A Poll of NFL Insiders Proves People REALLY Hate the Patriots Roster

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

For as long as I've been working here - since the days when I and the other Barstool writers were writing our columns on Smith-Caronas and placing them in a rider's satchels to be delivered to Dave Portnoy's girlfriend's parents' home to be put into print - the debate has raged as to who is a bigger failure, GM Bill Belichick or HC Bill Belichick. Just not among us, who thought the idea that one of them was the Gollum to the other's Smeagol was sheer fucking lunacy, given his incredible success. 

Those early days were a long time ago, obviously. And in the almost two decades since, all the man has done is pile more success onto that early success. Went to an unthinkable eight straight conference championship games. Built Super Bowl teams. Mulitple Super Bowl winners. Climbed to the top of the all time coaching wins list. Lost the greatest player in league history, rebuilt, and got back to the playoffs. So you'd think at some point, the debate would be moot. 

But you'd be wrong. It still rages on to this day. And on this particular day, it would appear that the half of this one-man Dynamic Duo that's taking the heat at the moment is GM Bill. At least if you go by his oldest and most hated nemesis, ESPN. 

The World Wide Leader (paywall) is celebrating List Season by ranking the Top 10 players in the NFL at every position on offense and defense. Now, to be fair, this is not their list. This was a survey of "more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players." So 10 players at 22 positions means 220 names in all. And as a reminder, just so we're clear on the concept, this isn't listing the best, it's the best 10. So a rounding error from being just the upper third in the league. If this was academics, we'd be talking about the kids with GPAs of 3.0 or better.

And with that low standard, the Patriots have exactly one player out of those 220. This guy:

And Hunter Henry is the 10th best among tight ends. So the bottom of the list, like a middle reliever getting named to the All Star roster as his team's token representative. 

Not getting anyone besides Henry to crack the Top 10 at any position is an absolute slap in GM Bill's boyishly handsome, smiling face. A true indictment of the job they think he's doing, mere months after he won Executive of the Year. 

I get that the 2022 Patriots aren't loaded with All Pros. But to say that Trent Brown is not a Top 10 right tackle, David Andrews is not an upper-third center, Damien Harris isn't single digits in the running back rankings:

… and Matt Judon isn't in the 33rd percentile (if that's how that works; I've never been sure), is a traveshamockery. And I haven't even mentioned the second best player of the Dynasty Era, who put together one of his best seasons last year:


All of which is not meant to come off like I'm complaining, because I'm not. On the contrary. I welcome it. The rock upon which this Dynastic Church was built is exactly this sort of low regard for the talent level on the roster. From the time they came out of the tunnel as huge underdogs against The Greatest Show on Turf demanding to be announced as a team, to all those ways true greats like Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy and Rodney Harrison would find some perceived sign of disrespect and refine it into jet fuel to power a vendetta against the world, to all those great offenses that had no Pro Bowlers other than Brady, this rampant disregard is exactly the kind of Bulletin Board fodder this team welcomes. 

GM Bill doesn't mind any more than HC Bill does. As Herb Brooks puts it when Craig Patrick tells him he's missing the best players, "I'm not looking for the best players, Craig, I'm lookin' for the right ones." Kiss the rings, 50 NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players.