts about this article, remember that Wickersham is the one who reported the break between Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. With all this speculation around the future of the New England dynasty, it is the New York Jets who could come out as big winners from this Partiots’ turmoil.
There’s a few things to take from the article. Let’s rewind for a second. For the past 17-18 years, nothing has really leaked from the Patriots. They are the definition of a tightly run organization, which is of course a testament to Bill Belichick. This is what gives the story credibility. A reporter like Wickersham isn’t making this up or wouldn’t come out with a piece as detailed as this is without confirmation or talking to legit sources. Since the Patriots are a vault, it’s fair to say that all of this information comes from Belichick directly or has been approved by him.
Basically, the age of Tom Brady, his business partner/fitness guru Alex Guerrero, the future of Jimmy Garoppolo, and the loyalty of owner Bob Kraft to Brady, could mean the end of the most impressive sports run in history.
Tom Brady defines the odds. He is 40 years old, just led the NFL in passing yards, and will either win his third MVP or come in second place. The Patriots are the favorites to win another Super Bowl, which will be the sixth for Brady, extending his record for the most Super Bowl wins ever.
Brady believes he is able to play at such a high level partially because of his trainer and close friend Alex Guerrero. It seems like Guerrero doesn’t practice standard and traditional medical and football regiments. You can’t question that it’s not working for him, but every player is different. Brady is both very gifted and talented, but works extremely hard and studies like no other.
However, when it comes to Brady’s diet and workouts being the main reason why he is never injured is a little much. First, he barely gets hit, due to Belichick’s scheme, coaching, and scouting of the offensive line. Also, football has changed so much in Brady’s favor, that he doesn’t take any hits anymore. So for Belichick to pull the reigns back on Guerrero’s access to the facility is reasonable.
Tom Brady is getting a little crazy and looney. He said this year that he can avoid injuries with his brain. He sells special recovery pajamas pants for $100. Just weird stuff. Then there was a reported riff with players being pressured by Brady to go to his TB12 facilities for workouts and injury recovery. Belichick is such a military type leader and hands on, no wonder why he didn’t want to be affiliated with a trainer who is persuading his quarterback injuries are avoidable by the brain.
Belichick wanted to leave the Patriots in a great state when his time in New England was over. Even though Brady thinks he is playing forever, that isn’t going to happen. At some point, the Patriots will need a new quarterback not named Tom Brady, and Belichick wanted it be be Jimmy G.
Brady felt the pressure of this and went to Robert Kraft, who he knew had his best interests in mind over Belichick. Kraft and Brady are cut from the same cloth. Both enjoy the spotlight, are celebrities, and understand the power they yield. Belichick is happy with fishing in the offseason and isn’t going anywhere near California.
So Brady goes to Kraft, feels the pressure of Jimmy, and tells him that he has to tell Belichick to trade Jimmy to get him off his back. Belichick knows this isn’t the right decision, but he is obedient and wouldn’t go against the “Patriot Way,” a motto Belichick instilled himself.
So Belichick calls up Kyle Shanahan, the son of one of his closest friends Mike Shanahan, and says all it takes for the potential franchise quarterback he desperately needs is a second round pick. Shanahan probably couldn’t say yes fast enough. After that, Belichick’s plan is overruled, Tom Brady is happy, and Robert Kraft makes a football decision for the first time in a long time.
It is known that Belichick is never involved in the interviews and hirings of his assistant coaches. I’m sure he wishes them well and puts in a good word in, but he isn’t exactly giving them advice. It changed this year. He is prepping his defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for head coaching jobs (both have interviewed for the New York Giants job).
So Belichick is helping his guys move on, traded both his backup/young quarterbacks for 50 cents on the dollar, and caved to ownership. It seems like Belichick has seen the light out of the end of the Patriots’ tunnel.
Both New York Teams Benefit
New York Giants
This one is easier to explain but less likely. Giants fans are dreaming that Belichick resigns with the Patriots and becomes the next Giants head coach. This would have to happen in the next month, causing the Giants to wait it out. They would be betting on this to happen, since if they wait and it doesn’t happen, they are left with the bottom of the coaching barrel. With both Patricia and McDaniels on the Giants’ radar, this gets super interesting. Would McDaniels and Patricia both wait this out and possibly try to become the next Patriots coach? Whether it be this year or next.
New York Jets
One of the biggest beneficiaries of this news is Gang Green. No, Belichick or Brady aren’t leaving the Patriots to join their rival. They aren’t going to hire Patricia or McDaniels. This simply shows that the stronghold that Brady and Belichick have had on the AFC East for almost two decades is becoming looser. The end of their run is almost here, and could possibly be here as soon as next month.
The Jets are building a core, a culture, and an identity. Under the newly extended Todd Bowles and Mike Mcaggnan, the Jets are placing their faith and future into the hands of these two. Bowles may not be lively with the media, but he seems to be beloved in his locker room. Just look at this post by Leonard Williams:
For Maccagnan, this is now his biggest offseason of his Jets career. We’ve talked about this in a previous post, but the news of this Patriots turmoil only magnifies the importance of his decisions in the upcoming months. With the AFC East possibly be up the grabs, it is his job to go get a franchise quarterback, keep adding on to the core of this defense, and build a ferocious offensive line.
If the Patriots are about to fall, the Jets could absolutely rise up and be the leader in the division. Are you going to trust the inconsistent and unreliable Miami Dolphins? Yeah the Buffalo Bills are a fun story with them making the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but they don’t exactly scream powerhouse.
With news of the Patriots’ dynasty potentially coming to an end in the next month or year, the Jets now have the opportunity to build their team into a legitimate division contender.