In March Tom Brady officially left the Patriot’s and signed up to be a Buccaneer and suddenly, the juggernaut of the AFC (and the entire NFL, really) was relegated from a postseason fixture to a playoff wannabe.
Suddenly, all that has changed, and the Patriots are once again hovering closer to the top of the AFC (and NFL) power rankings with the signing of former league MVP, quarterback Cam Newton.
News of Newton’s signing with the Patriots blasted off around the league like the ceremonial muskets fired once the home team scores a touchdown at Gillette Stadium.
The NFL officially released the schedule for the New England Patriots 2020 season and it isn’t a particularly easy one.
The 16 opponents on the schedule have a combined .530 winning percentage from a season ago.
Because of this (and you know, losing arguably the best quarterback in NFL history), the sports media is abuzz with predictions the Patriots and Coach Belichick will lay down and tank (purposely lose games to secure a higher draft pick) in order to get a chance at the multi-talented, extremely coveted Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, in next year’s draft.
Amongst the pundits, the Pats’ season slate was labeled a ‘perfect tanking for Trevor schedule’.
After losing out in the bring-Tom-Brady-back sweepstakes, such a schedule and a chance at Trevor is a huge break for the rebuilding Pats and ol’ faithful schemer Belichick, right?
And here’s why.
First, if we are to dispel the theory of the Pats tanking, we have to look closely at all angles and at the biggest development this off-season: quarterback Tom Brady has left the building.
Tight end joins Tom Brady in Tampa Bay: says he’s ready to play again
BY LORENZO RECUPERO
In a development completely shocking to all New England sports fans, Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski is back from retirement.
But his return won’t be spent with the Patriots.
The entire NFL world was rattled again by news coming out of New England. First it was the greatest quarterback to ever play the game who made his departure, and now the greatest tight to ever play the game will officially be picking up his things and moving on as well.
After flirting with a return for a full season and play- ing with the emotions of all New Englanders, Gronk announced Tuesday he will come out of retirement — to play ball with Tom Brady down south.
The Super Bowl without Tom Brady and the Patriots was a world championship game without much meaning for New England football fans.
I speak for most of us New England Patriots devotees who watched the Super Bowl, who lamented at the same time that the Pats, led by the GOAT (Brady), were not in it.
Until the day of the game we weren’t caring who was going to win or lose. We were mostly considering whether or not Brady would leave the Pats after two decades and six Super Bowls, or whether he will stay.
The game came and went. Patrick Mahomes and former Pat Jimmy Garoppolo engaged in a battle destined to be won by Mahomes daring and precision near the end when needed most with just 6 minutes to go.
Again, who really cared among us from around here? I didn’t.
If we could pull the levers with cosmic-like certitude, Tom Brady would play one more season in New England. Come what may, he should end his career here and only here.
If it were only that simple.
The season ended Saturday, and the drama/speculation dial is turned to 10. TB12 is a free agent, he’s 42, and his play this season was relatively pedestrian. Unfair as it sounds, there’s a harsh argument to be made for the Pats to file divorce papers. Brady might fancy being the first NFL player eligible for Social Security, but organizations are dutybound to balance short-, mid-, and long-term needs. Guys in their 40s gum up the works.