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PHOENIX — For a while during Bill Belichick’s breakfast meeting with reporters at the NFL annual meeting on Monday, it was business as usual. And you can take that to mean Belichick was being as vague and uncooperative as he could muster in talking about the New England Patriots.
What went into the decision to bring back Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator?
Belichick: “I thought it was the best thing for the team.”
Why was it the best thing for the team?
Belichick: “It’s a number of reasons.”
That’s the Belichick Patriots fans have come to know and love. Until now, after all, it’s been fun watching him hold a great hand but never show his cards to those pesky reporters.
But during this 30-minute interview session, something amazing happened. Belichick suddenly went soft on us. His soul seemed to suddenly depart his body and all that was left was a weak vessel pointing to the past as a reason for future optimism.
In that moment Belichick was asked if he could say something that would give Patriots fans a reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. And he answered thusly:
“I don’t know. The last 25 years.”
Patriots Past Better Than Future
This answer, admit it or not, is a confirmation the Patriots dynasty that dominated the NFL for two decades has fallen. Because this coach for two decades dismissed all of his six Super Bowl victories the following season, saying that past success didn’t matter in the present.
What mattered was the coming season. The next championship he and his team was about to chase and often caught.
But now, with the Patriots out of the playoffs two of the last three seasons and 25-26 overall in that span, Belichick wants you to look back at the past for hope. Belichick is pointing to what he’s done to make you feel good about what his team might do.
This is strange. But it is also telling.
Firstly, the question is unprecedented in that it was even necessary. From 2001-2019 when Tom Brady was the starting quarterback, no one needed to ask Belichick if he could concoct some reason to be optimistic.
The reason was the Patriots had the best quarterback on the planet.
Mac Jones Hasn’t Been Good Enough
But now they have a guy in Mac Jones, whom Belichick admitted Monday needs to play better than he did last season.
“Well, as a team we didn’t perform very well last year,” Belichick said. “I think we all need to do a better job. It’s all of us.”
The Patriots, you must know, look now like the fourth best team in the AFC East. That’s not an issue until one realizes there are only four teams in the division.
The Bills are the three-time defending division champs.
The Dolphins continue to add oversized talent to their playoff roster, the latest being the addition of All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
And the Jets are eventually going to trade for Aaron Rodgers and are trying to add a handful of other stars.
Patriots Face Long Odds Of Winning It All
The Patriots, meanwhile, are facing 70-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl. That happens to be the longest preseason odds the franchise has faced since Belichick became coach.
And to overcome those alarming odds the Patriots answer has so far been to sign JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki and journeyman offensive tackles Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson.
This ain’t it. Belichick must know this.
On second thought maybe he doesn’t know this. The truth is Belichick has missed on quite a bit lately.
He didn’t seem to know making former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia the offensive coordinator last season would be a bad call even when the media roundly criticized it ahead of time. He didn’t seem to know DeVante Parker could not be a true No. 1 receiver when he’d never been that in Miami. He didn’t seem to know Jonnu Smith and Nelson Agholor would not live up to their free agent addition salaries.
But forget all that, Patriots fans. You’re too busy grasping onto the last 25 years as a reason to think 2023 will be good.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Over-caffeinated sports fans LOVE to see a Dynasty come to an end …… UNLESS, of course, it’s THEIR Dynasty.
Carried by Brady.