Football Writer Predicts the Hernandez Situation Means the End of the Patriots

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National Football PostSince the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady marriage was consecrated in 2001, no NFL franchise has won more games, scored more touchdowns or appeared in as many Super Bowls as the New England Patriots. For the last 12 years, this is the organization that so many have tried to emulate, so few have successfully triumphed over. New England is the gold standard for professional football. That statement is reaffirmed every time someone makes a reference to the fact that the Patriots haven’t hoisted a Vince Lombardi Trophy since early 2005. Talk to the fans in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Buffalo.  A nine-year championship drought would be welcomed with open arms in those cities. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have won more games since 2001 than any other team in the league. However, the unfortunate reality for the Boston Strong is that for each beginning there is an end, for every peak there is a valley. People don’t live forever. At some point, the Belichick-Brady marriage will come to an end. .. This has been a troubling offseason for one of the league’s preeminent teams, rife with key personnel changes, injury concerns and off-field alarms…

[The Aaron Hernandez] story has the potential to go in a variety of directions over the next few weeks/months, but the common denominator in all of those scenarios is that Hernandez will be focusing more of his time and energy in the near future attempting to exonerate himself rather than getting his mind right for training camp. This is the type of distraction that can ooze its way around the locker room in a hurry. … New England is still in search of a reliable outside receiver, just watched their most productive pass-catcher sign on with their top rival and is left wondering whether their ultra potent 1-2 tight end punch will be healthy and/or available for the upcoming season… [H]ow much is too much? This season we just may find out.

Ho hum.  Another day, another national pundit saying the Patriots run of greatness is over.  How many does this make now?  I used to keep track but I lost count sometime around the Matt Cassel era.  But it has to be into 7 figures by now.  The Patriots are the Hyman Roth of football, they’ve been dying of the same heart attack for 35 years.  They said the Pats were finished after Lawyer Milloy got cut.  They said it when Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel left.  Or any one of about a half dozen coordinators for that matter.  They said it after Ty Law and Asante Samuel jumped ship.  They for sure said it in that 2009 year when Tedy Bruschi retired and Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel got traded.  Now they’re saying it because Welker is gone and Gronk had surgery and Aaron Hernandez might have killed a guy.  Well as Napoleon said, the cemeteries are filled with indispensable men.”  Anyone who thinks they’re going to suddenly become the Cleveland Browns because their injury prone No. 2  tight end doesn’t have a Winston Wolf in his life to take his rental car to Monster Joe’s Truck & Tow, hasn’t been paying attention all this time.  This is a team that won titles with David Patten, Jermaine Wiggins and David Givens catching balls for them.  Hell, they lost the best QB on Earth for a whole season and won 11 games. and in this whole run of success, they’ve yet to have a “distraction ooze around the locker room” even once. There might be one guy they can’t afford to lose, but it is not Aaron Hernandez, believe me.  As long as they don’t find the murder weapon in Belichick’s desk drawer, this team isn’t going away any time soon.