If you've been consuming the New England sports media and paying close attention for as long as I have, you realize how the game is played. There are certain ebbs and flows to the coverage. And this time of year - that last week building up to the first Patriots game - is all about trying to squeeze some drops of the hot, gooey controversy out of one of the goofiest and least consequential topics imaginable: Who got elected team captain. Or more importantly, who didn't.
Seriously, team captain elections are for people who cared about who got elected Student Body President and Senior Class Treasurer. I'm sure it's nice for Devin McCourty's family to get to see him in the middle of the field shaking hands with the other teams' captains. And there's no man on planet Earth I want calling my overtime coin flips than Matthew Slater, who's so good the world suggested his "Heads" that gave the Patriots the ball in the 2018 AFC championship game was somehow an unfair advantage the rules need to be changed. But in the big picture it's a tale told by an idiot. All sound and fury signifying nothing. I mean, there is a reason why New England is one of the very few teams that doesn't put the "C" with the stars under it on their jerseys, something Belichick has openly mocked as stupid Johnny High School stuff.
Which doesn't stop them from making it talk show fodder for days on end. In 2015, it was "Why is Ryan Wendell a captain when he doesn't even start? What does that say about Rob Gronkowski, who isn't a captain?" Then Gronk was voted in the next two years before having his captaincy "stripped" in 2018. Nate Solder had his "taken away" in 2017, which was taken as a total lack of confidence in him. And always, the suggestion is that Belichick is behind the scenes, manipulating the votes to his own evil purposes, like a less well-dressed Putin. Until some surprise happens like Elandon Roberts getting voted in last year, after the Pats had supposedly explored trades for him during the offseason. Then that was seen as the peasants revolting, or some such nonsense.
Which brings us to 2020's nothing burger the radio yobs have put bacon and cheese on and served on a brioche bun: Julian Edelman not getting voted the abstract "C". Even though he's never gotten it before. And never expressed interest. Still, this nontroversy has been treated like a slap in the face and the worst injustice since DiCaprio kept getting passed over for Oscars. So Edelman went on WEEI this morning, bared his soul and expressed the hurt, the anger, and the other hurt he's suffering through in this difficult time:
“I think leadership and all that stuff is conveyed in a whole bunch of ways,” he said. “The guys that are captains are captains for a reason. Those guys are unbelievable men. I focus a lot on what I have to do and what I have to do to prepare myself and help my teammates. I am just ready for the season.”
Oh, the humanity. Thoughts and prayers, though those don't seem to be enough when a man is suffering like this.
This is nothing. It's nothing every year. The kinds of guys who lobby to be elected captain are the last ones you want to have as captains. It's like Plato said in "The Republic," the best leaders are the ones who don't want the job. Every Patriots player who left last year has been given the "C" at their new teams, including Tom Brady, Kyle Van Noy, Roberts and Ted Karras. To go along with Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Amendola and Chandler Jones. But JE11 is only focused on winning another Super Bowl MVP. So stop wasting our time with this nonsense every September.