Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Jan 2018

For Kraft, Belichick, and Brady, Is This Beginning of the End?

Here, for your discussion pleasure, is the Seth Wickersham ESPN piece everyone is talking about today, about the power struggle between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The piece reports that Bob Kraft essentially forced Belichick to trade Jimmy Garoppolo so that Brady could remain quarterback of the Patriots in the future. I think this piece actually makes Belichick look pretty reasonable, and it also shines some light on the Alex Guerrero situation.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Jan 2018

151 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2018, 9:22am by David


by billprudden :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:08am

If he got out of NE contract... BB's worth on open market?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:23am

"Here's a 1. Fill in as many zeroes as you feel appropriate."

Frankly, fans (outside of maybe KC, MIN, SEA, LA/StL/LA, and PIT) should revolt if their owner isn't trying to pry Belichick away from the Pats now.

If Quinn isn't trying to get him, and if that wasn't why he tossed Caldwell out, then the Fords need to go.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:29pm

I just learned on NFL Films Presents that Belichick's first job in the NFL was with the Lions. That would make a nice full circle for his career.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:41pm

Was it WRs coach in 75 with the Lions? One of BB's strengths is the range of work he's done across teams.

That said, as I understood it his first job out of college was for Ted Marchibroda in 74 at the Colts where he broke down film for something like $25 per week or something. BB said he asked Don Shula for a job first, but Shula said "Hmmm you think I'm going to let you break down film on my team and then go coach elsewhere".

by PatsFan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:03pm

Here's the video: http://www.patriots.com/video/2017/12/29/nfl-films-presents-bill-belichi...

It was 1976 and was Rick Forzano, who hired Belichick as a full-time assistant special teams coach.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:49pm

I think Tight Ends coach. You're right, he did work for the Colts as well. I think the Lions job was his first time as an actual position coach.

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:05am

That info is wrong. Detroit might have been Bill's first PAID job in the NFL. But when his dad was at Navy, Bill camped out on the Colts doorstep and did work for Ted Marchibroda.

Belichick started his NFL career in Baltimore.

by mathesond :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:30am

I suspect an ownership stake would be involved...

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:20am

The end began some time ago. Brady is 40. He's already started the practice-resting that we saw from Manning and Favre's corpses. Father time remains undefeated.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:34pm

" Father time remains undefeated."

I guess we will see. Brady basically matched Favre's age-40 season. But age-41 Favre finally got hurt, and his statistics cratered and then he retired. If age-41 Brady can keep it going, Father Time will take a body blow.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:49pm

Warren Moon had a Pro Bowl in his age-41 season.

George Blanda threw a TD and played backup QB on his 45th birthday.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:08pm

OOps. I missed Moon.

by Pat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:07pm

Let's not be insane here. Brady will have to stop playing at some point. His eyes will go, his joints will degrade, and his ability to process the game will slow down. This is just biology. He hasn't found a Fountain of Youth. He doesn't have a magic way to stop presbyopia, joint damage, or mental decline.

The only question is how much longer Brady is able to play at a high level. But the most important thing that you're missing is that football isn't an individual sport. It's a team sport. Favre, at age 41, didn't have the team that Brady had. He didn't have a Hall of Fame tight end in Gronkowski, and he didn't have a top-flight offensive line, either. He did have Peterson, but an elite running back isn't going to help passing statistics nearly as much as the help Brady has.

The really important thing in this article, if it's true, is that the Patriots' *own internal evaluations* show Brady slipping. They're the only ones who really know how much of their success is Brady, and how much of it is the rest of the team. And honestly, if there's one thing I've learned to trust the Patriots and Belichick on, it's player evaluation.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:12pm

Agree with everything, except presbyopia shouldn't affect a QB. Except that it would make it harder for him to read the plays on his wristband.

by Pat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 9:13pm

Presbyopia is a loss of the ability to focus at multiple distances: it's not just an "I need reading glasses" issue. You fundamentally can't fix it, only mitigate it. Effects have been seen in lots of situations, like driving. While it might not be a large effect, the difference between a great QB and a bad one isn't a large effect either.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:12pm

You got the order wrong. Age-41 Favre was cratering and then he got hurt. He retired after getting hurt and the starts streak ended. He was having the worst season of his career well before he got hurt.

by deus01 :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:46am

It really seems like Brady has gone crazy with his cult-like belief in the training regimen created by that quack Guerrero

by TheIdealGrassLaw :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:33pm

I really wish the FTC or FDA (or even the NFL/NFLPA) had more authority to squash guys like Guerrero. That "concussion water" hoax should have landed him in a prison cell. Frauds like that end up hurting their victims twice - once by not treating the disease nor the symptoms, and again by discouraging or delaying them from seeking real medical advice/treatment.

There's a reason you need a license to practice medicine...

by MC2 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:34pm


No one can force you to take medical advice, and anyone who chooses to take medical advice from someone that they haven't vetted deserves little sympathy.

And there is indeed a reason you need a license to practice medicine. That reason is that cartels (like the AMA) dislike competition.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:15am

Tell ya' what. You get a devastating diagnosis, with few promising options for treatment, and then you might have greater insight with regard to your ability to resist the appeal of a skilled con. People who are defrauded, not because they had their own greed turned against them, which is, to be sure, the way a lot of cons work, but because random chance placed them in a state of extreme mental or emotional vulnerability, are deserving of sympathy.

by MC2 :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 1:53am

A "skilled con"? Give me a break.

It seems like half of this thread has been spent mocking Guerrero's clearly ridiculous claims (e.g. "concussion water" or whatever). Anyone skilled enough to perform a Google search should be able to see through that sort of stuff.

And, by the way, I have taken dubious medical advice, and gotten burned by doing so. But I never blamed the "skilled con artists" who gave/sold me the advice. I blamed myself, because deep down, I knew what they were saying was too good to be true. I made an error in judgment, plain and simple, nobody's fault but my own. The same is true of those who may have been "conned" by Guerrero.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 6:51am

You need to read better.

by ncuba :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:10am

My favorite part was when JG showed up for his appointment at TB12 to find door locked and staff had ghosted.

It's like one of those crap food/small portions jokes.

by jtr :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:31am

Tommy, making your potential rival seek actual medical attention for his injury instead of snakeoil is not the most effective way to undermine him.

The most damning thing in here is the teammate who went to the TB12 facility but wouldn't let Guerrero touch his legs for fear of making his injury worse. That guy really did just show up just to win points with Brady rather than actually thinking it would help him physically.

Also, this article doesn't touch on it, but there are serious ethical concerns involving the TB12 brand. The company is part owned by Brady, and the Patriots organization has been paying the organization for years for "treatment" even after Belichick booted Guerrero from the facility. Brady has been on an under-market contract for years, and in the meantime he just-so-happens to receive payments from the team outside of his contract. It's not unreasonable to think that this arrangement specifically exists to funnel Pats money to Brady that doesn't count against the salary cap.

by billprudden :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:57am

Holy fuck, sir!

So after the commish vacates all their victories, will that mean ATL won the SB?

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:40pm

I'm pretty sure if the league invalidated the Patriots' victory and removed any record of them having ever been in the playoffs last year the Falcons still would find a way to lose that game.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:50pm


by roguerouge :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:05pm

As a Pats fan, I agree that's concerning and hopefully Kraft's done his due diligence there.

by morganja :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:28pm

All the facts are there to support a salary cap violation. But they don't call Kraft the most powerful owner for nothing.

by TheIdealGrassLaw :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:47pm

The TB12 clinic is well known about and the league has long ago decided that these kinds of arrangements don't count towards the cap. God knows why, other than the possibility that it brings in more money than it costs to the ownership side. Kraft being powerful helps, but I would imagine most teams have some similar business dealings (e.g. Tyrod Taylor doing Toyota commercials while Pegula has a stake in a local dealership).

Remember that the cap is mostly there to protect ownership profitability, and not really there for competitive balance reasons.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:17pm

I know it doesn't fit your preferred "Kraft is a crooked and despicable human being and the Patriots are all that's wrong with this country" narrative, but Kraft did consult with the league whether or not this would be considered a violation of the salary cap and got the O.K. Now, if you want to believe that the NFL wouldn't give the same treatment to, I don't know.....Jerry Richardson and Cam Newton, then you need to work that out on your own time.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:39pm

The NFL already looked into the TB12 arrangement and issued an on-the-record statement that they had no problems with the arrangement.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:00am

It's one of the details of the story that isn't actually true.

Really sad how any poorly sourced material can get published these days.

by bravehoptoad :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:45pm

How do you know it isn't true?

Yes, bring back paper! When printing words actually cost money!

by PantsB :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:23am

That's reigning Super Bowl MVP, almost certain to be league MVP and QB of the SB favorite Tom Brady right?

Was supposed to be in response to the "the end has already started" comment above

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:45pm

Manning won a SB well into his "the end is nigh!" phase.

Indeed, he won it about 3 minutes before the end.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:03am

Manning had neck surgery first, while still in Indy. Then he fell apart physically, went to Denver, had 2 extremely good seasons, then fell apart again, and won the Super Bowl largely based on his intelligence and the best defense in the league.

Manning's decline could hardly be seen as a surprise. He was basically forced to retire right after the Super Bowl victory. Because he'd been benched at one point in favor of Brock Osweiler.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:53am

He was still peak Manning for two years in Denver. It wasn't until the loss to the Colts that his physical deterioration had become noticeable.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:18pm

Making long-term plans based on a player's past/current performance rather than a realistic projection of his future performance is one of the biggest mistakes a front office can make.

If you want to argue that, should the Patriots win the Super Bowl this year as they are favored to, the trade-off of losing a potential future franchise QB was worth it, I think that's a valid argument. Super Bowls are valuable and extremely difficult to win even when you have a good team. But if you're arguing that Brady is likely to continue to play at a high level at age 41, 42, and so on, that's a bad bet to make and it gets worse with every passing day.

by Dave Bernreuther :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:43am

I'm willing/able to buy the truthfulness of what the article states, but it's still another attention-whoring hit piece by ESPN. How nice of them to drop that and take attention away from actual football and place it on themselves for Wild Card weekend.

Oh no, the gruff and demanding coach and the ego of the star QB sometimes have issues, and the control freak nature of the coach doesn't love an outside trainer impinging on his control?

Shocker. I'm sure this is the first time this has ever happened in the last 17 years. (Eye roll.)

Florio makes the other strong point that it doesn't matter what kind of rivalries, desires, or conflicts of interest/ownership mandates existed: Yee wouldn't have been doing his job if he hadn't rejected any Patriots offer for money shy of franchise tag money. And thus, as we discussed and decided two months ago, trading him was the ONLY move. It's not some evidence of a rift or conspiracy, it's just the best that they could make of an unfortunate and out of their control situation.

by billprudden :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:59am

Sir - regarding your last para: No, they could have franchised him. Salary cap pain, yes, but you keep your future QB and enormous trade leverage. Further, the trade didn't have to happen within this season. What if Brady blew a knee last month?

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:04pm

Yes super bowl could be Brian Hoyer vs case keenum. Soft bAlls Brady could get injured ijn4th quarter of afc title game

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:16pm

I'm wondering if Belichick traded away Jacoby Brissett partly so that it'd be less likely he'd be forced to dump Garoppolo?

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:04pm

Yes super bowl could be Brian Hoyer vs case keenum. Soft bAlls Brady could get injured ijn4th quarter of afc title game

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:50pm

Absolutely. Keep Galapagos this year, franchise him in the offseason if he won't sign, and let Brady sulk.

It's obvious. I'm shocked that Kraft would let a player (even THAT player) lobby him to force BB to do something.

by LnGrrrR :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:40am

If they franchise him, he is making more than Brady. That sets a very weird precedent, and they would likely renegotiate his salary as well, for the optics if anything. That is a lot of cap tied up into your QBs. Plus, Brady having a "lower" salary enables them to use him as an example. Franchising Garroppolo has a domino effect.

As for trade value, sure, maybe we can get a first for him, or at least a second and fourth. But his trade value looks a lot higher now due to what he has done in SF. Before then, lots of people were bringing up tbe ghost of Matt Cassel.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:47pm

Exactly. I, for one, would've been shocked to see him franchised. Now, not so much.

by Anon Ymous :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 1:56pm

Franchising him entails having to free up ~$10mm of cap space, having no ability to do anything early in FA, only being able to trade with teams who have $23mm in cap space and JG being another 6 months removed from his 6 quarters of action.

Franchising him was possible, but no viable.

by nat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:02pm

...still another attention-whoring hit piece by ESPN

+ 2^77,232,917 − 1

I mean, TRADING Garoppolo is evidence of a rift between Brady and Belichick? If they had kept him, I'd bet this same guy would have written an article saying that NOT trading Garoppolo was evidence of a rift.

It's just agenda-driven nonsense. Same crap every year, it seems. Let's cook up a distraction in the hopes it will derail the Patriots' postseason. Then we can congratulate ourselves if they do lose a playoff game - even though that's the most likely result even for a top seed. In the meantime, all the haters will love ESPN!


by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:07pm

Hmm, your comment makes me think you didn't read the article that carefully. This isn't random reports of team tensions; the author is making the case that the Patriots are unlikely to continue past this season as we've known them. He could be wrong, but the most prominent piece of evidence for that isn't issues with an outside trainer, but that they'd trade away both of their young backup QBs--one of them good, one of them worth all the franchise tags you can stick on him--for peanuts.

Trading Garoppolo was not "the ONLY move," as you say. They could have kept him. They could have watched Brady play somewhere else next year. That sounds like what Belichick's plan was until Kraft stepped in. It's worked pretty well in the past (see Montana-Young, see Favre-Rodgers). Your last statement seems to be exactly wrong: they had all the control in this situation.

edit: eh, woops, looks like billprudden beat me to the essence of it.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:28pm

Looking back, it almost always works.

Even when it doesn't entirely (Luck in Indy), it's mostly not the QB's fault.

The only example I can find for a sudden falloff after the departure of an old franchise QB is Warren Moon leaving Houston, who immediately cratered from 12-4 to 2-14. But even that came after a season of upheaval.

by JIPanick :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:17pm

"The only example I can find for a sudden falloff after the departure of an old franchise QB is Warren Moon leaving Houston, who immediately cratered from 12-4 to 2-14. But even that came after a season of upheaval."


Here are the last season with and first season without (using PFR's summary of the team's leading passer) each of the SB era HOFers (plus Peyton Manning) for each team, ignoring cases where they clearly had not established themselves as a franchise QB (e.g. Namath in LA) and Tarkenton's first Minnesota stint, which happened before the merger.

Aikman in Dallas. 5-11 to 5-11.

Bradshaw in Pittsburgh. 6-3 to 10-6.

Dawson in Kansas City. 5-9 to 5-9.

Elway in Denver. 14-2 to 6-10.

Favre in Green Bay. 13-3 to 6-10.

Favre in Minnesota. 6-10 to 3-13.

Favre in New York. 9-7 to 9-7.

Fouts in San Diego. 8-7 to 6-10.

Griese in Miami. 10-6 to 8-8.

Jurgersen in Washington. 6-8 to 9-4-1.

Kelly in Buffalo. 10-6 to 6-10.

Manning in Denver. 12-4 to 9-7.

Manning in Indianapolis. 10-6 to 2-14.

Marino in Miami. 9-7 to 11-5.

Moon in Houston. 12-4 to 4-12.

Montana in Kansas City. 9-7 to 13-3.

Montana in San Francisco. 14-2 to 10-6.

Namath in New York. 3-11 to 3-11.

Stabler in Oakland. 9-7 to 11-5.

Starr in Green Bay. 6-8 to 4-8-2.

Staubach in Dallas. 11-5 to 12-4.

Tarkenton in Minnesota. 8-7-1 to 7-9.

Tarkenton in New York. 4-10 to 8-6.

Unitas in Baltimore. 11-2-1 to 10-4.

Warner in Arizona. 10-6 to 5-11.

Warner in St. Louis. 14-2 to 7-9.

Young in San Francisco. 12-4 to 4-12.

If we define collapse as 4 fewer wins, than Elway, Favre, Kelly, Manning (Indy), Moon, Montana, Warner (twice), and Young all saw teams collapse when they left. Overall, six of those twenty-seven teams improved, sixteen got worse (nine of those sixteen being collapses), and five held serve (counting Bradshaw in this group). The average result, ignoring Bradshaw, was a decline of about 2.2 wins. Out of 16, that's a lot.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:17pm

I should have been more specific, but I wasn't including retirements for purposes of this discussion, and was discounting situations were a QB had caught a case of the sucks (Warner or Tarkenton in NY, for instance; Young in Tampa)

by JIPanick :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:37pm

Well, if you want to limit it to situations where a guy who thought he could still play was forced out management in favor of the succession plan, your sample size becomes very small.

Moon in Houston, maybe (He was forced out, but I'm not convinced there was a succession plan). Total disaster.

Manning for Luck in Indy. I think forcing him out has to be regarded as a likely mistake at this point.

Favre for Rodgers in Green Bay. Success?

Montana for Young in SF, sort of (Montana missed two years with an injury, so you could argue Young wasn't a succession plan but a second, proven top QB). Success if you want to count it.

Brees for Rivers in San Diego, sort of (Brees broke out after they decided he was a bust and drafted the next guy, then they kept the younger player). Call it a wash.

That's gotta be close to all of them. I count two success, two failures, and a wash.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:54pm

There are others.

A success isn't whether the new guy was as good as the old, it's whether the team continued on with comparable QB play in the future. Rodgers and Rivers were successes (Brees-Rivers was no lose; both guys would turn out to be fantastic). Luck, I think, was. He's not Manning, but that roster has decayed to the point that even Old Man Manning couldn't have saved it.

The one example where this badly cratered was Houston, where it turned out that Moon was younger than his stated age.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:24pm

Others to consider -
Bledsoe to Brady - Yes, Brady had won a SB, but Bledsoe was no slouch.
Morton to Staubach

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:51pm

I don't think switching from Warren Moon to 31-year-old Cody Carlson was the same kind of forward-looking decision as going from Favre to Rodgers.

They also lost Curtis Duncan, Mike Munchak, William Fuller, Sean Jones and others. And Carlson got hurt.

The Oilers weren't trying to make a good long-term decision for the roster, but to save money.

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:07pm

The first thing this brings to mind is the fact that Wickersham generally has been spot on with these sorts of articles. He was the one who wrote the big "chaos in San Francisco" article in mid-2014, just before the Harbaugh/Baalke/York relationship exploded into public view.

My second thought is that between hyper-competitive and driven guys like Belichick, Brady and Kraft, that it would be amazing if they never rubbed each other the wrong way over the course of their working relationship. All the smoke here may just be occasional friction that needs to be worked out.

My third thought is Alex Guerrero is a charlatan, and I wouldn't want him within 100 feet of anyone I had to work with. And that it would be best for all involved -- including himself -- if Brady cut him loose.

by ssereb :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:00pm

After reading the previous Wickersham piece on Brady and Guerrero, I don't see a split happening. Brady is a true believer (in total, harmful nonsense).

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:34pm

Not all of it is harmful! Some of the TB12 tips are good, common sense sorts of things (hydrate yourself! eat less processed food!).

Of course, essentially everything (at least in The TB12 Method book, on sale at all reputable booksellers) that goes beyond common sense stuff is pseduoscience hogwash, inventing terms like "muscle pliability" and claiming certain supplements can prevent concussions.

And, coincidentally, you can purchase all of the recommended products, protein powders and apps from the same source! Amazing how synergetic all this is! <_<

by ssereb :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:45pm

Yeah, the "good" parts of the system are all so obvious that it would be suspicious if they weren't there. (If a health guide tells you to eat more processed foods, run.) Given the extent to which Brady and Guerrero emphasize the importance of Guerrero himself as a masseuse, I'd be surprised if the next step wasn't charging exorbitant sums to train and license more TB12 practitioners, who would also market and sell the TB12 products. Hey, would you look at that? The organizational chart is triangular! Neat!

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:08pm

I'm just looking for a health guide that tells me NOT to run. That'd be ideal for me <_<

by Will Allen :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:04pm

All my life, I've been waiting for a health guru to tell me to eat more red meat, drink more and better booze, and stay up well past midnight, and never exert myself physically while wearing clothes. I used to also wish for advice as to how to add variety as to with whom to participate in clothingless physical exertion, but somebody occasionally reads over my shoulder while I am writing this nonsense.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:21pm

"I used to also wish for advice as to how to add variety as to with whom to participate in clothingless physical exertion"

I can handle that one.

Lower your standards.

by SandyRiver :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:10pm

Reminds me of the old country song about "faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, more money!"

by serutan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:05pm

You need to figure out how to blip yourself to the "Sleeper" universe. ;)
Was wr

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:12am

@45 -

Mediterranean diet??

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:18pm

Go look for a health guide from an orthopedic surgeon. Running is hell on your knees.

by morganja :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:23pm

Have you tried running on your feet?

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:44pm

Lordy, you guys are on fire today. Fire, I'm telling you.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:55pm

No no.

You die on your feet.

You live on your knees.

by RobotBoy :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:28am

This is actually not true, at least from research I've read.
According a few pretty well-designed studies, runners have much better knee health into their 60s and 70s than sedentary people. Older runners also have better knee health than older folks who play soccer, tennis, and a number of other sports that ask a lot of knees.
The theory is that the steady motion of running keeps your 'knee slot' in the same position, while also building up the surrounding muscles. Sedentary people have weak surrounding muscles and no reinforced 'knee slot' while the rapid lateral movements and torquing on the knee from many sports is hell on knees.
From anecdotal evidence, I know very few serious runners who have knee problems after decades of running. My knee problems are due to forty plus years of soccer and some bad jiu-jitsu decisions but when I run regularly, everything moves more smoothly.
Often, people who have trouble with their knees when they start running have bad form.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:55am

There's a thing called "runner's knee". It's chronic cartilage wear. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader as to what population it's seen in.

by jimbohead :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:53pm

Have you heard the good news about powerlifting? "Running gives competing adaptation signals that hurt your gains." "Red meat is essential for a balanced protein intake." Truly a glorious message of hope in these troubled times.

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:31am

>> Have you heard the good news about powerlifting?

Can't leave this unremarked on – I started powerlifting a year ago, at age 51. "Powerlifting" seems too lofty a term, I mean a basic strength program with barbells, built around the major lifts: Squat-Dead-Bench-Row-Press-Pullup. Some abs and assistance work too.

Point is, I've seen ridiculous gains in mobility & flexibility, great gains in energy level, a nice decrease in routine aches & pains, and good improvements in body composition. Lost fat around my midsection, dropped 2 waist-sizes in pants. It's been AMAZING. And I haven't gotten anywhere near "strong" yet: I'm around the standards for Novice lifters in my weight class, above in some lifts and just missing it in others.

It crazy, like a secret or something. Wish I'd heard the good news like 20 years ago.

by sbond101 :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:03pm

I think one aspect of the TB12 story that has been totally overlooked is the impact that it has had on Brady psychologically. Brady, wrongly but unabashedly, believes himself to be as close to immune to injury/aging as you can possibly be; putting aside any rational analysis of that claim that belief has been responsible for reviving his career. If you look back to tape of Brady 08-10 you'll see him seeing ghosts in the pocket, and generally playing afraid at times, today he is willing to take a hard hit on the nose in order to complete a pass, earnestly believing it won't "leave a mark". That confidence is transformative in terms of his ability to deliver on the football field, and is very very difficult to come by, especially as players age and see all their peers eventually succumb to age/injury. Brady's trainer may be a snake-oil salesmen, but he has been an integral part of helping Brady play to age 40, and that's fascinating in itself.

by jtr :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:10pm

On the flip side, that kind of confidence could get him really beat up. Late career Peyton Manning was very protective of himself--I'm sure you can picture it right now, how he would often simply fall to the ground rather than take a big hit in the pocket. And despite that, he still got beat up enough to fall apart in his age 39 season. It would probably help Brady's ambition to keep playing if he was a bit more afraid of taking hits.

by RobotBoy :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:32am

Brady has a pretty good sense of when to go down. He's competitive so he'll try to complete that pass against pressure (and leads the league in QB rating against pressure) but he's not reckless, at all.
Garoppolo's injury last year was from exactly the kind of hit that Brady has learned never to take.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:03pm

Flacco believed he was elite, too. How'd that work out?

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:34am

I mean, depends on what year you're asking about. He believed it in '12, turned down the Ravens offer, played the last year of his contract, bet on himself -- and got SB MVP and a life-changing pair of contracts. Worked out pretty well.

by ssereb :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:56pm

I'd say it worked out pretty well for Joe Flacco.

by ssereb :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 1:04pm

Yeah, and I'm reasonably confident that the "titanium-infused" necklaces that baseball players swear by have helped a lot of them with the mental aspects of hitting a major league fastball, even if the necklaces did not actually rearrange their bodies' electrical fields. But the difference is the necklace doesn't convince baseball players they're immune to concussions and soft-tissue injuries, which could be very risky if Brady (or one of the other Patriots he's convinced to buy into this stuff) discounts or even stops looking for potential symptoms.

I do agree that it's really interesting that athletes who have been performing at unbelievably high levels for years without some sort of miracle supplement can suddenly become convinced that the supplement is key to their performance, though.

by sbond101 :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:34pm

I really don't get this response. To clarify, of course it's unethical to falsely convince a gullible football player that they are immune to concussions or other injuries, and could be very bad for their long term future; But it's been great for Tom Brady's football play. Every QB is always one hit away from being done - we all know that, and more importantly so do they - but playing QB is a job you can't do nearly as well when your concerned about getting hit/hurt. For this reason convincing yourself that you can't get hurt is a very substantial advantage to playing the sport well. You can see this in Brady in the growth of his ability to maintain focus in the face of poor pockets in the later half of his career. You can also see how this would be an advantage to the team (right up until it leads to an injury) in helping players arrive at false comfort and thereby do their jobs undisturbed. It's reasonable to assume that the natural psychological tendency toward more risk-adverse behavior as men age is a significant factor in the decline of NFL players, and certainly QB's. At the same time it's lent new purpose to Brady continuing to win titles - in these respects belief in nonsense has directly led to a major victory over aging for Brady - one of the most successful placebo treatments of all time.

Not sure what to take away from this set of facts (which I find somewhat disturbing). Millions, perhaps billions of people take placebo's every day, some harmless, some less so, and in many cases at significant net benefit to themselves. It's very unclear to me what a coach or team should do about it, it's pretty clear that Brady's irrational belief in personal responsibility for injury makes him a bit of an jerk to his teammates, but is that really a big enough issue to make a team act?

by jtr :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:06pm

>it's pretty clear that Brady's irrational belief in personal responsibility for injury makes him a bit of an jerk to his teammates, but is that really a big enough issue to make a team act?

It's certainly enough for the team to act if Guererro's presence leads to Pats players seeking his treatment instead of real medical treatment when they get hurt. If Belichick let this guy take a major role in the team's training staff--which seemed to be his goal, considering he got himself put on the payroll--he'd be at a huge disadvantage competitively when his injured players received placebo treatment instead of actual treatment. Even now in an outside role, Guererro is luring players to his facility just because they want to win points with Brady.

by ssereb :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:17pm

Yeah, I don't have any dispute with the idea that Tom Brady's play has benefited from working with Guerrero. I don't watch enough Pats games to definitively say that that's the case, but I think it's quite likely. My concern is entirely with the long-term effect of this attitude toward injuries, as well as the effect it's had on other players who have worked with Guerrero. The Wickersham article from October that focused on the TB12 stuff highlighted a few other Patriots who work closely with Brady and Guerrero. Three--Gronkowski, Edelman, and Amendola--stood out for having had notable soft tissue injury and concussion histories. I think it's reasonable to wonder if Guerrero has adversely affected their longevity as football players and their post-career quality of life.

I don't think the Patriots have any recourse to prevent Brady from working with Guerrero and I don't think they should necessarily want to do that, for the precise reason that Brady seems to be thriving from either the placebo effect, some as-yet-undiscovered "pliability" in his muscles, or sheer dumb luck that nevertheless has improved his confidence along with his physical health. If it was another player with less leverage, it might be a different story.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:55pm

I just wish athletes could start coming up with more creative names for their brands than "TB12".

by MJK :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:45pm

This article corroborates something I've suspected--that Kraft made Belichick trade Garoppolo. Given Belichick's history (cutting Kosar for Testaverde, benching and trading Bledsoe for Brady), he has no compunction about benching/moving a talented but aging veteran QB (or any position for that matter) if he thinks its in the interest of the team. And Belichick generally has preached and followed the mantra that its better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late.

I personally was confident we'd see Brady traded away, Joe Montana style, to go have one or two more productive years with someone else, and Belichick would move onto Garoppolo as the QB of the future. The fact that it was Garappolo that was moved seemed totally out of character for Belichick.

So it makes sense that it would be Kraft that forced the move. For the most part, Kraft is one of the best owners, at least with regard to not meddling in football decisions. But he is known to get sentimental with his players--and to be very, very close to Brady.

For once, I think Kraft meddled. And it's going to cause a whole lot of trouble for the Patriots.

Even without this article, I've been worrying ever since the Garoppolo trade that the Patriots run was over after this year. In spite of Guerro's snake oil and witch magic, I think Brady has at most one full season of being good in him, and now the Patriots have o QB of the future on their roster. Add to that the imminent loss of both coordinators. And if the article is right, Belichick might go soon, too.

Oh well. It's been a fun 17 years.

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:57pm

Agree 100% with everything in your post, MJK. Belichick was poised to accomplish the one thing that seemed impossible: seamlessly transition a championship team to the next QB, Joe-Montana-to-Steve-Young-style. Jimmy G doesn't have to be Steve Young: if G is "merely" an intermittent Pro Bowl QB for 5-7 years, that's a small miracle, and enough to keep the Pats juggernaut rolling.

My bet with myself was that BB wouldn't step down from the Patriots until he won a Super Bowl with Tom Brady's replacement. Just to show that he could.

Shocking that Kraft would derail that.

by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:57pm

Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and sky. It slips away, and all your cap space won't another championship buy.

Dust in the wind.

by serutan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:07pm

Well played, sir.
Was wr

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:31pm

This article doesn't "corroborate" a thing. It's a piece full of conjecture and connecting of dots from 2nd and 3rd-hand sources. Frankly, it's a writer saying "look at me" to sports fans and media. I cannot believe it's gotten this much attention.

I could write a similar piece in a hour about how LeBron James is going to be the next president when Trump is impeached this Spring.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:40pm

When he wrote a similar piece about friction at the 49ers a few years ago between Harbaugh and Baalke and York, he got similar flack: they were all big competitive egos, nothing to see here, the 49ers would be stupid to destroy such a productive relationship, etc. etc.

He ended up being correct. I'd be surprised if the guy is just spinning cotton candy this time around.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:56pm

The difference is that the 49ers breakup was in character for those characters. People thought they could change for the sake of keeping a winning team together, but it was a totally logical split given the history of those individuals.

I don't think you can say the same about New England. I don't want to suggest they gather at Kraft's house a sing Kumbaya every weekend, but there's never been any evidence that there's been an ego problem among the three that would lead to a parting.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:41pm

I was offering support of the writer's integrity, which you attacked, and not arguing whether his arguments in this particular piece are correct. His piece has gotten this much attention because Wickersham has earned respect. It's not something he dashed off in an hour.

Also because there's plenty of evidence to support that there's an ego problem. For instance, New England has offloaded all of its decent backup QBs for no obvious reason.

by Anon Ymous :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:13pm

Given the countless issues with the author's last piece about NE, many of which are known falsities, questioning his integrity is actually the appropriate response.

For instance, New England has offloaded all of its decent backup QBs for no obvious reason.

Brissett didn't develop like they thought and Brady's continued excellence forced NE's hand with JG. These is nothing mysterious about either player being traded. .

You could make the case that the JG's timing and compensation is eyebrow raising, but not the fact that he was moved.

by bravehoptoad :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:51pm

You really think they're happier with Brian Hoyer than Jacoby Brissett?

What are the known falsities?

by Anon Ymous :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:04pm

Yes, Brissett was going to be cut and Hoyer was a specific part of the trade, so there is no other conclusion to reach.

Pretty much everything about DFG was false, no need to rehash. Even if you disagree that we can know that things are definitely false, the entire piece was paranoia and innuendo, most of it being patently absurd.

As for this piece, I've followed the Pats closely for the entire Belichick tenure and I've never heard of a "Patriot of the Week" award... and neither have several media members. That's a simple thing, but it casts serious doubt on the validity of the rest. I've also posted a more central point below, which I'll copy here:


I was listening to the Wickersham interview on EEI just now (on demand with Holley et all) and he said something that raised every alarm in my head. It was something to the effect of:

"Having no plan in place for the most important position in the field was an enormous tell."

I can see the validity in this general statement, but what Wickersham seems to miss is that his reporting suffers from the same problem!

Here are the facts, according to Seth:

* Brady was unhappy about retaining JG this past offseason.
* Brady's unhappiness was know by Bob and Bill.
* Bill refused to trade JG anyway, and even moved on from Brissett.
* Bob and Bill presumably had many conversations about the QB position throughout the year.
* Yet, somehow, Bill was completely floored when Bob said it was time to move on from Jimmy.

Really? So the man renowned for having a plan for every situation was totally unprepared for the prospect of having to make a deal at the deadline?

To me, this seems implausible. Could Bill have been resigned and disappointed? Sure, but this just means Wickersham is too comfortable with exaggeration to take anything he says at face value. Frankly, to me this is an even worse example of "having no plan in place for the most important position" since more neutral speculation means that the team decided they still had more time to find a successor.

So, Seth, if trading both QBs is a tell that the narrative is missing something, why shouldn't I think the same tell in your piece indicates you are missing something?

by Anon Ymous :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:06pm


by ncuba :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:37pm

Would have been hard to trade Brady because of 14M dead money and perhaps also an urge by Brady to renegotiate salary if on another team (that doesn't funnel $ to TB12 for massages and electro water lol).

So if TB traded would seem like a backloaded, big money extension for Jimmy would be needed because a franchise tag hard to carry for 2018. Would mean a big ask of Kraft, also could be complicated to make everything work bc Brady and Jimmy have the same agent!

Don't think we'd see a juicy article about this if Jimmy didn't play so well lately while Tom fell off a bit and started hurting. I mean by FO numbers Bill should have benched Tom and brought on Jimmy to start in December if he still had him on roster! If Brady gets knocked out of a playoff game and they lose with Hoyer I think the knives will really come out in offseason.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:13pm

Don't think we'd see a juicy article about this if Jimmy didn't play so well lately

No doubt. If Garoppolo goes 2-3 with the 49ers, there's no story here at all.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:42pm

Well. The story would still be there; it just wouldn't be as newsworthy.

by morganja :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:15pm

Seth Wickersham is a very good writer. He is very careful in what he says, and what he doesn't say. The Raiders Vegas article Sin City, for example, requires re-reading several times to understand what he is reporting, but leaving unsaid.
This article also should be read multiple times.

by Richie :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:02pm

Do you have a link to the Vegas article?

by rj1 :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:17pm

I took the Garrapolo trade at the time as Belichick was going to retire when Brady did, it's what I've always thought would happen. It's better for both of their legacies that the Patriots after they're both gone muddle at 5-11 for a half-decade. Why Bob Kraft wants that however I don't understand.

This episode provides a different look at that if mostly truthful. I can see Belichick saying "I've done enough", retires, Brady wants to continue playing another few years, he'll have huge influence on whoever the next coach will be (he has huge power just from threatening to quit/retire if he doesn't like the choice), a bit like Lebron James and Erik Spoelstra, the coach will be the junior member of the relationship, and if Brady's as tight with Guerrero as the article makes it out to be, Guerrero'll likely be a team employee trainer.

A lot of speculation, but we'll know what happens within a couple months.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:44pm

I think it helped Bill Walsh's legacy that the 49ers tooted along for quite a few years without him. What helped him was when Seifert went to Carolina and stunk it up, leaving the impression that Walsh had done such a good job that the team could win Super Bowls just by coasting.

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:40am

I mean, Walsh had Steve Young ready to go. He really had done something amazing, a capstone to those 3 SB wins: he found a replacement for Joe Montana. It's such a familiar part of the story now, maybe we don't let the impact sink in, just how amazing that is.

It LOOKS like BB had done the same thing here. I'm not trying to send Jimmy G to the Hall of Fame off a 5-game sample, but at the very LEAST it's clear that he's a good QB who can help a team win. Jimmy G throwing to Gronk & Co seems like a recipe that a team could win a SB with. That's pretty remarkable.

Tossing that away just seems ridiculous to me.

by bravehoptoad :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:56pm

It sure looks that way now. Makes it easy to buy into the power-struggle narrative. But as someone up above said, if the 49ers go 2-3 over these last five games, it's not that obvious.

by David :: Thu, 01/11/2018 - 9:13am

Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.

If Garoppolo sucked (49ers go 2-3), then BB is happy to let him go, & keep looking for the replacement, and everyone is happy. But he didn't, he wasn't, and they aren't.

by Alternator :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:20pm

On the flip side:

Brady is the MVP favorite, led a legendary Super Bowl comeback last year, and has now led the team to the top seed in the AFC. While age will eventually bring him low, it hasn't done so yet, and as good as Jimmy has looked he's not yet a proven replacement. It's not yet pressing to move on, and so the team decided not to do so.

Choosing to keep Brady and draft his replacement, like they've done repeatedly in the past, makes sense and fits with past history; the Patriots were willing to spend second and third round draft picks on a backup QB to guard against injury-driven collapse, so there's no reason to believe they aren't willing when it's age-driven collapse. If Brady has one more year at a Pro Bowl level, and then one more at solid starter, that's enough to bring along a second round project QB.

Now if the Patriots don't draft a QB prospect next year in the first two or three rounds, all bets are off, but history has shown that's not likely.

by JonFrum :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 1:30pm

I started watching the Patriots in the Sullivan/Holovak/Parelli era. The last ten years have been gravy for me - I'll die football-happy.

by Kalyan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:52pm

I visited US in Jan 2004 and have been hooked to NFL ever since. It helps that the home team won the Super Bowl.

I told myself after the SB49 win that the Pats have a life long get out of jail card from me.

SB5 win & the post season run the year before is just a good bonus

by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:47pm

I can't see BB continuing if Kraft took roster control out of his hands. That's been fundamental to their relationship.

If he retires at the end of the year, or shoots his way out of town, it's probably true. If not, its probably not. I just can't see him continuing to work for an owner who ripped the largest roster decision in franchise history out of his hands.

That being said - there's very few sources in this article, and a whole lot of "this was said" about meetings that only Belichick and Kraft were in, and Wickersham made no effort to contact any of the people involved.

Which makes me think its mostly just unsubstantiated rumor.

by Kalyan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:48pm

There are a few thing that are odd in this article:

1. Claiming that this could be Bill Belichick's last year with the Pats is ULTRA-BOLD
2. Kraft claiming that he went too far in supporting Brady in deflate gate
3. NE staffer sticking it to Brady and calling him brittle
4. NE staffer panicking on QB. Bill has shown repeatedly (2008 season, 2016 start of season) that he can do well with QBs not named Brady. And for a staffer to fear that the sky was falling is just plain odd & laughable

I saw Coach Belichick to be unusually chatty after SB51. He shared the story that he & his girlfriend watched the repeat of SB51 in their hotel room that night just to make sure it wasn't a dream. Fallon was winding the segment when this happened. Now, if i took that one piece and blew it into a large story, it wouldn't sell.

That's the issue with the article. It goes too far in a few places and tries balancing with lots of off the record comments.

Either ways, hollywood style juicy articles comes to NFL. YAWN!


by Will Allen :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:11pm

I think it reflects well on Darth that he took the care to trade his newest Sith apprentice to a team in the NFC coached by a guy Darth thought was well qualified to finish training the apprentice.

by morganja :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:20pm

New England fans are in full denial...and typical attack mode.

Wickersham produces quality journalistic work. He does that by sometimes using sources who would very much rather not be known. Attacking this as a 'hit piece' is absurd. Hit pieces are full of gratuitous attacks that paint one or more 'victims' as a villain.

Which person in this article is described in a negative way?

Wickersham ascribes decisions and conflicts to the different and well known motivations of each of the actors.
Belichick is motivated by his legacy and what he considers best for the team.
Kraft is motivated by loyalty to Brady.
Brady is motivated by wanting to never stop playing, and to deny that he is aging, not only for typical reasons that we all suffer through, but because he believes in the magic of the TB12 program, which he hopes to one day make him as rich as his wife, but only if he doesn't age like everyone else.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:54pm

Sure. There are some truths involved, given what we know about the players. Belichick is absolutely motivated by his legacy...as is Kraft and Brady. Brady is the most competitive human being you'll ever meet. Belichick isn't afraid to let everybody know that he is the force behind the organization. Kraft loves Brady like a son. Etc.

The problem occurs when you take these things and then write that because of all this, there is a rift between Belichick and Kraft and Belichick and Brady. Everything in my first paragraph was also true 10 years ago. This is as much BS as that Brady and McDaniels screaming at each other on the sideline was evidence of a falling out.

by bravehoptoad :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 6:45pm

dryheat, how closely did you read the article? There are more than a few things in it that were not true 10 years ago.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 7:07pm

And you know they are true how? Because an unnamed "staffer" said so? Because ESPN's editorial staff is so trustworthy about vetting and confirming what anonymous sources say? (remember Adam Schefter blowing up Kelli Naqi's story while she was on-air trying to plug it?
Yay for Schefter, but ESPN brass gave the OK for Naqi to go with her crap). Because the story was written by a media outlet that's all about hawt takez these days? Compelling!

That said, I do believe that Kraft informed Belichick that Brady was going to be on the NE roster as long as Brady wanted to be, and believed that since the day JG was traded.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:39pm

Very closely. I was referring to the first paragraph of my post, not the article.

Look, all we can do now is wait to see what happens. Who knows? Maybe Brady is indeed willing to go to the mattresses over perceived shabby treatment of Guerrero. Maybe Belichick really is angling to leave the organization he's spent 18 years making into the envy of professional sports for a sorry Giants team. I just don't see it. I think this article was devised, written, and published so that the sports media world is all talking about it going into the weekend. And it's working. I guess I'm contributing to the problem though. That ends with this period.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:20pm

I find the article very plausible, in that Belichick for whatever faults he has is not dumb or naïve. If he wants to keep coaching in NE past, say, next year, he had to know that it was better to bet on Garoppolo than Brady (assuming, as I think we all do, that he valued Garoppolo). Brady's stated goal of playing at a high level until 45 is so absurd he might as well have stated that he could prevent sunburns by drinking water...oh, wait.

Which brings me to Guerrero. He's a blatant scam artist and I am honestly surprised that Belichick let him have access to the team's facilities for as long as he did. Best-case, Brady seems like a clueless cult member; worst-case, he's just as much of a scammer as Guerrero.

by lenny65 :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:45pm

It sounded plausible to me too. It's interesting how the "TB12" thing is tied to Brady, obviously a superlative once-in-a-lifetime specimen, as "proof" it "works". Perhaps it does indeed work and work well for Brady, however is "TB12" responsible for Brady's amazing longevity or does his amazing longevity simply validate "TB12"? I mean it's possible that he could play at his current level until he's 45, however it's not something I'd bet on, as no one can deny that the human body simply isn't built to endure NFL-style punishment forever.

by PatsFan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:23pm
by PatsFan :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 8:21pm
by Bryan Knowles :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 9:19pm

"I get that many of my beliefs are not mainstream and I know they may differ from others'."

Like the FTC! On multiple occasions!

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:07pm

I'd trust him more if his last name was Medico instead of Guerrero.

by stoste :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:20pm

Does anyone else think that it's somewhat impressive that a team where there is a rift between the 3 most important people there, a 40 year-old QB who seems to be declining, poor defence and host of injured starters, has gone 13-3 and locked up the no.1 seed for their conference? Or is this just embarrassing for the rest of the AFC that this has been allowed to happen?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:02pm

It's not uncommon in the NBA. The Lakers and Heat have done this.

The Yankees were an inning or two from the WS with a coach they intended to fire.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:08pm

The 70's Yankees may be the classic example. Winning the WS despite rifts between owner Steinbrenner, manager Billy Martin, and Mr October Reggie Jackson. Steinbrenner actually tried to trade Martin to the White Sox for their manager.

by David :: Thu, 01/11/2018 - 9:22am

The latter, though I wish I knew for sure. I believe (but cannot prove) that the AFC has been historically weak throughout BB's tenure at NE. BB is a great coach, but I believe his record is significantly inflated due to the weakness of the competition within the conference.

It's very hard for me to think how to investigate this, however, as the confounding variables are everywhere. Simply put, is NE great because all others suck, or do all others suck because NE is so great.

I feel like a place to start is to look at the stat about only three QBs (and Joe Flacco) have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl since time immemorial. However, not sure how to proceed from there.

What's for sure is that BB's level of competition - particularly in the last decade - feels markedly different to Walsh's level of competition (Washington, NY Giants, Chicago). How do you measure this - I have little idea

by RobotBoy :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:39am

Hard to believe that Kraft would go against his 18 years of hand offs treatment given all the success it has brought him, but he's also quite old and maybe not as sharp as he once, and that amount of money always eventually fogs a brain.

The smart football move, the Belichick move, was to let Brady play out this season and, if all went well, ride off into the sunset with another Lombardi. If he didn’t want to go, trade him or cut him. Simple. You know what you have in Jimmy G, which is undoubtedly more at 28 than Brady at 42.
Brady’s decline over the second half of the season is completely due to age – no matter how many goat testicles you gargle or how many sacrifices you make to Papa Legba, your body doesn’t recover as quickly after 30. Bill Belichick is not a sentimental fellow and he’d be completely prepared to send Ol’ Tom to the glue factory. Instead, you’re stuck with a guy who might have one, maybe two seasons left.
If Kraft really interfered, he deserves monumental failure.

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. - Yogi Berra

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:17am

I have no doubt that, in the Spring of 2017, the idea was to see how well Brady could play in the 2017 season. If he looked like he was declining, Jimmy would be the starter for 2018 and Brady would be "encouraged" to retire. Turned out Brady could still play at an MVP level. Since Jimmy wanted to start somewhere in 2018, he made it clear to Belichick that he wouldn't resign unless he was given at least a shot at the starter's job. Belichick at one point laughed off inquiries about trading Brady.
So, since he couldn't reasonably keep two starting QBs on the roster any longer, he traded Jimmy at the trade deadline.
I'm sure Belichick kept Kraft apprised about the situation, but the notion that Kraft had to weigh in on the issue and tell Belichick to trade Jimmy is without foundation.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:13am

A shitty article by a shitty reporter at a shitty website.

Many of the salacious claims have been refuted already by other reporters on the Patriots' beat. No, Jimmy was not locked out of the TB12 facility. No, he didn't have a bad relationship with Brady. No, Kraft did not have a 3 hour long meeting with Belichick in which he ordered the coach to trade Garoppolo, all to placate an irate Tom Brady.

About the only stuff that is true relates to Guerrero.

For a better perspective on these issues, see Tom Curran's reporting. Wickersham claims Garoppolo was offered a large contract that he turned down. Curran says that no contract offer was ever made.

Kraft, Brady, and Belichick have already published a join statement essentially calling this piece garbage.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:59am

It occurred to me that there's a strange detail to this story that no-one's talking about. That Belichick sat down with Shanahan for a couple of hours at Combine and talked to him about what happened at the Super Bowl and so on.

I'm sure coaches do talk more than we realise but a few hours of talking stuff through with an opposition coach who you probably can't learn much back from?

It says to me that he doesn't see Shanahan as a threat which means he's been planning to retire in the next 2-3 seasons. They don't meet the 49ers in regular season until 2020 so the other possible detriment would be the Super Bowl and I doubt he saw them as a credible threat for at least two years.

And of course that he then Grop traded to that situation (once the team was definitely not making the playoffs) reinforces the logic.

More and more I think BB has hit 65 and is retiring at year's end.

by JimZipCode :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 4:54am

>> Belichick sat down with Shanahan for a couple of hours
>> at Combine and talked to him about what happened at the
>> Super Bowl and so on. I'm sure coaches do talk more than
>> we realise but a few hours of talking stuff through with an
>> opposition coach who you probably can't learn much back from?

That struck me too.

At first I thought that detail made the story bullshit. But as I've thought about it more -- it doesn't say that they talked tactics and X-&-Os. Could be that they talked about how to handle moments like that, and how to recover from them, etc etc. It doesn't need to be an exchange of details that would give away a competitive advantage.

Belichick has done mentor stuff with some coaches around the league, from time to time. Some coaches also team up to do things like go on USO tours to military bases and whatnot.

Side note, the idea that Belichick can't learn back much from Kyle Shanahan – BB is a notorious football learner, who'll go to a college team's Spring practice and watch them install their rushing plays. He's a junkie, he just CANNOT GET ENOUGH football info & methods. He wants to know everything. Kyle S is a very respected OC and play-caller: that Atlanta offense was special. I'm sure BB wouldn't be able to resist learning whatever he could pick up. I think he just loves it.

I mean, they all do. Xs-&-Os and practice plans and whatnot are just catnip to all those guys; BB as much as any of them, if not more so.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:11pm

Good points in the sidenote. You're right, BB can probably still find things to learn that the vast majority of us would overlook. And even if there isn't anything to learn, he won't seeing validating that as a waste of time.

by CaffeineMan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:18pm

Also, Belichick likes to teach. One season when Shanahan the elder was out of work, Belichick let him hang around training camp a bunch and that was a while ago. He did the same more recently with Chip Kelly and Schiano, I believe. This is very much in character for Belichick. Everyone knows that his father was a scout/coach, but his mother was a teacher as well.

by PatsFan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 12:25pm

Interesting take from Mike Reiss this morning (Reiss, along with Tom Curran, is probably the most "inside" beat writer):

"Inner turmoil" would be too strong of a description from my perspective. The Patriots have always had a demanding, challenging work environment. My feeling is that however one describes the dynamic in 2017 -- and I do believe this year has come with its own unique challenges specific to Tom Brady, Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Alex Guerrero, Robert Kraft, etc. -- it isn't anything that can't be overcome for everyone involved to accomplish their goals. Winning can always smooth over some of the turbulence. I also believe it is accurate that some in the building wonder about Belichick's future, and that's partially because he doesn't reveal his intentions to anyone, coupled with some of the unique dynamics from the season.

by Anon Ymous :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:07pm

I was listening to the Wickersham interview on EEI just now (on demand with Holley et all) and he said something that raised every alarm in my head. It was something to the effect of:

"Having no plan in place for the most important position in the field was an enormous tell.

I can see the validity in this general statement, but what Wickersham seems to miss is that his reporting suffers from the same problem!

Here are the facts, according to Seth:

* Brady was unhappy about retaining JG this past offseason.
* Brady's unhappiness was know by Bob and Bill.
* Bill refused to trade JG anyway, and even moved on from Brissett.
* Bob and Bill presumably had many conversations about the QB position throughout the year.
* Yet, somehow, Bill was completely floored when Bob said it was time to move on from Jimmy.

Really? So the man renowned for having a plan for every situation was totally unprepared for the prospect of having to make a deal at the deadline?

To me, this seems implausible. Could Bill have been resigned and disappointed? Sure, but this just means Wickersham is too comfortable with exaggeration to take anything he says at face value. Frankly, to me this is an even worse example of "having no plan in place for the most important position" since more neutral speculation means that the team decided they still had more time to find a successor.

So, Seth, if trading both QBs is a tell that the narrative is missing something, why shouldn't I think the same tell in your piece indicates you are missing something?

by PatsFan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:26pm

One thing NE could not do was trade or cut Brady before 6/2/2017.

Would have been a huge cap hit.


by PatsFan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:46am

From Mike Reiss this morning:
In addition to preferring to trade Garoppolo out of the conference, here is another reason I believe the Patriots didn’t even dial up Cleveland to get the Browns involved: The last time they worked with them on a trade, for linebacker Jamie Collins in 2016, it was described to me as an arduous process that was the antithesis of other deals the Patriots had made that came together quickly (e.g. Cardinals trade for Chandler Jones, which Arizona GM Steve Keim later used the word “stealth” to describe working with New England). When the Patriots are making a trade, the trust and confidence level they have in the other team to see it through is part of their consideration. That, I believe, was another factor that gave John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers the decisive edge over the Browns for Garoppolo.

by Anon Ymous :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:27am

It also pried loose the most immediately useful backup QB, which is something most people completely ignore. Hoyer is no great shakes, but I suspect Bill considers him at least as valuable as another 3rd or 4th round pick would have been.

by Alternator :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:30pm

Hoyer is just good enough to take advantage of the surrounding talent, which the Patriots offense is currently blessed with. If Brady has miss half a game like in the '01 playoffs, then Hoyer stands a good chance of holding down the fort like Bledsoe managed.

A secondary consideration is that nobody is going to clamor for Hoyer to take over if Brady has a slow start next year, nor will he hinder the development of a promising rookie next year. He's pretty much an ideal safe backup.

by morganja :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:11pm

"Many of the salacious claims have been refuted already by other reporters on the Patriots' beat"

Intriguing. Clearly Pats fans exist in a closed loop in which they accept as gospel what their'beat reporters' tell them. Strange since the local 'beat reporters in every other town are a bit of a joke. Patriot fans refuse to believe anything to the contrary, which is why so many of them still believe the absurdity that Brady didn't deflate footballs.
This also explains why Patriot fans are so belligerent on this site. It really is the only place that they hear any criticism of the Patriots. They don't know how to deal with it, except to attack the blasphemers as heretics, lest the mysterious football gods stop calling DPI for them on critical third downs and overturning opponent touchdowns.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 2:08pm

Holy shit are you stupid. Certainly too dumb to realize that most NE media members think it somehow improves their stock to be anti-Patriot whenever possible, some to the point where they became laughing stocks. And yet still many keep playing that card.

So, no, Patriot fans are used to criticism. The reason you get so much pushback - the very pushback you undoubtedly seek - is that your criticisms are uninformed inanities.

by morganja :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 2:19pm

Ah. The gratuitous personal attack again.

Is it possible that your definition of 'anti-patriots' is a bit expansive? Possibly anything below 95% sycophantic / 5% gushing is 'anti-patriots' to you?

You do realize that the New England Patriots are a football team, not a religion?

by ClavisRa :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 3:51am

There are so many problems with Wickersham's piece it's hard to know where to begin. Numerous details have already been refuted as being plain wrong; or were demonstrably wrong with a tiny bit of research. Kraft directly denied the supposed half-day meeting about Garoppolo, and he signed off on the trade that Bill initiated. Garoppolo was never locked out of TB12 center, and had been going there for a long time before the injuyr, and had his own pass key to come and go. The list of errors is embarrassingly long.

But more than getting so many facts wrong, he also makes claims of actions, words and beliefs of Kraft, Belichick and Brady that are completely contrary to their character. That should always be a huge red flag. There are numerous tales from people who have had personal and profession relationships with them, that all exemplify a consistency of character. You have to be exceptionally gullible to believe the claims the Wicker sham makes that baldly contradict an extensive record, like Kraft ordered Belichick to make a trade, or Brady is afraid of competition; claims that have zero supporting evidence, and fly in the face of everything we know about these people.

Sweet mercy you are gullible people.

Also, "the beginning of the end" is one of the most inanely meaningless phrases ever.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:29am

I'm still failing to understand why NE fans have some desperate emotional need for the piece to be false.

Yes, I think the article is deeply problematic, wrong in a lot of places, full of exaggerations, and another one of Wickersham's "I know every single person in it is an unnamed, off-the-record 'source', but just trust me!" pieces.

However, so what? If it were 100% true, so what? Why are you so emotionally invested in Kraft not telling BB that Brady will be on the roster till the day he dies? Or in Brady not wanting to see JG gone? Or in BB not being frustrated?

As Belichick likes to say, it is what it is. If the article is false, the troika know it and it's not going to bother them past an initial frustration. And if it's true, the article is the least of the team's problems.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:14pm

Yeah, it kind of had a "who cares?" aspect to it for me as well, beyond that I'd prefer medical quackery to have less traction. Beyond that, it all feels like middle school gossip to me, the truth of which is inconsequential.

by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 2:05pm

I don't have an emotional need for the piece to be false, that's just the result of my evaluation. {shrugs}

by ncuba :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 6:08pm

I don't think I've seen it discussed in this thread, but and interesting question to me is "who are the sources?"