I have been a Patriots fan ever since I learned the colors red, white, and blue. Since the regular season is about to start its time to get back into football. However, I am still intrigued by the last official game, Super Bowl 52. Not as much as to how the Patriots lost, but what lead up to the game. As months passed since the game there have been stories and reports surfaced that in all likelihood the Patriots were intentionally not giving their 100% in the super bowl.
Of course I have a bias view that Coach Belichick indeed threw the Super Bowl making the Patriots play on his terms. Rather than emphasizing my opinion I go straight to the evidence and let you the readers decide.
Benching Malcolm Butler
Looking back to Super Bowl 49, Butler was a rookie undrafted free agent. To have him come in to the superbowl midway in the game to adjust the defense it became a genius move by Belichick. The interception made Butler famous and true play maker. In superbowl 52 the Patriots defense clearly was struggling without Butler, but Belichick not only did not start Butler he did not bring Butler when the Patriots needed a play.
What was disturbing about not starting Butler in the game was how Belichick did not make anyone aware of it until less than an hour from start time. Not even owner Robert Kraft knew about it.
Malcolm Butler was playing the majority of every down prior to superbowl 52. He had prepared and earned his spot of where he was right there and then, but it was taken away from him. To this day it still does not make sense that Butler never allowed to play a defensive down.
I have read football analytics about how Belichick always comes up with strange and sometime weird schemes. How he uses past games with play action being a big weaknesses for Butler to cover his guy. However putting Butler in the game midway seem logical considering the Patriots simply could not stop the run in the first half. I find it hard to believe that such an adjustment of bringing in Butler was not executed in the second half of the game or at all.
Jimmy Garoppolo Trade to 49ers
When the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the 2014 he was the second highest drafted quarterback since Drew Bledsoe, rumors had it he was going to be Brady’s replacement. Proof is in the pudding shall we say because once Garoppolo got traded to the 49ers Belichick texted Garoppolo in every game he started with the 49ers. The texts were positive encouragements.
What astonishes me is that Belichick traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a 2nd round draft pick. Prior to the trade Bears, Browns, and 49ers were in need of a QB. So at first it did not seem too surprising 49ers got him, but coach Kyle Shanahan, son of Mike Shanahan who has openly defended Belichick during Spygate scandal. If you have not read, Seth Wickersham’s report read it now. Wichkersham a ESPN writer had an in depth article regarding Belichick’s rife with owner Robert Kraft. He also mentions Belichick personally reached out to Kyle and talked football in the combine. It is clear that Belichick took fond liking of the Shanahan. Link below.
It would make sense then that Belichick believing Kyle as being a good coach would make Garoppolo a good home. What seem out of Belichick’s character was the trade did not benefit the Patriots. As stories later were told that the Browns were willing to give up 4th overall pick in 2018 draft for Garoppolo but Belichick looked out for Garoppolo and declined the trade.
To accuse Belichick of not thinking for the best of the Patriots was an understatement. With Jacoby Brissett going to Indianapolis and Garoppolo to the 49ers it became clear who would remain starting quarterback for the Patriots. Picking back Brain Hoyer as Brady’s backup made it clear Patriots would be led by Brady for years to come.
Wickersham's story asserts that Robert Kraft did not want Brady traded even though Belichick believed it was the move to make for the better of the team. Brady would earn the love and care of the Patriots owner which for once overturned what coach Belichick wanted. Wichkersham then asserts Belichick out of retaliation traded Garoppolo for what would be best for the player rather than the team. The evidence was Kraft and Belichick had a long and closed door meeting prior to the QB trades. It could be a coincidence, but with all the evidence lay before you it gets difficult to believe otherwise.
Belichick and Brady off the field
Throughout both individuals their accomplishments are astonishing for a coach and player dual. If you read just the stats it would be hard to believe that these two guys did not get alone well. Intriguing as it sounds it seems like it is factual. Beyond the football field Belichick has never opened up to Brady. So much as to even Brady’s Father admits Belichick never partake much outside activities with his son Tom.
Even Brady himself recently defined his relationship with the coach as “complicated”.
Again in Wichkersham’s report he writes about the many differences Brady has with Belichick and how the two do not see eye to eye on somethings. Belichick hard knock coaching style has likely become old to Brady and deservedly so considering how much Brady has achieved. Yet when superbowl 52 was on the line it was interesting how some noticed Belichick looked unsupportive for Brady. A youtuber by the name of @Law of Polaris –North Star- who posts football analytic videos typical get a respectable few thousand hits per a video made a very compelling video about how much Belichick did not or unwillingly support Brady in times of need. Link below:
After reading all the information I could find it makes me feel anxious for the future of the Patriots. The ship is still sailing smoothly, but in time when Brady needs to retire who will be fitting in his place. And if they find a decent replacement will coach Belichick be still the driver of the ship?
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.
Date of post: 8/30/2018