I almost decided not to even bother writing this article. I really did. But with tomorrow being a bitterly cold Friday following what was a snow day for most that will likely see a lot of people choose to stay home again, I figured I’d get ahead of this now so that when the internet explodes in a few hours, I’ll have already put this behind me.
According to Boston sports journalist Bruce Allen, ESPN will be putting out an article tomorrow about an alleged rift between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Bob Kraft:
Source: ESPN readying new hit piece on Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft set to publish tomorrow morning at 8am. The topic will be a power struggle among the trio as to who deserves the most credit for the dynasty.— Bruce Allen (@bruceallen) January 5, 2018
I guess there’s something about trading Garoppolo, who gets credit for the dynasty, and I don’t even know what else. The article’s author is none other than Seth Wickersham, who has an amazing knack for writing articles like this one that just so happen to come out at incredibly opportune times.
Jason LaCanfora has already refuted potential tidbits in the article:
For those asking preemptive questions, regardless of what you might read/hear Friday, Tom Brady never pushed for Jimmy G to be dealt— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 5, 2018
and I’m sure we’ll be getting all kinds of conflicting reports over the next few days. The people who want to believe it likely already believe it without having read a single word and there’s no convincing them otherwise. The people who don’t want to believe it will look at it’s source, the amount of credibility it has as a legitimate news outlet, and dismiss the whole thing entirely. But honestly, even if everything in the article is 100% true, I couldn’t care less about any of it. Whatever has been going on inside the Patriots locker room has worked really, really well. If Brady and Belichick now hate each other, they have clearly found a way to still make the business relationship work. I know people who hate their entire office, but they still manage to go to work every day and do their jobs. So who cares either way, I say.
Of course, now if the Patriots lose this postseason, it won’t be because of another team playing/being better, it will be because of this. And if they don’t lose again until this fall, it will be because this article banded them together and they embraced that classic “us against them” mentality. Covering the Patriots, for a lot of journalists, is a Mad Libs exercise. You have a template, you throw in a few nouns, an adjective or two, and watch the pageviews roll in.
Because let’s all keep one main thing in mind: ESPN is floundering. I don’t know anybody who watches that channel for anything other than live sporting events. Ratings are plummeting. They are laying off employees left and right. This is just fact. Their content has gone from reporting on sports to politics, gossip, what athletes do in their spare time, which parent has the most outrageous outfit, and the kind of scalding hot takes usually reserved for the Weekly World News. In my personal opinion, you can count the reporters with any journalistic integrity that still work at ESPN on two hands. Their goal, for some time now, has been one thing and one thing only: ratings. They are desperately trying to stay relevant in a media landscape that has passed them by. The veracity of this coming article, whatever it may or may not contain, is ultimately completely irrelevant, as it produces accompanying pieces like this one. They get what they want when we talk about it. So I’m trying to get ahead of it now so we don’t have to bother with it tomorrow.
At least...we can all try not to bother with it tomorrow. It’s just going to be hard to do when you don’t have enough pillows in your house to muffle Stephen A. Smith’s voice as he bellows some sort of nonsense about whatever it is he was told to say at that particular moment. ESPN knows exactly what they are doing; whether we decide to become a part of it is completely up to us. There are better things to do with your time than indulge a news outlet that stopped caring about being legitimate a long time ago.