Bill Belichick did NOT like this strange question about his relationship with Tom Brady & Alex Guerrero. pic.twitter.com/3pLZ8X3Iak
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) December 20, 2017
It’s always fascinated me how a cottage industry has sprung up out of all the success the Patriots have had: Brady-Belichick “Rift” Conspiracies. It’s more than a hobby for some. It’s more like a pastime. A way of life, like dumbass theories are to Alex Jones.
And “Rift” talk is a time-honored tradition around here. Going back at least as far as Belichick releasing Lawyer Milloy five days before the 2003 season. But extending through the Deion Branch trade. The 2006 season when Brady’s leading “weapon” was Reche Caldwell. Into Spygate. The trade of Richard Seymour. Vince Wilfork’s contract beef. Drafting Jimmy Garoppolo. The Logan Mankins trade. The Mona Lisa Vito press conference when Belichick [cliche warning] threw him under the bus. Just dozens of examples the Rifties have pointed to as evidence that Brady is hacked off at Belchick and probably wants out of New England or is about to retire in disgust.
The latest “rift” is outlined by this The Boston Globe piece about Alex Guerrero. Essentially, Brady’s health, diet and pliability guru and the driving force behind his TB12 Center business was allowed to travel with the Patriots and be on the sidelines when he was merely treating Brady. But now that he’s taken on growing number of Pats players as clients, Belichick saw his presence as a distraction and revoked his privileges:
For reasons he has declined to explain, Belichick weeks ago stripped Guerrero of his special team privileges, restoring a measure of tradition to the team’s medical and training operation, according to several people familiar with the Patriots’ internal operations.
Guerrero is now banned from boarding Patriots jets. His sideline access has been revoked. And he no longer is permitted to treat players other than Brady in his exclusive office at Gillette Stadium. …
When Brady was asked Monday during his regular weekly appearance on WEEI about a possible rift between Belichick and Guerrero, he said, “I don’t have any comment on that other than to say Alex … has been a huge, huge reason why I’m still playing” at age 40. …
Belichick indicated to the team’s medical and training staff at the time that his hands were tied because of Brady’s special status with the franchise, according to a source with direct knowledge of Belichick’s exchange with the staffers. The source said Belichick told those who complained about Guerrero: Tom wants him. What am I supposed to do?
By this season, however, TB12’s client list has grown to include most of the Patriots roster – a unique arrangement in the National Football League. …
Internal observers believe that restricting Guerrero’s operations in the stadium might reduce some tension in the workplace.
Naturally with no one talking about it, the conspiracy theorists are filling the blank canvas with the usual oil colors of bad blood, paranoia, anger, resentment and talk about how this is the end for Bradichick. That Guerrero is more than his personal trainer, he’s his Yoda. His spiritual and emotional mentor and Brady won’t want to play without him. And once again, I’ll stick to my default setting of not buying it.
I don’t doubt the facts in The Globe article. (Even though it’s by Bob Hohler, who did the hatchet piece about Brady stealing money from special needs kids.) I’m just refuse to take the ridiculous leap of illogic that because Brady can’t have his buddy around that he’s miserable now and he and his coach are heading for couple’s counseling. Sorry, but I’ve been hearing this same bullshit in one form or another for at least 15 years and all these two have done is work brilliantly together.
One of the great, underappreciated aspects of Brady is how he respects the chain of command. He’s never once put himself above the team. Whether it’s sitting in meeting rooms getting shredded for missing a throw to not demanding he be the highest paid player in football. He makes sacrifices because he knows Belichick will put him in position to win. We have no reason to think this decision by the Hooded One will be received any different.
And let’s just say he really is irreconcilably pissed, the Rifties are right and this is going to end badly – something I don’t think but just for the sake of discussion – well then, tough. Belichick has games to win. A sideline to run. And the distraction of having a guy around who’s giving his players advice that contradicts the team staff runs counter to that. He’s going to run his team flights and his sideline like he’s been doing it since his Cleveland days. If the price of keeping your quarterback happy is having to deal with that (Note: It is not), then the QB will not be happy. Brady may love Alex Guerrero, but that doesn’t make the guy indispensable. If Guerrero gets hit by lightning and dies tonight, there’s still a game to win Sunday. So to be clear, I think “Rift” talk is pointless and stupid. But if a “Rift” actually does come out of this, I’m on Team Belichick all the way.