Let’s be honest, you’re not over the Super Bowl yet either. There are questions that need answers, there’s still what-if’s to ponder, and really, some of you could probably use a hug while we’re at it.
There’s at least one Patriots alumni that’s in the same boat - three-time Super Bowl champion and former All-Pro left tackle Matt Light, who caught up with WAAF after a chill-sounding Florida vacation with the family.
After hyping the Light Foundation’s charity event leading up to the Boston Marathon and swapping some stories on dinner recipes (note to self: get invited to a dinner at the Light’s house), it came down to what everybody still wants to know:
What the actual hell happened in the Super Bowl?
Listen here if you want (I can’t embed it, unfortunately. BOOOOOOO.)
If you’re stuck at work or in class or whatever, here’s the deal:
AAF: Now that you’ve had a few weeks, we’ve all had a month or so here to digest the Super Bowl loss, and we’ve heard Devin McCourty say there was no disciplinary action taken against Butler. Do you have any thoughts now that we’re a month removed from that whole thing?
Matt Light: Well, I mean, other than, it seems as though the minute you bring up the team, or the Super Bowl, or anything to do with football, there's just this downtrodden look from anyone that’s a Patriots fan. Like we’re all still grieving, and I get it to a point, but, and because there were some interesting circumstances wrapped around going into the postseason, with some of the articles and some of the things that were coming out of Foxborough, right? I mean, it was not Patriot-like to some degree, and then to make it to the Super Bowl and lose is always a huge disappointment.
But I would say this: that team, if you go back and look at the entire season, they went from ‘they’re going to have the greatest team ever to grace the field’, right, to then all the uncertainty, and the players that were injured, whether it was Edelman or Hightower, just keep on going down the list, to everybody writing them off, and then they go on this incredible run, right? So I look at this and say yeah, I’m disappointed, and the Super Bowl was stunningly hard to watch, but those guys did play in the Super Bowl again, so I’m not too caught up in the craziness.
I think there is an issue, though, within the locker room, and I don’t think it’s anything unique to the Patriots. I think it has more to do with, kind of, society, and I hate to make it sound kind of, you know, this big picture thing we’re facing as a country, but there’s a difference in that locker room. I saw it when I transitioned out of the NFL, and it was one where young guys walk in and they have all the answers, they’re looking to build their brand and their image, social media is driving everything, the game is part of the story, but the camaraderie and the teamwork that happens off the field and the relationship-building and everything else just wasn’t what it used to be.
And I think that’s what you’re seeing in a lot of these locker rooms is that the culture is changing, so the coaches have to catch up to that and I think there’s going to be a little bit of turmoil and there’s going to be things that happen, and there’s going to be corrective action taken, and I just personally don’t believe that Butler didn’t grace the field because there wasn’t something happening internally. I don’t have the answer to that though, I haven’t talked to these guys, I haven’t heard from any of them directly, but I think that it speaks to the culture and I think that article, while it was wildly over-exaggerated, that there are things that are leading to some internal issues that they’re going to have to fix. But guess what? That’s nothing new. That happens every year, on every team, including all the teams I played on.
Agreed on the Super Bowl being stunningly hard to watch.
This game feels like fighting through an absinthe hangover— Matt/Goose (@SomeCallMeGoose) February 5, 2018
If you think back to some of the bombshells that the Patriots had to work through during Light’s ten-year career in New England, he’s been front row for some of the team’s most “Well, this is awkward” moments in the Belichick era. Just off the top of my head, Light was around for Brady vs. Bledsoe, the Lawyer Milloy trade, “They hate their coach!”, SpyGate, the Deion Branch trade, losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl for the first time...and the second time...you get the idea.
Moving on to the zombie that just won’t die, the Brady vs. Belichick rumors:
AAF: So specifically in regard to Brady and Belichick, do you think everything is A-OK there, or do you believe that there’s some sort of lingering issue between the two of them?
Light: Well I would equate it to myself, right, if said behind closed doors, like between a couple buddies or someone I grew up with or my family, if my dad was like “Hey, is everything A-OK with you and Bill?”, I’d be like, “No! Every other day I want to fight him!” That’s the culture though, I mean, to say that everything’s hunky-dory between any player and a coach as dynamic as Bill is ridiculous. But it’s no different than in the real world, at your office place, right? There’s days that you guys can’t stand to be around each other, and I think people have to get over ‘is everything perfect’? It’s never going to be perfect between Tom and Bill, because it’s never perfect between any head coach and their player, especially when they’ve been around as long as they have. But I don’t think, it’s nothing that’s going to limit their ability to go out there and perform at a high level. That’s the thing that I think is most important, those guys have done it for so long, so well, any little differences that you have along the way, you just suck it up and keep rolling.
AAF: Well it’s about winning, right Matty? I mean, not for nothing, how many times have you seen, I don’t know if Bill does it, but I’ve had head coaches come in after the first period, stand in front of a guy, berate him like nobody’s business, flip a table of Gatorades over, storm out and tell everybody to F themselves. And you know what you do, you win the game, and at the end of the day, he comes in the locker room like “Hey, nice job”.
Light: Yeah, and that’s such a drastic comparison to what we see in the real world here, right? Like, that could never happen in a Fortune 500 company. I think that’s why it’s so difficult to understand how two people can be going at it in such a way, and then be able to stand up in front of the media and be like “Hey look, we’re good, we’re fine”. Because truly, they are fine, in the scheme of winning, to your point, LB, I mean, it is about winning, that’s all that matters. There’s going to be a lot of butting heads, there’s going to be a lot of times where you don’t really feel like having a conversation with whoever it may be, but at the end of the day, there’s this unbelievable amount of respect for the jobs that have to get done, are getting done, and how they do them. So, yeah, look, there’s always going to be turmoil. I don’t know that anything that I’ve ever done in my life that has been really meaningful and rewarding didn’t have a whole lot of turbulence just below the surface.”
Aaaaaaaaah. Now that’s refreshing. I know Matt’s busy out there making the world a better place working with at-risk kids and all, but would it be too much to ask to give him a weekly show or something?
You’re always welcome on the Pats Pulpit Podcast, Matt, just saying.