This first observation is anecdotal and probably apocryphal, but it seems like any time I look up this football season from my work, the Patriots have 3 points. Usually that's near the end of the first half. Sometimes they get up into the 20s. If they have to get more than that, they're pretty much screwed. They needed a defensive touchdown yesterday to get back in the game and that was the only way it could have happened.
The last play of last night's game, which will go down as one of the all-time bonehead plays in NFL history, diminished only by happening in a nothing game between two nothing teams going nowhere, should be the last bit of evidence that Robert Kraft needs to see to fire Bill Belichick, clean out that staff, and start over.
He should also not lose sight that Mac Jones is a bad quarterback. You are never going to win with Mac Jones for many reasons. He has the worst arm in the league and it's not an NFL-level arm. He is a whiny, entitled bitch. He's scared of getting hit--look how frightened he was to make that tackle on said last play of the game. He can't throw to the sidelines. He's passive aggressive. He's not a leader. He's a locker room lawyer.
And yesterday's stat line was typical: 13/31 for 112 yards. How anemic is this guy? What was Mac Jones when he came along? He was better than Cam Newton who had become one of the worst quarterbacks in recent memory.
People talk about the Patriots like they were this embarrassing franchise for so long, but if you go through their history, they weren't. Look at them from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s; I believe they had the fifth best winning percentage in the league, and that was the era of the storied squads like the Steelers, Cowboys, Dolphins. The early 1990s were a down time, but the rest of the decade was a lot better than most teams had it.
There have been poor years, but on the whole, the Patriots have usually given their fans pretty good value and entertainment, and then they obviously had a twenty-year run of something that had never been done in sports before. In any North American sport. The Yankees didn't do that, the Canadiens didn't do that--not with that level of difficulty. Those other teams did a version of that when they essentially had the market cornered and ran monopolies. The NFL did everything it could to break up monopolies before they got started during that Patriots run, but it didn't matter.
Why were those Patriots so dominant for nearly two decades? They had the players. People underestimate that. Further, they had the right kind of player. Not just a highly skilled player, but a player suited for pressure situations. Money players. That's both skill and an attitude, a mindset. They were better prepared. They didn't beat themselves. They were machine-like. These were teams built around mental discipline and accountability. Every part of the game was considered and valued. Not-so-glamorous parts of the game. The quarterback represented these qualities in his singular play. At first, he was influenced by the leaders on defense. Then he influenced people himself, until he became pouty. The parting happened when it should have happened. That this is the first season Brady has been two games under .500 is among the most amazing of all statistics. That this is the first time he has lost 8 games is also nuts. It's going to be his one and only sub .500 season, too. He mistimed his exit.
The Patriots beat themselves in that Eagles Super Bowl and Belichick had a lot to do with that loss. That's where you really saw it starting to go. In the three years since Brady's departure, I think they've embarrassed themselves. The cronyism, the nepotism. The country club mentality, the cliques, the insane choices for who will play the most important position in all of sports.
Cam Newton as quarterback was the type of decision one makes while raging drunk, but then, upon sobering up, sticks with it for a more insane reason.
As for Mac Jones: How is this not obvious what he is? Look at how long the damn ball is hanging up there in the air. Time it. He throws pop-ups. And he has no positive intangibles. This is a spoiled kid who is not good enough. And the Patricia situation? That only clouds how bad Jones is, because people think in terms of "it's that guy or that guy." It's both. Patricia calls the dumb plays and it's a joke that he has that job, but we can all still see Jones throw. And his sniveling press conferences. He's weasel-y.
Jones should want the hell out of here. But he should be playing better if that's what he wants, and not coming across as a weasel, because I see a locker room cancer and if I was at another organization I wouldn't want to bring that in even if he was rocketing the ball everywhere. There's something to be said for making the best of a bad situation, and what I would say about Jones is he makes a bad situation worse. It's his play, yes, but it's also his attitude, his demeanor, his entitlement.
But as for the Patriots themselves, let's put this another way: Can you even conceive of that last play happening in 2004, 2012, 2016? It's impossible, right? The play never should have been run. Three seconds left, take a knee. These guys aren't coached hard. They're not prepared. I get that what happened on that play is on the players, because how dumb can you be? But you know what? A lot of these guys are pretty dumb. You have to coach with that understanding. (The Harrison-Law-Bruschi Patriots had a lot of smart football players, but that's partially why that might be the best bunch in NFL history.)
Why do you think Brady is so much better than everyone? He's smarter. He's not actually smart. He's comparatively smart. Brady has his own issues. If this is how it ends for him, I think he looks a little ridiculous, too. That team will make the playoffs with the worst record to ever qualify for the postseason, they will get destroyed, and it will be, "Later, Tom," and you'll then just have to read about him as a "celebrity" where you have these loser writers at loser outlets all writing the same piece about some shirt he wore or whatever.
His marriage ends, so what does he do? Exactly what you'd think he'd do: Gets the hottest woman out there, in the conventional sense, the boring sense, because she's hot.
Imagine if he, you know, took some time, grew as a person, spent a period on his own, working on himself, and didn't have this need to just have the hot woman as soon as possible? He's a shallow, sad man in many ways to me. Not a bad guy, but he has no depth. I don't take people like that seriously as humans. I mean, it's inconceivable that he wouldn't have done what he did. There was no way. What? He was going to spend three months alone? He's an appearance person. He wants things to look a certain way.
Kraft needs to be decisive. Are you going to keep Belichick around until he gets this stupid all-time wins record? What will that even mean? Because people are going to remember how he sucked for a half dozen years at the end. That will be the more lasting takeaway than the wins total. Totals are silly. They don't mean you were the best. Or they don't necessarily mean that. One pitcher in baseball has more wins than another so they're automatically better all-time? Don Sutton was better than Pedro Martinez?
It'll be interesting, because I've seen Kraft make mistakes, but he usually doesn't take a mistake and stretch it into a three-year thing. Frankly, this has been a shit show for three years, and spare me last year, because that was fake and even still it wasn't much. They were bad at the beginning, bad at the end, and in the middle they caught some depleted teams with injuries and COVID. When they fell into the playoffs, they were in no way a competitive team with any chance to do anything. They were a practice game for someone like the Bills. A tune-up game.