By Mathew Cunha,
The New England Patriots have won 15-of-17 AFC East titles, have played in six-straight conference championship games, and have won five Super Bowls since 2001. The recent article released by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported drama amongst the Patriot elites in Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick.
The drama involving Patriots former backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo had been presumed by some for weeks before the reports. Many Patriot “fan boys” seem to be ignoring and refusing the reports. That’s just ludicrous. After 16 years of freakish levels of success, inner-conflict was bound to occur.
Wickersham’s report cited that Belichick and Kraft met two weeks before the trade deadline to discuss the quarterback situation. “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.” The Patriots dealt Garoppolo to San Francisco for just a second-round pick two weeks later.
The report went on to say that Brady felt threatened by the young quarterback. When Garoppolo was injured vs. Miami in 2016, he could not get in to the TB12 facility for two weeks, claimed Wickersham. After the deal, a nameless Patriots’ staffer summed the events by saying “[Brady] won.”
If the events are true, which I believe they are, which Patriot legend is in the wrong and which is in the right? The answer is, they all wrong and right. Brady is correct in feeling threatened by Garoppolo who aimed to take his spot, but wrong in acting childish toward the young quarterback. Belichick is right in wanting to prepare for the future with Garoppolo, but wrong for not looking to obtain more for the now 7-0 Jimmy G. (Reports say Cleveland was willing to trade first rounders and even the 4th overall pick.) Kraft is right for wanting to be loyal to Brady, but wrong for getting involved in team decisions.
All three men are at fault, yet all in the right. That is what happens after 17 years of success. The success will get to people and heads will collide. What is wrong with that? Frankly, it’s quite amazing that it took this long for a conflict to rise between three of the most powerful people in football, working for the same cause.
As for what is next for the Patriots organization, you must think that despite the drama, everyone will be focused on winning their sixth Super Bowl. Could Belichick leave after the season? It wouldn’t surprise me. A new quarterback must be drafted and developed. The offensive and defensive coordinators are likely out the door, and there’s nothing left to accomplish. After Kraft clearly violated Belichick’s power, he could simply choose to walk away as the G.O.A.T.
If Belichick does walk away, Kraft and Brady would still be kicking around. The end of this crazy stretch is close to an end, and was only accelerated when the team decided to go with Brady, who will be 41 at the start of next season, over Garoppolo. The Pats screwed up the Jimmy G situation and the powers that be did not want to take the hit. The drama was bound to happen after 17 years of historic success. The fact it comes so near to the end may be their greatest feat.
Matthew Cunha is a producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.