Stop me if you’ve heard this one already.
Bill Belichick has gone out of his way to take down the greatest dynasty not just in professional football, but in professional sports, when he let Tom Brady walk away in free agency and sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Letting Brady walk is just as devastating as benching Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl 52, and now the New England Patriots will enter the 2020 season with no quarterback, and a coach with an ego too big for the franchise. Without Tom Brady on the roster the Patriots will be lucky to win five games this season, and whether Pats Nation wants to admit it or not, the Patriots are going to suck this year, and it wouldn’t surprise anybody if Belichick is secretly tanking for Trevor Lawrence. Yep, Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have let their pettiness and cheapness get in the way of a seventh Super Bowl trophy, and when this season concludes, it will be obvious to anybody watching that Belichick has been exposed for who he is, one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of the NFL who couldn’t do it without Tom Brady.
Have you heard any or all of this, sometime throughout this offseason?
Of course you have, and so has Belichick and the rest of the Patriots, and you would be fooling yourself if you don’t believe that the coach will make sure everybody in the locker room knows the narrative, even if they had done everything they could do to ignore it.
“With Tom Brady leaving the Patriots this offseason, it leaves many in doubt of what New England can do moving forward”....“But that kind of talk will just motivate the Patriots”.... “With so many talented players on the roster, saying the Patriots will not be as good without Brady is a slap in the face to his former teammates that work hard day in and day out to perform at a high level, sometimes at a higher level than Brady”.... (The Patriots players will be) motivated as ever to prove to everyone that Tom Brady was not the sole reason for the New England Patriots' success over the past two decades. They still have the greatest head coach of all time and a lot of elite talent throughout the roster”.
So now, stop me if you have ever heard this one before: The New England Patriots are going to play the 2020 season with a chip on their shoulder.
I don’t think it comes as a shock to anybody that Belichick will use Brady to fire up the Patriots and try to fuel their season. We already started to hear the stories of Julian Edleman putting in the work and feeling extra motivated because of the narrative it was Brady who made him good, and the squirrel who’s only played with the goat, is ready to show he can play with the Stidham.
I’m sure every defensive player on the Patriots roster, who knows that it was the defense that dragged them to the playoffs. I’m sure Dont’a Hightower, Stephon Gilmore, and the McCourty twins, are looking at the final 13-3 score of Super Bowl 53, and are thinking, that game was because of Tom Brady?
Tom Brady’s free agency dominated headlines in March and beyond. Just on Tuesday, my Twitter timeline was full of pictures of Brady in his Buccaneers uniform, and I didn’t understand why Patriots fans felt so compelled to keep sharing the picture, I don’t ever remember one person sharing a picture of Jameis Winston. But while the rest of us were consumed with Tom Brady the Tampa Bay Buccaneer, the actual New England Patriots were getting ready for their new era. Oh… and for the people who are going to argue with me that “Tom Brady is still a Patriots, he’ll always be a Patriot”, that’s a nice sentiment, but he’s not, he plays for Tampa Bay, that means he’s not a Patriot… I can’t figure out why that’s so hard to understand. You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, do you cheer for the name on the front or the name on the back, because I know damn well that I’m cheering for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, not the Buccaneers.
Throughout this whole thing, a lot of people forgot that Devin McCourty was a free agent this season, and even though some people think that he was at home stressing about what Tom Brady would do, he was actually worried about his own free agency, and then once he was signed, he got excited for New England’s quarterback room, but also realizes that football is a T-E-A-M sport and it takes every person in the locker room to win a championship.
"I honestly didn't think twice about Tom Brady's free agency, because I was a free agent,".... "I'm excited for that quarterback room, I think they're itching. You get an opportunity to go out there and compete, that's what we all want. I think for us as players at other positions, we need to focus on what we have to do. Not fall into the trap of the media, like everybody worried about the quarterback room. We just control what we can control and the rest will take care of itself."
I laughed as I read this, because I know that there are Tom Brady fans seething that McCourty didn’t care about Brady’s free agency, that perhaps McCourty feels confident enough in his team’s ability, that he believes that the Patriots are good enough to win without Brady.
I have no idea how the Patriots are going fair this season, I don’t have to be as confident about the team as the players, because I’m not actually the one playing the game. But, I’m more than okay with New England playing with the chip on their shoulder, it would also bring me great pleasure to see the Patriots win without Brady, not just to stick it to other teams fans, but the “fans”, and I use that word loosely, inside of Pats Nation, who are down on the team, and ignoring the potential they have this season.