I have been forced out of my blogging silence and back into the fray due to ESPN and their septic tank of an article. A piece loaded with out of context quotes from “unnamed Patriots staffers”, copious speculation and flat out bologna (pardon my language).
Broadly, the media traction which the article has garnered, largely due to prior relationships between the Patriots and ESPN’s roll Deflategate and their poor journalism, has lead to many more speculative articles. All of them citing an article, which for all intents and purposes could have been initially written on actual feces.
Since the ESPN article has no real sources or quotes, I think my counter blog here has equal weight and validity and should be taken as seriously, if not more seriously than ESPN’s article, as long as I use more unnamed sources and have a hotter take.
As the title suggests, the article is centered around the idea that Brady, Belichick, and Kraft will not be around forever and that the end is closer than you think.
Their basis for these allegations is at best laughable and at worst carcinogenic to the poor readers at home. Anything bolded below is a direct quote from the ESPN article and may or may not be cancer-causing and/or vomit inducing.
1. The release of The TB12 Method signaled that Brady’s character had changed, in large part due to his longtime personal trainer, business partner and godfather to his children Alex Guerrero. Belichick’s rescinding of Guerrero’s access to the team was proof that Guerrero’s relationship with Brady was straining his relationship with Belichick. The subsequent tearing of Edelman’s ACL lead to: “New players felt the surest way to earn Brady’s trust was to join Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and others by seeking advice from Guerrero at his TB12 clinic — and not team doctors, which Belichick preferred” (you know, instead of playing well on the football field).
It continues to blow my mind that anyway reads this article and goes “Wow. That was a well researched, heavily fact-based piece of writing that makes me think something is wrong with the Patriots organization.” Speculating that players thought the best way to find chemistry with BRADY ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD was to go see HIS PERSONAL TRAINER is fucking insane. How do you publish that? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the best way to be Brady’s #1 receiver is TO PLAY FOOTBALL WITH HIM A LOT AND BE GOOD AT IT.
Are you seriously trying to tell me, ESPN, that Dwayne Allen hasn’t been getting as many receptions as Gronk because he’s not going to Alex Guerrero? Can we assume that all the players who aren’t integral to the offense aren’t going to Guerrero? BRADY IS MAKING ACTIVE ON-FIELD, IN GAME DECISIONS CRITICAL TO WINNING FOOTBALL GAMES to not throw to people BASED ON THEIR PERSONAL TRAINER.
2a. “Belichick drafted Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois — the first sign that Belichick was invested in a future that did not include the quarterback who had changed his life and legacy”
I’ll just leave this here:
Does this mean when Belichick drafted Jacoby Brissett he was investing in a future that didn’t involve Jimmy G? How about when he drafted Ryan Mallett and Zac Robinson and Kevin O’Connell and Matt Cassel and Kliff Kingsbury? Belichick does what he feels is best for the team. Simply drafting a QB is not a sign that Brady is being phased out.
2b. “In beating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, the two men drew strength from different touchstones. Belichick found virtue in his idea of the Patriot Way — the demanding, football-first culture with an emotionless pursuit of victory — and Brady found virtue in his Method, which he believed helped him thwart the inevitability of time, reinforcing his belief that he was still not on the downside of his career and deserving of a new contract”
Yawn. Literally, no way to know this. 100% speculation and 100% false.
2c. Brady’s two-year contract, with a $28 million signing bonus, was designed to set up 2018 as a key year, when the team could, in theory, look at a 41-year-old Brady and his $22 million cap hit and decide if it made sense to transition to Garoppolo.
Given that Tom Brady was the #1 overall QB in the NFL when he negotiated this contract, coming in at 14th highest paid at his position, sandwiched between Matt Ryan (RIP) and Ryan “Fucking” Tannehill seems like a pretty good deal for the team regardless of their future plans. Spare me this idea that the contract was designed just in case Garopollo panned out.
3. But several players told staffers and coaches that Guerrero gave them the impression that Belichick would no longer allow them to work with him. In the view of many Patriots, it was an example of Guerrero trying to split the organization by turning players against Belichick.
Many Patriots? Could you give us names please, ESPN? You can’t just cite conversations you have no evidence of happening and then reference the feelings of players with respect to the conversations you just made up. Lies and tomfoolery aside, I can’t believe anyone is entertaining an idea that a non-Patriots player would have any sway, whatsoever, to essentially incite a coup against Belichick. You know, the man WHO ACTUALLY EMPLOYS THEM AND CAN CUT THEM AT ANY TIME. But by all means, I’m sure players were willing to leave their NFL careers to make a statement about which personal trainer they wanted to work with.
4. Brady all of a sudden can’t handle getting criticism from Belichick publicly, cause he’s old now or something.
Quoting this was going to be annoying so you’ll have to go wade through Mr. Wickersham’s diarrhea to find it. This is again, ridiculous, factless, speculation that makes no sense. We have heard for the better part of 2 decades two things: Brady is an incredibly driven, self-critical perfectionist and this plays great with Belichick’s coaching style. Spare me a formal investigation if I don’t believe that all of sudden Brady thinks he’s perfect and doesn’t like it when Big Bad Belichick wags his finger at him in front of the 20-somethings.
5. “Atypically, he has missed a lot of practices and, in the team’s private evaluations, is showing the slippage of a 40-year-old quarterback even as he is contending for MVP and is as deadly as ever with the game on the line.”
Contradiction much? This sentence has as much credibility as the entire article itself. So what you’re saying is these private team evaluations, which are apparently not private given that you’ve been made privy to them, show that Brady is slipping, despite the fact that he’s an MVP candidate AKA one of the top performing players in the league and still the most clutch player in the league. Got it. Definitely, don’t want that guy on my team.
6. “Brady has noted to staff a few times this year that, no matter how many game-changing throws he makes, Belichick hasn’t awarded him Patriot of the Week all year.”
This right here may be the most damning sentence in the entire article. A man who has based his entire career off of winning Super Bowls and playoff games is frustrated enough to vent to “staff” that he hasn’t been named Patriot of the Week all year?! I’ve literally never heard of Patriot of the Week until right now because it means diddly squat.
7. “The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.”
First of all, the reasons remain unclear because he has no credible sources and no idea what his stubby, grease covered fingers are producing as he absentmindedly pounds his keyboard. Secondly, these were rejected because Jimmy G wants to be a starter NOW and as I’ve referenced in previous points, the QB market is insane right now. Yee and Garoppolo both knew Brady is going to play for another 4 years and there’s no reason a young stud like Jimmy G should be relegated to the bench during prime years of his career when he could be commanding big time money as a starter.
Brady and Garoppolo share an agent and you can’t figure out why Yee might have knowledge about Brady’s timetable and Garoppolo’s career desires and earning potential that would lead him to reject offers that would be ridiculously low for a starting QB of his caliber?
8. “According to staffers, the meeting [with Kraft] ran long, lasting half the day and pushing back Belichick’s other meetings. The office was buzzing. The meeting ended with a clear mandate to Belichick: trade Garoppolo because he would not be in the team’s long-term plans, and then, once again, find the best quarterback in the draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches: He did his job.“
Since, once again, Wickersham offers no quotes, names or credible sources let me put a different perspective on this meeting. “After months of courting Garoppolo, unsuccessfully and countless rejected long-term offers, the GM and HC Bill Belichick met with owner Bob Kraft to discuss the future of their budding young QB. After avoiding trading Garoppolo in the offseason, with the hopes of holding on to him and building the franchise in a post-Brady era, Belichick and Kraft finally came to terms with the fact that Garoppolo was going to start in 2018, even if it meant leaving the team that had already given him so much. The Browns front office is a trainwreck (see the botched AJ McCarron trade) and Belichick and Kraft’s mutual respect for Garoppolo eliminated the Browns as a potential landing spot. Hoping the prodigal son might one day return to the Patriots, Belichick saw an opportunity in the struggling 49ers franchise. 49ers GM John Lynch had already inquired about trading for either Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, much to his chagrin, so Belichick was certain he would be able to get a reasonable return on investment. With a heavy heart, Belichick agreed to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for a 2nd round pick, keeping Garoppolo out of the conference, hopeful he might one day return to the team that started his career.”
I like my narrative better and since Wickersham and I have the same unnamed sources and facts, I have to believe my narrative is far closer to reality than his. Also, I used hyperlinks. Bitch.
9. “And he [Kraft] stood by Brady during Deflategate, even after he backed down and accepted the NFL’s penalty. Kraft did so even though many staffers in the building believed there was merit in the allegation, however absurd the case.”
No one in the Patriots organization believed the allegations. No one who understands PV=nRT believed the allegations. I find it interesting there are no PSIs being reported after the bitterly cold Week 17 bout against the Jets. I digress.
10. ESPN is a failing company creating controversy where there is none in the hopes that poorly written, poorly sourced, click-bait articles will be enough to keep their shitty organization afloat. To call this shoddy piece of garbage journalism is a discredit to actual journalists who write based on facts and reality. About 95% of this article is speculation and the other 5% comes from “unnamed sources,” “people close to the situation,” and “staffers” or “staff”. After the horrendous reporting from ESPN which directly lead to Deflategate, I’m quite shocked anyone within the Patriots would want to speak to a senior writer from ESPN or even be allowed to speak with him.
Suck my balls ESPN. Get real sources and a writer who’s not looking to push some nonsense to get his name in the press before his book drops.
Yes, eventually Brady, Belichick, and Robert Kraft will ride off into the sunset leaving me to reminisce about watching the most dominant NFL franchise in the Super Bowl Era. But that time is not now and not nearly as close as this jamoke paints it to be. I have to believe that the class, respect, loyalty, and humility with which these men have carried themselves these past 18 years will continue, even as they pass the torch and move on in life.