Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft have been one of the most dominant trinities in NFL history over the past few decades. The trio of quarterback, coach and owner has led the New England Patriots out of the league’s basement and turned the franchise into a five-time Super Bowl champion and a model of consistency. But according to an in-depth expose by ESPN, there may be trouble in paradise in Massachusetts.
The article, which was written by ESPN the Magazine’s Seth Wickersham, was reportedly based on interviews with more than a dozen Patriots staffers, sources and executives. Wickersham writes that the 2017 campaign could be the last rodeo for the men due to mass internal conflict, with the biggest issue stemming from Brady’s “trainer, body coach and business partner” Alex Guerrero. Halfway through the season, it was announced that Belichick had banned Guerrero from the team’s sidelines and its headquarters because he was technically not an employee of the Patriots.
Another reason for the alleged strife in Foxborough stemmed from the situation regarding former backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Wickersham writes that Belichick planned on the 26-year-old being Brady’s successor, however Kraft reportedly ordered the coach to trade Garoppolo to appease Brady and select another quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft.
Online shop BetOnline is capitalizing on the Patriots drama by releasing odds on whether Belichick will be on the sidelines for the Patriots for Game 1 of the 2018 season, as the book opened the YES option on January 5 coming in at -280 and the NO at +220. Only a few hours later, however, the odds on Belichick remaining in New England spiked to -2000 and the NO shifted to +1000. As of January 18, the odds of him returning came in at -800, with the chances of him leaving sitting at +500.
It’s important to take all of this with a grain of salt. Truth be told, ESPN has seemingly always had an ax to grind with the Patriots, and the relationship only worsened with the network’s role in covering the well-known Deflategate drama a few years ago. Personally, I don’t think Belichick is going anywhere, but stranger things have happened in the NFL.
Ahead of the Patriots’ AFC championship game vs the Jacksonville Jaguars, the coach has repeatedly stated he’s not going anywhere. What do you think? Is the Patriots’ ship truly springing a leak, or is Wickersham assuming too much? Have your say in the comment section.