Logan Ryan Says Politics 'Shook the Locker Room' in NE and Things Got 'a Little Dark'

Despite being on the wrong side of history by catching Tom Brady's final pass in New England, Logan Ryan is one of the great Bill Belichick success stories. A punchline when he and Duron Harmon were both drafted in the 3rd round out of Rutgers three years after Devin McCourty was, Ryan quickly became a made man in the Scarlet Knight Mafia in the Pats secondary that became a true strength of two Super Bowl champions. Then he cashed in with a nice free agent deal with Tennessee and lasted five more years in the league.

Which makes Ryan uniquely qualified to talk about Belichick's time in Foxboro from both an insider's perspective and on the outside looking in. And so when he was asked about The Dynasty documentary on Colin Cowherd's show, it's worth hearing what he has to say. (Cued up to the 16:15 mark):

“I see kind of the turn of the political statement coming out from Bill, supporting Trump and whatnot, and he said, ‘We’re not going to talk about anybody’s own personal beliefs,' right? I saw all that kind of shook the locker room. Like, ‘Hey we don’t talk about those things.' Why are you talking about those things? ...

"When we beat New England in that game ... those are my guys. Guys I won Super Bowls with. Spent a lot of time with, on and off the field. They all seemed tired. They seemed tired. Like, when we won, I came up to shake their hands and whatnot and I'm thinking, 'Man, they just lost in Foxboro. We never lose in Foxboro. Not playoff games. They might storm the locker room.' But they just shook my hand. 'Congrats, you deserve it bro.' And I'm like, 'That's it???' They just seemed defeated. I got that sense that it had been some long years. I think it got a little dark." 

OK. Fair enough. We find ourselves stuck in a world of our own creation where politics divides everyone and everything. Workplaces. Campuses. Schools. Families. Neighborhoods. Social media. Entertainment. Pop culture. Larry David's social life:

And if a lovable, warmhearted, sentimental idealist like him can't see beyond people's philosophical differences, what chance does a football team have? 

By no means would I ever dispute what Ryan is saying here. He was in the room where it happened. He was an integral part of the team when Trump read that letter from Belichick the night before the election in 2016. They showed that moment in the documentary and made it look for all the world like that was the exact moment Belichick lost the locker room. And implied in no uncertain terms that from then on, he had a disconnect with his players. He became isolated. Aloof. Alone. That whoever wrote "no man is an island" never met 2016-19 Bill Belichick. 

Yeah, about that … 

Whatever effect Belichick breaking his own rule about not talking politics had on his team, you simply cannot argue it made his players quit playing for him. Suggesting it did - as The Dynasty does - is just revisionist history. In the four regular seasons mentioned, they went 50-14. In the three postseasons before Ryan ceremoniously ended Brady's Patriots career, they went 8-1, with three straight trips to the Super Bowl and won two rings. Immediately after that election day in 2016, they lost by a touchdown to Seattle, then won their last 10 games. A four-year stretch like that will put an otherwise average coach into the Hall of Fame. For Belichick, it was just par for his course. 

Of course you can argue he shouldn't have been inserting himself into a contentious and divisive election after demanding his players and coaches keep out of it. That he violated his own rule is not in dispute. And if you or I had been the ones keeping my opinions to ourselves, we'd have a right to be pissed. But what did those pissed off players do? Played their asses off. Battled back from a 28-3 deficit in a Super Bowl. Held the 11th highest scoring offense in history to a field goal in another. Then had the No. 1 defense in the league in 2019. That's a hell of a record for a team that's been demoralized by its coach's betrayal. If anything, it merely demonstrates how much respect they had for Belichick that they put the politics aside and played like the champions they were. And will always be. 

I'll add that I have no doubt whatsoever that Ryan's assessment of that 2019 team is 100% correct. That was a tough time to be around this organization. The Pliability War had taken its toll. Brady subsequently said he knew it was his last season in New England. He and his coach were suffering through irreconsilable differences. And as always, it was hardest on us kids. I'm sure they were all mentally burned out and "defeated" in every sense of the word after that Wild Card loss to Tennessee. But those issues had no more to do with a letter the coach read than it did the MAGA hat in the quarterback's locker or the owner's long friendship with the Commander in Chief. And for The Dynasty or a former player anyone else to insinuate it was what ended the actual Patriots Dynasty is just ignoring the facts.