Ding Dong The Dynasty is Dead
The New England Patriots had to play in their first Wild Card Round Playoff game in a decade Saturday evening and fell to the Tennessee Titans 20-13. In the game, the Titans were able to get to Brady, Julian Edelman made uncharacteristic mistakes and Bill Belichick was out-coached by his former player Mike Vrabel.
What happened after the game was even more interesting and unexpected. The post game press conferences were "read between the lines" affairs and if you did, you know full well, the Patriots don't have a plan for the future for the first time in decades. Brady indicated it was "unlikely" he'd retire and Belichick was standoffish with the media, refusing to answer questions about his or Brady's future with the team.
While the Patriots are rarely, if ever forthcoming in press conferences, this one was different. This time around, instead of ensuring their fan base that they have a plan and insisting the major players in the dynasty would be there next season, they gave no assurances. Belichick's press conferences were agonizingly awkward as the coach attempted to stop the press from asking questions about Brady and the future.
(He participated in a post game press conference and another yesterday. The above was yesterday's but the two played out in almost identical fashion).
Look, it would not surprise me to read that the powers that be in New England are going to give this one more run. It would not shock me to read that the Patriots and Brady have come to terms on a one year deal. I'd not be stunned to learn that they would sign key free agents to make one more run, at one more Super Bowl.
I just don't think they are going to get there. I don't think Belichick still believes Brady has the physical capability to get them there one more time. I think Belichick is still bitter that he was, all but forced to give away Jimmy Garoppolo by Brady and Kraft. I also think the many dramas that have played out surrounding this team have taken a long term toll.
Whether it's Spygate 1, Spygate 2, Deflategate, Kraft's massage parlor scandal or the Aaron Hernandez nightmare scenario, they have endured a lot of self inflicted wounds. There is a natural ending to everything and they would be resisting nature to push for one more and I believe, even their best effort would ultimately fall flat of the goal of winning a Super Bowl.
It's over and I'm relieved more than anything, as a fan, I'm bored with the same old result. There will be a time to positively reflect on the many amazing, unprecedented accomplishments of this franchise, this is not that time. Nah, nah, na-na-naaaaaa! It's over, kiss my grits. In fairness, you Patriots fans deserve at least two months of people piling on, you've been obnoxious as sin for nearly twenty years.