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Even Being 6-0 Can't Stop the Patriots Derangement Syndrome and Terrible Media Coverage.

I went away for the holiday weekend, safe in the knowledge that I left the Patriots in good hands. They’re 6-0. They were coming off a convincing 21-point win on Thursday Night Football. On a short week. In terrible weather. Albeit a little banged up, but with 11 days to get ready for their next game and a bye week coming soon. They’ve beaten the only legit challenger they’ll have in AFC East, on the road, which is a big deal. They lead the league in Most Points Scored and Fewest Points Allowed, for a +142, which is 59 more than the next best team. Belichick was giving game balls to Brady, who was telling his team he loves them.

All was well. So I thought I could fall off the grid somewhat, and go visit my kid in Morgantown for the Iowa State-WVU game.

Just as importantly, to make a pilgrimage to the holy site that is the Don Knotts shrine. Since in my Massachusetts Court Officering days, Barney Fife was my Spirit Lawman.

Me & Don Knotts

I might go my whole life without visiting the Statue of Liberty, but I can now meet my Creator in peace knowing I visited this one.

Anyway, with respect to pro football, I figured if there was one team that was in good hands when I left, it was the undefeated defending Super Bowl champions. But once again I underestimated the power of Patriots Derangement Syndrome.

First there was this collection of articles on the home page of the company I was working for three years ago:

Patriots Derangement

Then this, from John Henry’s Boston Globe:

It has become a postgame parlor game, reading the mood and meaning behind Tom Brady’s every utterance, facial twitch, or hesitation when he answers questions about the state of the offense. … Instead of focusing on Brady’s thinly-veiled attempts to contain his frustration with a compromised passing game the focus should be on the source of said frustration — the fact that the wide receiver position has been mismanaged by the team for the past two years. …

From a micro standpoint, it’s easy to focus on the dissatisfaction of the fabled franchise quarterback despite a 6-0 record. But the macro issue of mishandling the wideout inventory to put him in this discontented position is the more relevant discussion. You don’t have to be Tacko Fall tall to see the big picture here. The revolving door of retreads, rookies, reclamation projects, or last resorts at wide receiver over the past two seasons has taken its toll on Touchdown Tom. …

This is where Patriots propagandists point out that the team allocated a first-round pick to helping Brady, drafting wide receiver N’Keal Harry, the first wideout taken in the first round by Belichick in his illustrious tenure in Fort Foxborough. Even that had a tinge of exigency over erudition.

Call me what you will but … I, um … what the hell? What am I arguing against? Which alliteration am I supposed to address? Whether fabled franchise QB Touchdown Tom has a revolving door of retreads, rookies, reclamation projects and last resorts at receiver thanks to Fort Foxborough but Patriots Propagandists are guilty of exigency over erudition? Who the fuck writes like this? Did Christopher Gasper get bitten by a radioactive Rick Reilly?

I don’t know if Belichick is guilty of exigency or erudition at the wide receiver spot. And I don’t feel like checking my dictionary app to find out. What I do know is this is the same plastic container of argumentative leftovers the haters have had in the fridge for 20 years, warmed up in the microwave and served as a Hot Take.

And as a comeback, I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying since they first won a Super Bowl with Troy Brown (an 8th round pick who was cut a half dozen times) and David Patten (undrafted out of Western Carolina). And later David Givens (7th rounder), Julian Edelman (7th round) and Danny Amendola (undrafted). That wide receiver is not just the most overvalued position in football, it’s the single most overrated position in all of sports. And it’s not even close. As much as we’re all addicted to furiously pleasuring ourselves over the memories of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Brady produced 14 points in the Super Bowl That Shall Not Be Named I. And 28 points against the best defense of its generation, the Legion of Boom throwing to Edelman and Amendola. And 34 points against Atlanta throwing to those two, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell without Rob Gronkowski.

Simply put, quarterbacks make receivers, not the other way around. Otherwise Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have thrown three picks last week and produced three points the week before.

Second, this is exactly the kind of disingenuous rubbish the Boston media has been filling landfills with during this era of unprecedented, sustained excellence. Belichick the GM isn’t helping Belichick the coach. Or his quarterback. He neglected the wide receiver position yet again. He hasn’t [altogether now] … given Touchdown Tom enough weapons.

This of course ignores the fact that GM Belichick has spent draft capital on surrounding Brady with talent like a Drexel professor spending grant money at a nudie bar. You can just dismiss N’Keal Harry because he’s injured (And back on the practice field as of today), no matter how many Word of the Day Desk Calendar pages you use. As the article mentions, yes he traded Brandin Cooks last year. For the 23rd overall pick. Which they used on Isaiah Wynn, who’s job is to [altogether again] … protect Brady, which is also supposed to be a priority. They then used the 31st pick on a power running back, to [one more time] … take some pressure off of Brady.

But that doesn’t matter at a time like this. Nor does the fact that two of the top three veterans on the depth chart are injured. Of course the receiver corps looked like garbage in the 2nd half Thursday night. Phillip Dorsett didn’t dress due what they’re calling a minor hamstring pull. Josh Gordon messed up his lower leg making a tackle on a fumble. Both are physically gifted, experienced wideouts with proven track records of producing in this offense.

Who did you expect would come off the bench when two of their starters and their No. 1 rookie go down to injuries? Jarvis Landry and OBJ? Sometimes you hit the bottom of your depth chart. And sometimes you find yourself relying on undrafted receivers like Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers to win games for you. The same way you won Super Bowls in the past.

As far as WEEI’s weird heel turn toward irrational negativity goes, I have no explanation. But it’s typical of the media across the board right now. The Patriots haven’t played anybody and they actually suck only our audience is too stupid to recognize it yet. Which is ironic since last year, when they were beating playoff teams like Houston, Chicago, Indy and Kansas City on the way to 11-5, these same people were breaking out that old Bill Parcells chestnut, “You are what your record says you are.” Now when you say “Well, they’re 6-0,” all you hear is “The record doesn’t count.” Which Parcells never said.

The bottom line is this latest outbreak Patriots Derangement Syndrome continues to spread. I’d rather go back to a fun college town, enjoy DI football and visit the sacred holy places of my heroes. But I have no choice but to come back here and fight this terrible pandemic. And also, alliteration. With exigency and erudition.