It has been so long it’s hard to believe it’s the same team. Surely by 2021 we are all complaining about the 10 year losing streak of our now old enough to be beloved Hartford Patriots. We definitely have never forgiven Kraft (he can stick that mister crap in his eye) for doing his best Jerry Jones impression and squandering a FIRST ROUND draft pick on a coach who went 11-30 in his ignominious 2.5 season tenure. That alternate reality would at least explain how we got here.
Of course it didn’t go that way, the hallowed halls of Patriot Place have arisen around Gillette stadium since 2002. That first round “squander” has resulted in one of the most successful partnerships in sports history. Bill Belichick is in part responsible for 17 playoff seasons, and 6 Super Bowl wins. By almost any definition he is the most successful coach, and the Patriots the most successful team in the history of sports (Maybe not total championships but to be fair baseball leagues have been around a lot longer than football). It goes without saying that a certain level of skill is required to achieve this result, but it is important to remember that nearly the entirety of his success laid on the oft purported injured shoulder of one Thomas Edward Brady. Brady, having been picked 199th in the draft, even the biggest Belichick sycophant has to admit there was a measure of luck in the third quarterback on the depth chart ultimately going on to win seven Super Bowls (including one last year at 43 for someone else...Why can’t we get guys like that?)
Which brings us to last night, the NFL draft is on television and while I haven’t actually watched this program for probably a decade I find myself switching back-and-forth as the picks advance because I am genuinely curious what the patriots plan is to get us back out of the slump. The fact of the matter is they are coming off a season that is generally a harbinger of the end of the good times; the last remnants of the winning teams are withering away, and the new elements have not developed as quickly as was hoped. The result was a mediocre playoff performance that will not even be duplicated if we don’t see tremendous improvement.
Consider this, the situation was so bad that for the first time ever Bill Belichick drafted a quarterback in round 1, consider the other teams that drafted quarterbacks that early in this draft, The Jets, the 49ers, the Jaguars… The Patriots. For 20 years if the patriots were trading up and there was a high potential defensive player, or a top-flight unique skilled offensive player that they were chasing. This, however, appears to look, quack like, and walk like a team that is desperately trying to grab its next franchise quarterback before fading back into mediocrity.
With Tom Brady, there was a bottle sitting on the shelf with lightning in it and no one even realized it until Drew Bledsoe got injured. With Mac Jones we went to the store with bottles of lightning for sale and purchased one off the shelf… Everyone is expecting there to be lightning in the bottle. Particularly when cam Newton gets off to a rough start next year, people will already be clamoring to have this kid start… Start down his road toward the quarterback scrapheap maybe, but people will want him if we start out 2-4. The internet doesn’t have enough text storage capacity for me to list the recent starting quarterbacks of some of the other teams that were surrounding us in this draft, between the Jaguars, dolphins, 49ers, and really about half of the other teams in the league, we could list hundreds of quarterbacks in the exact same situation as Mac Jones that have not been successful. Some of them in much better apparent physical condition.
I’m not really big into the whole idea of body shaming someone, I myself am certainly not in peak physical condition. I’m also 38 years old, was not picked 15th in the NFL draft last night, and will not be receiving millions of dollars to be in good physical shape. I’m not positive a professional athlete can be body shamed, an opinion I developed when somebody tried to suggest that I was being mean to Pablo Sandoval for suggesting that he was too fat to do his job. Funny thing about the truth, it’s mean sometimes.
Will this pudgy Nick Saban starter be the next Tom Brady? Will he be so successful that we will ignore his ridiculous dietary habits, absurdly boring fan interactions, and frankly dopey outlook on life? (just like our favorite Tom Brady) signs point to probably not, there have been a lot more first round failures than successes since Belichick started his tenure, my guess is we are doomed to about 10 years of 7-9 to an overachieving 10-6 one year, there will be a playoff appearance, and they will even win the first round but never really contend for the Super Bowl championship.
Am I being honest? Or just awful? Time will tell I suppose, but one thing is for certain… When you read the list of the rest of the teams like New England who were scrambling for quarterbacks early in the draft last night… The logos almost don’t matter because we are all playing in the same town, Loserville.