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Does All This Weirdness Mean Belichick is Quitting?

Were this any other gut-wrenching Super Bowl loss, I’d be simply nursing a killer hangover and coming out of the gate with a Knee Jerk Reaction instead of getting up at an ungodly hour to post something with a headline that sounds like obvious clickbait. But I’m left with no choice. The KJR will have to wait. Because the universe wasn’t content to just stuff us in a locker with Super Bowl LII. It had to add the Pink Belly of all sorts of rumors flying around that it’s there’s reckoning coming in Foxboro. A Biblical End of Days that could mean Bill Belichick is leaving the team.

Ordinarily I’d be the one shooting any talk of that down. Maybe it’s just all the 16-ounce New England craft beers talking. Or the fact I just spend the night staring at the ceiling contemplating the worse case scenario. But after watching three postgame shows simultaneously, right now I’m not so sure. For instance, I blasted that ESPN story about the “rift” between Belichick, Brady and the Krafts right out of the water. It was so full of unsubstantiated claims, total conjecture and flat-out lies that I sank it with all hands on board. But maybe there were some nuggets of truth that survived.

The main thing that’s giving me nightmares right now is this pervasive rumor that is going around that says Josh McDaniels is now actually turning down the Colts job. Now, if it’s true and he does leave Jim Irsay at the altar, I’d love to believe it’s because he’s found true happiness in the warmth of Bill Belichick’s soft embrace and has no desire to be anywhere else. But there’s just so much weirdness going on right now. There are beat writers talking about a “major shakeup” about to happen. Talk that the atmosphere around the team has been really strange the last two weeks. The Malcolm Butler being put in the Time Out chair. Gronk declining to outright say he has no plans to retire at age 28. Then there was Andrea Kremer asking RKK and Jonathan Kraft if Belichick was coming back next year and this cryptic answer (3:00 mark):

Anything other than a simple “of course he is” is simply inviting exactly the kind of paranoia that just kept me up all night. Now add to it the Krafts admitting to “tension,” the rampant rumors about a meeting of the Three Families to settle all family business and the fact that McDaniels might be turning down a head coaching job a year after turning down San Francisco, and it’s not hard to connect the dots and see Belichick has finally had enough and McDaniels being named to replace him.

I don’t have to add “I hope I’m wrong” about all this nightmare fuel. But I will. I can’t picture my existence without Belichick as HC of NEPs. And right now we don’t know if any of it is true. What is undeniable is that this has been unlike any couple of months in the long and tumultuous reign of a Patriots Dynasty that has always been the eye of some Controversy Storm or another. And right now this feels like more than just another devastating, season-ending loss. At least it’s always the furthest thing from boring. Stay tuned.

@jerrythornton1