Ever since the infamous “Tuck Rule” of the 2001 Divisional Game versus the Oakland Raiders, the Patriots have racked up more hardware than any other football team of the 21st century, but they have also racked up almost as many haters. Since the Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft era started, the Patriots have won five Super Bowls, appeared in seven, and are perhaps on a journey for another this year.
Over the years the Patriots, or as some call them, the “Evil Empire” have had many controversial situations, with “Spy-Gate” and “Deflate-Gate.” Along with that, they have also had their Death Star blown up twice in the Super Bowl by the New York Giants. And, if you’re a Jets fan, Bill Belichick is the Emperor that turned to the Dark Side when he resigned from the Jets Head Coaching position almost immediately after becoming the Jets coach.
Over the past few weeks the Patriots have had another storyline focused around them, in which many speculated that it could be the end of the Bill Belichick era in New England.
The story starts when Belichick forced Brady to get rid of his personal trainer Alex Guerrero. Belichick reportedly had a problem with Guerrero and wanted to have complete control over Brady by making him use the team trainers. Next, it reportedly came out that Brady was aggravated with Belichick for constantly calling him out in meetings. This is something that many people admired about Belichick, that he even held the great Tom Brady accountable. Evidently though, it has gotten old to Brady and he has had enough of it. Brady probably feels that at 40 years old, everything he has done has earned him the right for respect.
The next part of this story is that Brady felt threatened by ex-backup Jimmy Garapolo and wanted him to be traded. There has been speculation that Brady went to Kraft to tell him this, but nothing has been confirmed. Garapalo, during his short time in the NFL, has shown great flashes of success when playing for New England during Brady’s suspension, and has won every game for the 49ers since being traded.
Brady may have also have been worried that Belichick may get rid of Brady within the next few years. This may seem crazy for some to fathom, but Brady is forty years old and Belichick has always said that it is better to get rid of someone a year early rather than a year late.
Since Brady wanted Garapolo to be traded, owner Robert Kraft was on the side of Brady. It is well known that Brady and Kraft have an extremely close relationship with each other, asKraft considers Brady to be a son to him. Belichick, however, did not want Garapolo traded as he believes that he can be the future quarterback of the team.
Belichick reportedly went to have a meeting with Kraft about the Garapolo situation that was initially scheduled to only last an hour. This meeting however lasted over six hours and Belichick was forced to cancel other meetings in order to fight for his case.
What is remarkable about Belichick losing this argument is that for years Belichick has been able to do whatever he has wanted, run the entire show and have his fingerprints on every single detail regarding the team all the way from the players to the ball boy (you know what I mean) and janitor. For the first time, Kraft is overruling the opinion of someone whom many consider to be the best coach in NFL history, which many consider shocking.
In the ESPN story written by Seth Wikersham, (which he reportedly has been working on for two months) he also reported that the three of these gentlemen have been in turmoil for the past few years.
Due to this controversy, many have speculated that this could be the end of the road for Belichick and the Patriots. The Patriots and Belichick, however, have released a statement saying, “For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat-out inaccurate. The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing the postseason and the opportunity to work together in the future, just as we have for the past 18 years. It is unfortunate that there is even a need for us to respond to these fallacies. As our actions have shown, we stand united.”
Sources: ESPN; The Score