Jeffri Chadiha ESPN.com – When the good times end in the very near future, New England Patriots fans will remember this week as a turning point. They will look at Tom Brady’s decision to restructure his contract as the first indication that this team isn’t as talented as it once was. They also will see that AFC Championship Game loss to Baltimore as additional evidence of an overrated franchise. Worst of all, they will see that their team’s real dominance ended about five years ago. Everything since that point has been misleading… You could see the frustration in Brady’s eyes as the Ravens whipped New England in the second half of that conference title game. This wasn’t the team he was used to leading. It didn’t even look as if it deserved to be within one game of another Super Bowl. It was apparent in that moment that the Patriots had to improve their roster if they wanted to challenge for another championship. Brady seemed to acknowledge that when he reworked his contract… he had to create opportunities for Belichick to add more playmakers to the roster. New England had gone far too long relying on Brady to carry an offense filled with largely marginal talent… At some point, all great players can see whether they’re playing on a team that has the goods to win a championship or are merely on a respectable contender… Unfortunately for New England fans, it’s hard to see anything more than that before Brady eventually calls it a career.
I have no idea what a Jeffri Chidiha is. And I acknowledge he’s trolling like a bastard here and I’d probably be wise to just carefully step over this steaming pile he left on the sidewalk and go about my day. But then again, answering misinformed assclowns like this guy IS my day. Plus, everyone’s talking about it. So if he wants to play, I’ll play.
Let’s start with the obvious: The Patriots are the only team in all of sports held up to this standard. Every year they’re in contention for a title. But any time they don’t win one, it’s never treated like they didn’t play well enough, that they flat out got beat by a hot team or even that they’re flawed and need to get better. Instead, it’s always the end of the world. It shows that Belichick doesn’t have an eye for talent and forgot how to coach. It’s an indictment of their system; that they’re too cheap to sign good players. Or worse: It’s proof that they were never really that good and only won titles because of bad calls (Tuck Rule) and cheating (Spygate). Believe me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Let the Jets or Atlanta or whomever lose the Conference Championship and call it a great year. That doesn’t fly around here.
But beyond that, there’s just too many specious arguments here to know where to go next. He says Brady is surrounded by “largely marginal talent.” That would be Gronk, Hernandez, Welker, Ridley (7th in the league in rushing) and an O-line that produced 80 more points than the No. 2 offense in the league. He suggests Gronk can’t stay healthy because he spends too much time going Shirtless O’Clock in clubs, but fails to mention he got hurt being a good teammate, blocking on an extra point and laying out to make a catch. He argues Belichick has let the defense go all to hell, but ignores the fact that he spent the entire 2012 draft bolstering it, including moving up twice in the 1st round and that they had 3 rookie starters. He claims you need a dominant D to win a title but doesn’t mention that Baltimore’s was only marginally better than the Pats and actually gave up more points. Or that New England was 2nd in the league in turnovers. Mostly his argument seems to be that they’re a team that’s reached the end of the road but ignores the fact that this is the youngest roster of the Bradichick Dynasty and the defense is the youngest by a full year.
Of course we all know that they need to play better in crunch time to get Lombardi IV. But anyone who’s paying attention can see the pieces are in place to keep this run going indefinitely. I guess when you’re ESPN.com there’s no reason to let the facts get in the way of a good story. @JerryThornton1
Author’s Note: From that middle school lady killer Dave posted yesterday to this Silver Fox? Aging like a fine wine…