By Luciano Rapa
Featured writer for Sideline Report covering the Oriental Market
9th grade Science…Dissecting the Patriots
When I first was forced by my teacher to dissect a dead formaldehyde smelling frog, I did everything I could to get out of it. Hated the smell, and who really cared what the insides of a frog looked like. Today, I refuse to eat frog legs, because of that horrible event. Today I have been assigned an equal disgusting task, dissecting the New England Patriots……….Excuse me while I wipe the vomit off my face, and use an entire bottle of mouth wash to regain any sign of decency.
Peel off the skin: As we peel off the layers of dead skin from this franchise we discover that the next one is quite dark. The stench is horrible…
We first find remains of SBs past, and it is so old that there is mildew growing everywhere.
Patriots began this century as the best franchise in the NFL, led by a QB that may be remembered as one of the top 3-5 ever. Tom, I hope you didn’t forget to send Mo Lewis a Christmas card again? Thanks to NY Jets LB Mo Lewis, a young and unknown QB, drafted somewhere in the third day of the draft, Tom Brady suddenly finds himself as the unexpected leader. The New England Patriots were the biggest joke in the division in the 70s and 80s. There was no direction and the team was coached by one fool after another.
Twice they attempted to win a SB, and twice they failed. Bill Belichick was named NY Jets HC on the day Bill Parcells resigned to retire. I remember that press conference vividly. I was happy and sad. Bill was a defensive genius, but had zero personality. Watching him try to speak to NY reporters was painful. I wasn’t sure, he would work out without Bill Parcells.
The very next day, Belichick quit and announced he was coaching the New England Patriots. I was relieved and happy to be honest, and on top of it the Patriots paid the Jets a #1 draft pick for that transaction. That was the first sign that Bill was sort of a two faced human being. After all, he had to have agreed with Krafty, and had have known about it as he was being introduced as Jets HC.
As it turned out, it created a huge rivalry, and BB was the answer that I never believed he would be.
In 2002, the Patriots led by Tom Brady and HC BB won their VERY FIRST SB. On That day they finally were able to make fun of Buffalo fans.
This crew went on to win two more, in 04, and 05. There was talk of Dynasty, and dominance behind belief. Tom became the face of the NFL. I love Dunkin Donuts coffee, and at the time I lived in CT. You couldn’t walk in a Dunkin Donuts without being face to face with numerous live size cardboard posters of Mr. Brady.
Then the unthinkable happened, in 2007 the team went undefeated, and all the way to the SB. This was far greater a feat than the ’72 Dolphins; more games, tougher competition. There was talk of best team ever, blah blah blah. One problem, the dynasty came to a sudden end…and since then this dark skin I am now facing as I continue to dissect, was created, and boy does it smell!
- I begin to cut through that smelly dark skin, slowly because it must not be destroyed. Evidence has to be left intact, if you wish to discover the truth.
The sudden success created a problem. In reality, if we really look closely, Belichick got very lucky. One of his players on the team he left, Mo Lewis, helped him by destroying the career of Mr. Bledsoe. Had that not happened, Brady would have never, and might have never even played in the NFL.
The hit by Lewis should be plastered in all the walls in Foxboro. BB lucked out, and suddenly found himself being known as an offensive coach. He had no clue what offense was, but forced himself to become that. Along the way, he neglected what was his bread and butter for his entire career…defense.
After the Patriots won their third SB, he decided that the league was becoming more offensive than defensive, and at the time the offensive class of the league was Manning and the Colts. The Colts ran multiple WR sets, almost totally forgetting that there was also a thing called a running game.
Bill clearly decided to go out and mimic the Colts, and beat them at their own game. He signs Moss, Welker and the team becomes an offensive machine. So much so that, nobody could beat them for 18 straight games; unfortunately for Belichick, he should have remembered why he became the HC he has become to begin with……defense
That year his old team, the NY Giants smacked his face and reminded him how you win Super Bowls……defense.
Bill is a great coach, but a stubborn one as well, and that stubbornness has prevented him from winning more SBs.
The last layer is now ready for exposure. As I make a clean cut, I find lots of old players and old ideas…………a huge heart, but no good muscle tissue.
The team has become old.; the QB is no spring chicken, the OL is ancient. The defense still non-existent. Any well-run business has to have a continuity plan in place. As people get older, you must have youth to replace that age as time goes on. The Pats have not. They have been carried on Tom Brady’s shoulders, and that has not been enough to win again….
I think that someday Bill will be inducted into the HoF, deservedly so. His achievements cannot be denied the glory they deserve. As that Jet fan that hated the idea of BB has Jet HC, and hated himself when he saw the ability he had to win years later, I have come to appreciate Belichick. Don’t get me wrong, I love to beat him, but he is probably the most prepared HC for a game in the history of the game.
However, his arrogance, stubborness, pride, not sure what to really call it, has also been his biggest downfall. BB has tried to be the GM, HC, OC, DC of this team, and that has not worked. This team needs a GM, but how do you get one that overrules BB? A GM would have made sure that a defense was in place as well as an OL that wasn’t about to fall apart. BB’s desire to be better than the Colts has actually destroyed any chance he had to win another SB.
Prediction: The Patriots are declining, no matter how you spin it, they are. Last 4 years 14, 13, 12, 12 wins. Now, any team would love those numbers, but any team doesn’t have an HoF top 3-5 ever QB. The Patriots will still win 11-13 games, I say closer to 11. I hope they realize that Tom is old, and that OL cannot stop the emerging DLs of the Bills, Dolphins and NY Jets from beating on him. The problem is BB is stubborn and arrogant, he will do it his way, and sorry BB, but Mo Lewis can’t help you again, he is long retired. This NE Patriots team as it is today, will not win another SB.