It’s a nasty new world in lot of ways for Patriots fans
Well, after this past week, we know one thing:
Tom Brady is a morning person.
Brady on Friday morning posted on social media a photo of him signing his Tampa Bay Buccaneers deal, along with a statement on joining the Bucs.
It all had to be like a knife through the hearts of New England Patriots fans, like a second wound after the initial cut of his Tuesday morning announcement that he was leaving the Patriots. That left Patriots fans bleeding all week.
The fourth wound will be when they first see Brady play in a Tampa Bay uniform. And, the final blow will be if they ever see him celebrate a Super Bowl.
It kept fans and sports media types busy all week, a relief if you will from this horrible time. But then again, it may have made this more horrible for many.
Dribs and drabs of why Brady isn’t a Patriot any longer will be in the media for weeks, with war of words to accompany them as one media member will challenge the other. Some reports will seem leaked as spin for one side or the other.
The unthinkable for Patriots owner Robert Kraft has happened, and the bottom line is as the team owner, he most likely could have prevented it.
You would have to think he and Bill Belichick talked about what Belichick wanted to do, and Kraft gave that power to the man he hired 20 years ago to run his football operation.
And Brady, tired of the same old, same old from Belichick, wanted to try something new to finish out his career. He simply didn’t want to play for Bill Belichick any longer after realizing he probably wasn’t going to feel any contract love.
“Think about loving your wife and for whatever reason, there’s something – her father or mother – that makes life impossible for you and you have to move on but you don’t want to,” Kraft told the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi.
That clearly points the finger at Belichick, who to be honest, probably thought Brady would stay, and the QB called his bluff. Only they know for sure, and we really don’t want to waste space here monitoring the speculative debate.
Friday the reality of it all was all spelled out.
Fans are likely irate, but now have to be accepting that this is now a whole new world for them in more way than one.
Here’s an example:
“People really wanted to see Brady retire as a Patriot – our greatest sports hero!,” one fan said in an email to yours truly. “I think that fan resentment will bubble over into open rebellion against the team if next year, the team is mediocre and Brady does well with (Tampa Bay).
“I don’t want to badmouth the team, but I’m really ready to snap over this.”
That fan probably speaks for many of you.
When the Patriots start taking the field, be it for training camp or simple OTAs, it will be good news for everyone, a sign that some sense of normalcy has returned. Maybe that will help bolster training camp crowds if that indeed takes place.
The bad news? There won’t be Tom Brady, who really for everyone was the Patriots. That could keep those crowds way down at some point.
But let’s look past the Brady departure at the bigger picture. We told you the Patriots needed to get younger. Thus, what we’ve seen in the last week is a mass exodus of Patriot veterans, mainly to teams coached by former Patriots assistants (Miami, Detroit, New York).
Sure, they signed Devin McCourty and picked up Jason McCourty’s option, plus re-signed Matthew Slater.
But, besides TB12, gone are Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Duron Harmon (he was traded), Jamie Collins and Nate Ebner. Ted Karras and Danny Shelton. All played key roles in last year’s 12-4 season.
That’s the NFL for you, and free agency, and that’s what Bill Belichick will always tell you. What we’ll tell you is this: The Patriots are in a rebuild. It may not cost them an AFC East title, or maybe it will. They no longer have the division’s best quarterback, and quarterback really win you games in the NFL. They still have the division’s best coach, and it will be up to him to overcome that loss.
It’s a new reality today in this world, and this week New England Patriot fans got a double dose of it.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.