New England’s search for an heir apparent continues as draft day grows closer and the league awaits for Bill Belichick’s next move at quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo, 26, a claimant once believed to be the next in line for quarterback of the Patriots has instead assumed his role as the face of the future for the San Francisco 49ers, signing a five-year, $137.5 million deal. After holding onto Garoppolo throughout the 2017 offseason, the Patriots pulled off one of the most controversial roster moves in the Belichick-era. In a trade that shocked fans and adversaries alike, Jimmy Garoppolo was sent to San Francisco in exchange for a second-round pick. A move that would leave experts befuddled, asking themselves what exactly they were failing to understand.
Franchise quarterbacks are as elusive as anything in professional sports yet Belichick appeared to possess two of them. Behind the greatest quarterback of all time was someone suitable enough to inherit the role once Brady decided to hang up his cleats. For Patriot-haters who ridiculed the team’s future once Brady retires, Garoppolo was a swift kick in the gonads. Jimmy G was a special talent and Belichick knew it.
Then two months later came Seth Wickersham’s notorious article that marked “the beginning of the end.” The article cited the trade as the center of a deeply-rooted feud amongst Belichick, Brady, and Kraft, and published with its fair share of backlash. According to an interview with the Boston Globe, Wickersham said in response to the article he “received death threats, had his number posted online, and read a number of vulgar emails.” Supporters of the team refused to acknowledge what was reported due to its anonymous sources and the authors previous coverages on the “Spygate” and “Deflategate” scandals. Members of the organization itself including owner Bob Kraft vehemently denied the reports, releasing a press release and continuing their season business as usual - involving a comeback in the AFC Championship and a superbowl appearance.
As the world knows the Patriots would lose the super bowl 41-33 and the team’s best cornerback Malcolm Butler would be spontaneously benched and watch the Eagles offense amass 538 total yards and decimate New England’s secondary. In what was reported as a game-time decision and a shock to Butler and his teammates, the team’s star cornerback would ride the bench and watch his defense get the shit kicked out of them. After the game reporters would swarm Belichick with questions but he was as tight-lipped as usual, “we put the players and game plan out there that we thought would be the best, like we always do.”
It was a move that didn’t make a lick of sense.
Butler played in nearly 98% of the team’s defensive snaps the past three years. He played in 100% of the team’s defensive snaps throughout the postseason. Yet when it came time to play in the biggest game all year Butler wouldn’t step on the field. When Belichick mutters gameplan in reference to benching Butler it’s not without reason people mutter ‘bullshit’.
Even at halftime when the Eagles led the Patriots 22-12 and Nick Foles had already torched the Patriots secondary for 215 yards passing, Belichick made no visible adjustments other than switching Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore’s matchup assignments. The greatest defensive mind in football history, a man praised for his adjustments and locker room prowess still felt the team’s all-pro cornerback belonged on the bench. Belichick rode it out with Eric Rowe, Johnson Bademosi, and Jonathan Jones. In Belichick’s own words, “players win games, coaches lose games.”
The season's drama was capped off by Gronkowski’s farewell post on instagram dedicated to his friend and now-former teammate Danny Amendola. After signing with the Miami Dolphins last week, Gronkowski wrote... “Stay FREE, Be HAPPY.” This was likely a reference to the way Belichick runs the team. Nearly a month after publicly contemplating retirement it appears the reports of Gronkowski’s unhappiness may be true.
Even for the New England Patriots - a team accustomed to controversy, spotlights, and public scrutiny - this past year has been a lot to take in. However, it remains simple. The tension in the locker room consists of two key components.
Both short and long-term complications
Five years, and two superbowl rings ago a documentary series on Tom Brady’s personal life seemed nearly inconceivable.
The TB12 Method.
Tom vs Time.
Guest appearances on late night talk shows.
As warranted as all the media attention may be, it’s never been how Belichick operates. While no one can blame Tom Brady for growing his brand and [awkwardly] demonstrating muscle-pliability massages on Stephen Colbert; it’s not the Patriot Way”. Since Belichick took over the organization in 2000 no one until now has had a public persona to the scale of Brady.
TB12’s presence in the locker room grew out of control the minute Alex Guerrero advised a player not to do squats. With all the speculation that came with Wickersham’s article - the only quote that glared with undeniable truth was when Brady allegedly told his teammates, "Bill's answer to everything is to lift more weights." Belichick, 65, is from the era when athletes chain-smoked cigarettes and believed bench pressing was the key to longevity. The tandem’s philosophies were destined to clash.
Albeit it’s Tom Brady. Tom Terrific. The Pharaoh. California Cool.
Breaking News: Belichick doesn’t give a damn about avocado ice cream or Alex Guerrero’s theory on soft muscle tissue. For as long as the future hall-of-fame coach remains, things will be run his way. For a baby-boomer that way encompasses some squats.
Belichick wants to set the Patriots up for the future, cement his legacy, and go retire to Nantucket Island where he can spend the rest of his days fishing and deflecting media attention. No one could have expected Brady to hang on like this at 41, and it’s complicated the quarterback situation. It’s hard to predict the future when the guy in question avoids strawberries and carbs like he’s Dracula starring down a piece of garlic. Belichick has been watching game film since he was nine and has football broken down into a science. Kale salads and a diet depleted of tomatoes threw everything off.
Belichick will remain with the organization until he can assure two things:
1. Josh McDaniels can keep the ship afloat.
As reported by Mike Reiss, Josh McDaniels decided to turn down the Indianapolis Colts’ job offer as head coach due to assurance that he would succeed Belichick.
2. The team has its next quarterback.
As the legacy of the Sith follows the guiding principle of the “rule of two,” we must ask ourselves how “The Hoodie” will devise his plan of succession. As one of the greatest dynasties in sports history nears its final days, and it’s reign of control over the AFC reaches its twilight, opponents eagerly await for the genius of Bill Belichick to manifest itself as one final nomination, the team’s next quarterback.
With the 31st overall pick and a slim chance of moving-up, it’s safe to say the big-name quarterbacks will be off the board: Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson. That leaves the Patriots with a handful of unsung prospects to choose from including Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Washington State’s Luke Falk, and Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta.
Mock drafts will cite Kyle Lauletta due to his love for lacrosse and family ties to the Naval Academy. Others will say Mason Rudolph as he passes the “Bill Parcells Quarterback Test” and possesses the physical tools needed to deliver tough throws. Luke Falk set several Pac-12 records, including total offense, passing touchdowns, passing yards, and completions.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the future of the team's quarterback position, one thing is unquestionable - Belichick is going to do his homework. Whoever the Patriots decide to select in April - if anybody at all - expect them to reciprocate the "Patriot Way" well beyond the years of their rookie contract.
The International Olympic Committee has decided this week that the 2022 Olympics in Beijing will feature a new event, the gunthlon. The event would feature athletes running through a snow-covered course to occasionally stop and blast away targets with machine guns and hand grenades
“People enjoy the biathlon because it involves guns,” says committee President Thomas Bach. “We figured, why not just take away the part that sucks - cross-country skiing - and just replace it with more guns.”
The new “U.S. Gunthalon Association” begun recruiting athletes this past weekend at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Prospective members were required to fill out a questionnaire:
“I love the idea,” said NASCAR fanatic Earl Baker, formerly known in Jackson, Mississippi as “Gator”. “I ain’t one for snow but I guess it ain’t nothing a couple [beers] couldn’t solve. When asked if he’d appreciate the opportunity to travel to Beijing he added, “I ain’t been to Japan before but sure I’d like to go represent America over there.”
According to international bookmakers, The United States have already opened up as heavy favorites to take all three medals in 2022.
If you're guilty of spitting gum in a water fountain, you need to go to confession and beg mercy for your sins.
It's been nearly a month since New Years Day and yet you've managed to keep the ultimate lie alive - you're going to get in shape. You read a couple of articles on the subject so naturally you're now an expert on fitness; hell, you even bought some powder that when mixed with water makes water more hydrating. You're ready. You get to the gym. It's the moment of truth.
You spot a treadmill and it's far more terrifying than how you remembered. You walk closer as it takes shape of the gateway to hell. Your vision blurs and beads of sweat begin to trickle from your forehead. You think you might faint so you reach for the nearest wall to lean on. Luckily you brought your gallon jug filled with hydration syrup. 'Hah,' you think to yourself. 'Everyone is looking at me like I'm an asshole for bringing my jug of Branched-chain amino acids. Thank God that guy at GNC packaged this stuff with my nitro-amphetamine pre-workout for only $79.99.'
After a replenishing swig you put the cap back on your BCAAs and regain your senses. There the treadmill sits, staring at you and mocking your entire existence. You stagger on top of the foul beast and ready yourself, prepared to pay the ultimate price. Everyone at the gym has gathered around to watch you - your heroics on display for all the world to see. Then just as you press the button to jog a moment of clarity hits you like a ton of bricks.
You'd rather try out the latest Oreo cookie flavor and watch re-runs of Bar Rescue then ever step foot on this hamster wheel again.
After three agonizingly long minutes of jogging you figure you might as well give the richter scale a break and end this fitness masquerade before someone gets hurt. You can't remember the last time your throat was this dry and stumble over to the water fountain. 'Oh dear god,' someone's left a piece of gum on top of the drain.'
A detailed diagram showing how water fountains work.
Experts predict - all while remaining anonymous - that by 2020 approximately 1 in 4 people will lack access to clean water fountains due to the perils of discharged gum.
This week, lawmakers from Illinois and New York have proposed bills that would ban tackle football for children younger than ages 12 and 13. Both legislation attempts are two of the latest efforts to help protect young children from the risks of traumatic brain injuries and permanent neurological damage later in life. Efforts have picked up steam in light of a Boston University study last year that concluded boys who play football before their 12th birthday have a higher risk of brain damage than guess this... Boys who don't.
I'm far from one of those giddy old men who think penalties and safety precautions are ruining the game. I've suffered a few concussions in my days of contact sports; including one while playing football in 7th grade that temporarily left me with the short-term memory of a goldfish. Concussions are no joking matter, nor are the efforts to minimize them in the brains of developing children.
But here's a crazy idea - why don't we leave this kind of decision to the parents and guardians involved? People get pissed when told how to parent - how is it any different when coming from a legislator?
Imagine yourself watching your child play pee-wee football and some guy in a suit approaches you. He introduces himself and cites how dangerous the sport is, going as far as to tell you that little Jimmy shouldn't be playing. The man then proceeds to walk onto the field waving his arms and yelling for all the kids to get off. You'd ask yourself, "who's this asshole and why's he telling my kids what to do?"
I was frozen in disbelief as I watched two homeless men come to blows over an 18-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
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