The sky is falling for the Patriots. Just as people have started to come to terms with the loss to the Texans, Tom Brady is apparently taking his ball and going home. In fact, this bad news is finally enough to get Belichick’s bedrock philosophy back in vogue. Bulletin board material is here, and just in time too.
Bye Bye Brady?
Last year Tom E Curran tried to get the word out about the palace intrigue between Brady and Belichick and Kraft and Guerreo. He wasn't shocking enough, and Seth Wickersham of ESPN got all the pub instead. Curran has gone all Darth Vader and no one will stop him this time (or at least steal his story). Apparently this is Brady's final year with the Pats.
You all know who loves this: Bill Belichick. The undisputed king of bulletin board material. It's back, and just in time for the team to get rolling towards the top seed in the AFC.
The Original Motivator
Remember the halcyon days of the beginning of this Patriots dynasty? Remember when teams took the Patriots lightly? The Steelers were the masters of gifting Belichick with material to rile the troops.
During the 2001 playoffs the Steelers were happy to announce that their bags were packed for New Orleans and the Super Bowl. The Patriots walked away with a 24-17 win in the AFC Championship Game.
The media at large was enough for Belichick in the runs to the 2001 and 2003 Championships. No one gave the Patriots a chance against the Rams in 2001. The hype machine for Peyton Manning was in full force in 2003.
There was a regular cornucopia of bulletin board material. Belichick simply plucked it out of the air.
The End Of The Underdog
By the time Rodney Harrison was flapping his arms in the waning moments of the 2004 Championship against the Eagles it was clear this motivation tactic was wearing thin. The Patriots were favored in the game against the Eagles. They had to dig deep to find little used wide receiver Freddy Mitchell declaring he didn’t know the Patriots defenders’ names.
In every playoff game since, other than perhaps an AFC Championship in Denver in 2016 or in Kansas City in 2018, the Patriots have been favored. The media has begrudgingly given The Belichick’s their due. Brady is now the GOAT. Losing to the Giants in two Super Bowls wasn’t enough to knock the luster off the great and powerful Oz, uh, I mean, Patriots. Winning three Super Bowls since February of 2014 will do that.
What Is Old Is New Again
It has been distressing to see Tom Brady seemingly in total frustration on the sidelines, and try to connect the contract dots that lead to an end to this Patriots era. To see no replacement for Gronk, and an often injured Julian Edleman double teamed every time. It looks like the Patriots offense is slipping, from offensive line to the wideouts to the coaches calling the plays.
However, right now there is an opportunity Belichick has been looking for. For the first time this year, the Patriots are starting to be overlooked. Most are saying they will likely lose to the Ravens in the AFC Championship at best. This is despite the team being 10-2, and Belichick will put it to maximum use. Need to break through to an aloof and combative Brady, a sputtering offense, or a beyond shaky kicking situation? No problem.
The Road Ahead
The Patriots sit at 10-2, second place in the AFC to the Ravens due to a tiebreaker. The Patriots have the Chiefs ahead tomorrow. If Brady truly is mad about his contract he has a soft defense and hobbled Mahomes to pummel for a contract drive. After that the Patriots can reassert their dominance over the Buffalo Bills.
With bulletin board material at his back, Belichick will be hunting down the Ravens for the Number 1 seed in the AFC. The Coach just got his secret weapon back. The rest of the league will see it soon enough.
Featured Image via Heavy.com