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Gronk Goes All Out to Set the Record Straight on Belichick's Legacy: 'Without Him, None of This Was Possible.'

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I want to be done with the anti-Belichick propaganda that was AppleTV's The Dynasty. Honestly, I want to forget it ever wasted 10 hours of my life on this joyless, depressing, desultory, sports documentary equivalent of a campaign attack ad. And fill those synapses in my brain with something more worthy of them. Like the names of all the Japanese characters in Shogun or what happened on the last season of Cobra Kai

But every time I'm out on The Dynasty, they pull me back in. Specifically, when Bill Belichick's former players start denouncing the series for casting him - and all they accomplished together - in such a negative light. First Julian Edelman criticized the tone of the the show. Next it was the safeties who captained the defenses of five different Super Bowl teams:

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And now, perhaps even more significantly, Rob Gronkowski has added his 69 cents worth to the discussion:

Source - As a guest on the latest episode of MassLive’s “Eye on Foxborough” podcast, Rob Gronkowski praised his former coach at length and lamented Belichick leaving New England.

“It was very sad to see Coach Belichick go, because there wouldn’t have been a dynasty, there wouldn’t have been 20-plus years of a winning culture in New England without Coach Belichick,” Gronkowski said. “He set the standard. Coach Belichick was the standard. Without him, none of this was possible. There’s no doubt about that. To see him go was sad. I mean, I had a tear. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today. …

Despite any friction he may have felt with Belichick, Gronkowski said he wouldn’t change a thing about his Patriots career.

“Absolutely not. I needed that type of experience,” Gronkowski said. “I’m so glad I went to the New England Patriots. That fit my lifestyle. That fit my culture. It fit who I am as a person. I believe that I was (destined) to go to the New England Patriots as well. I would not change my first nine years of being with the New England Patriots. I was open arms welcomed by all the New England fans. No doubt about that. They loved me. I loved the fans up there. I loved the culture up there. I love the Boston culture. Boston Strong culture. Just everything about it (embodied) what I represent. It was just an amazing time. All the championships won.

“I kind of needed that structure as well in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am right now to this day without Coach Belichick being tough on myself and helping me get to the next level at practice or in a game. So I would never, ever, ever change a thing.”

I say this is more significant than the others because next to Danny Amendola, who achieved Asante Samuel levels of bitterness toward the man who signed him in 2013 over the objections of the entire Boston media and put him in a position where he could live in the area and meet former Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo, Gronk came across as the second most negative among Belichick's former players. Owing mainly to the way the two butted heads over Alex Guerrero during the Pliability War that raged from 2017-19. Which was fine. Gronk saw benefit in the advice he was getting from Tom Brady's masseuse/business partner/life coach. Belichick was head of an organization paying a training staff $2 million who wanted Gronk to keep doing squats against his and Guerrero's wishes. Conflict is inevitably going to ensue. Alphas are gonna alpha. 

But what we got in the documentary was none of this sentiment from Gronk. And it's going to take a lot to convince me that he sat down for a lengthy interview (Harrison said his lasted as long as six hours) and didn't utter one positive thing. Not a word along the lines of:

  • "Coach Belichick was the standard."
  • "Without him, none of this was possible." 
  • "I would not change my first nine years of being with the New England Patriots." 
  • "It was just an amazing time." Or 
  • "I wouldn't be where I am right now to this day without Coach Belichick being tough on myself."

Or, much more likely, Gronk - plus Edelman, McCourty, Harrison and the others - said these things. A lot of these things. And those parts of the interviews ended up on the editing bay floor. Because the intention was never to do a fair and accurate series about the greatest sports dynasty of modern times. It was the intention all along to make this a story about … something else.

What that editorial intent was, your guess is as good as mine. Is it meant to be a cautionary tale about blind ambition? The dangers of hubris? Winning at all costs? The abuse of power? The negative affects of arrogance? All I know of sure is that the producers found their villain. And the people who really know the man and appreciate all he did for them resent the way he was protrayed. And, in McCourty's words, feel "duped" after taking part in what turned out to be nothing less than character assassination. 

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I imagine we'll be hearing more from the others who appeared on camera distancing themselves from this thing. And I hope the Krafts are among them. It's impossible to watch The Dynasty, then see how Patriots fans are reacting to it, and not be reminded of that hit piece that appeared in The Boston Globe (written by Bob Hohler, who was also in this doc) that smeared Terry Francona when he left the Red Sox under the best possible terms in 2011. All that article did was make fans even more loyal to Tito and breed resentment toward ownership for planting the story. No one really has any idea how much involvement the Krafts had in the production and editing of The Dynasty. But now would be the perfect time to express their objections to the way it came out, the way some of the best players in franchise history have. 

Because I say again, Bill Belichick does not deserve this treatment.