New England Patriots Turmoil Puts Legacy in Jeopardy
Explosive ESPN Report predicts the end of the Patriots Dynasty as Early as the '18 Off-Season.
The salacious book Fire and Fury has blown the roof off the White House. Now an ESPN report on the New England Patriots is threatening Gilette Stadium the same way. ESPN Senior Writer Seth Wickersham pulls back the curtain on the Super Bowl champions. The franchise is on the precipice of demise, according to Wickersham and his Patriots’ sources. Owner Bob Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick, and QB Tom Brady are at odds over who deserves credit for their 17-year run and how to make it last. The article reveals the inner turmoil surrounding the New England Patriots and levels salacious accusations. Let’s look at the key takeaways from the expose. Could all the beef come down to a showdown between Brady and former Patriot Jimmy Garappolo?
The Cult of Guererro
The Patriots banned a team official named Alex Guerrero from team flights, the sidelines, and treating other Pats’ players besides Tom Brady in December. At the time, we thought it was an odd announcement. Is Guerrero some sort of mysterious ‘secret’ drug peddler? Eventually, we thought Bill Belichick was being overly obsessive. But Guerrero’s presence severely divides the Patriots organization and locker room. Guerrero is Tom Brady’s personal trainer and business partner in a natural health, performance, wellness brand called TB12. Brady attributes his endurance, recuperative powers, and age-defying performance to TB12. Brady must maintain a strict regimen of diet, sleep, workouts, and even apparel to perform at his best. TB12 sounds unconventional, but not weird or illegal at all, right?
Dave Hannigan of the Irish Times wrote a piece on the Brady/Guerrero relationship in November. Brady drinks two and a half gallons of filtered water daily. However, Brady’s H20 is laced with TB12 electrolytes, containing “72 trace minerals extracted from seawater.” Brady sleeps in a pair of his own line of pajamas with print technology that promotes deeper sleep. The magic PJs simultaneously help your body recover faster.
Drinking the Guerrero Kool-Aid
TB12 sounds as legitimate as Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop brand, magnetic therapy, and Scientology. Plus Guerrero has his own credibility issues. The wellness guru is considered a “snake-oil salesman,” by the Boston media and others. In 2004, Guerrero was known as Dr. Alejandro Guerrero and starred in infomercials. He promoted the nutritional supplement called Supreme Greens. The promotional information stated Supreme Greens had cured 192 people of cancer, prevented arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s, and even AIDS. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Supreme Greens and discovered none of the product’s claims could be substantiated. Plus, Guerrero received his master’s degree in Chinese medicine from a defunct California school. The FTC ruled Guerrero could not refer to himself as a doctor or promote supplements for life.
Too Much Access to Patriots Players
Patriots players started using the TB12 methodology to change their workouts. They stretch with bands more than lifted weights, they added more vegetables to their diets, hydrated with electrolyte-laced water, and got more sleep. Guerrero and his team prophet Brady were convincing key team members like Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edelman to focus on ‘pliability’ rather than traditional weight training. Initially, team officials weren’t concerned. The team became concerned with what Brady and Guerrero promised the TB12 method could do. Guerrero often blamed Patriots trainers for player injuries. “When athletes get injured, they shouldn’t blame their sport,” Brady wrote. While the method helped some Patriots players, it felt “like a cult” to others, according to the ESPN piece.
SI.com wrote, Guerrero, had some say over “most of the Patriots roster,” which would make New England the only team in the NFL to essentially have two separate medical staffs with two different approaches. The Patriots felt the bogus guru’s influence on players became too strong. Belichick restricted Guerrero’s access and he will no longer be undermined by a fictitious guru. Talk about New England Patriots turmoil.
As early as 2015, Brady made statements to the press that he intended another ten years. He even double-down this year, saying he plans on playing until age 45. Behind closed doors, Belichick was laying the groundwork for life after Brady. Belichick and his coaching staff had chosen to hand over the reins of the Pats’ offense to talented backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo. We call him the Zac Efron of the NFL. Belichick only needed two things, Brady and the organization’s cooperation. Once agreed to, the ‘Jimmy G’ era could begin. Enter TB12 and last year’s miraculous Super Bowl comeback. Brady doesn’t believe he’s on the downside of his career and can maintain a high level of play until at least 45. He will not cooperate with Belichick’s carefully laid plans. Hence the New England Patriots turmoil. How long should the organization stick with Brady?
The Last Straw
There’s only room for one alpha in the Patriots organization. The problem causing the New England Patriots turmoil is that the owner, head coach, and quarterback consider each other alphas. Wickersham writes “Several times [in] October, Brady met with Bob Kraft and Belichick to discuss playing longer. Belichick wasn’t on board with a long-term contract extension for the 40-year-old but said he would keep Brady as the starter if he was the best quarterback on the roster.
The meeting ended in a “little blowup,” according to Wickersham’s source. Garoppolo’s free agency at the end of the 2017-18 season only made the New England Patriots turmoil worse. Belichick didn’t want to trade Garoppolo. The Patriots offered Garoppolo a four-year contract extension, which could be higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo rejected the offers and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises about his future.
Garoppolo Leaves the Building
Two weeks before the Nov. 1 trading deadline, Belichick met with Kraft one-on-one. According to staffers, Belichick got his marching orders. He had to trade Garoppolo. Jimmy G wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans, and it was up to Belichick to find the best quarterback in the 2018 draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches; He did his job.
Belichick thought Garoppolo would excel under Kyle Shanahan’s coaching in San Francisco. The Head Coach and GM offered Jimmy G to the Niners for a second-rounder. It was a steal. Why would the game’s shrewdest long-term strategist trade two backup quarterbacks in a two-month span when his starter was 40 years old and banged up? It made no sense. Apparently, Belichick had enough. Belichick feels that once a team owner gets directly involved in personnel decisions, it’s time to walk away.
Up to this point in our analysis, you may think we are Team Belichick over Team Brady. Well, you are wrong. F&TS can’t stand all three members of the unholy trinity. We are 100% on board with Brady in one important aspect of this rift. We hate Bill Belichick.
One of the tenets of Belichick is an unwavering adherence to no long-term security in the NFL, except his own. It’s why he’s okay with cutting popular veterans. Belichick also believes that the head coach must be the ultimate authority on all team matters. Players need to subvert their egos for the Patriot Way. According to the article, until this season, Brady was the perfect model for Belichick’s system. Brady’s a future Hall of Famer who could withstand Belichick’s humiliating criticisms. Not anymore.
It started after last year’s playoff win over the Houston Texans. Brady completed only 18 of 38 passes and threw two interceptions. Belichick humiliated Tom Terrific during the ‘film session’ in front of his teammates. He laid into Brady for his carelessness with the football. The head coach and quarterback’s relationship, which was cordial, is now non-existent.
Brady is tired of Belichick’s negativity. Patriots staffers have noticed that Brady seems unstable this year. He fluctuates between supreme confidence and irrational insecurity. For instance, Belichick hasn’t awarded Brady the ‘Patriot of the Week Award’ all season, and apparently it’s upset Mr. Bunchen.
No Yoko to Blame for New England Patriots Turmoil
You’d think that a professional athlete with millions of dollars, a supermodel wife, kids, and a lavish lifestyle, wouldn’t need his coach’s affirmation. However, the California Kid apparently does. Like the Beatles, this rift is a symptom of too much time, money, and success. Kraft, Belichick, and Brady have been together for twenty years. The Patriots, as presently constituted, couldn’t last forever.
The Patriots’ Reaction
In a joint statement, the Patriots Trinity said “For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated, or flat out inaccurate.”
“The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing in the postseason and the opportunity to work together in the future, just as we have for the past 18 years. It is unfortunate that there is even a need for us to respond to these fallacies. As our actions have shown, we stand united.”