That may be the click-baitiest headline I’ve ever written. But technically, it’s true.
During his weekly interview on WEEI this morning, Bill Belichick said what may be the most un-Belichickian thing that has ever come out of his mouth when asked about the team’s recent struggles:
“Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. It’s obvious we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault. That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship Game. This year we had less to work with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.”
I think by “less to work with,” Belichick was referring to the amount of money they had to spend as opposed to the talent level of the players...but they’re kind of the same.
The interview is brand new, so I haven’t had the opportunity to make sure 2020 sucks even more for me than it already does by checking out how the usual suspects are reacting to it, but I would imagine we’re going to get all of the following takes over the coming days:
- Now that Brady is gone, Belichick is full of excuses
- Belichick has doomed this franchise for the rest of eternity
- Belichick’s arrogance has finally caught up with him
- We all knew Belichick couldn’t draft; now we finally have proof
And if folks want to go that route, I say have at it; you’ve been waiting for literally two decades to get to this point, and I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your moment. If you want to lambaste Belichick for being stuck into a down year on the heels of three Super Bowls in five years and act like he’s making bad excuses and being uncharacteristically whiny, I’m not going to stop you. It will feel great, and probably get you way more clicks than this article.
But I do have to wonder...if you contacted every fan base in the NFL and asked sent them the following poll:
How many consecutive losing seasons would you endure if it guaranteed your team 3 Super Bowl wins in 5 years?
This poll is closed
More than 10
As many as necessary, plus I’ll throw in my first born
What do think would win? Five? Ten? If I could guarantee Cleveland Browns or New York Jets fans one ring, let alone three, in exchange for a few down years, do you think they’d jump at the chance? Considering their entire existence is nothing but down years, I’d go so far as to wager a guess that yes, in fact, they would. If there are reporters from other cities out there right now piling on Belichick for any reason beyond looking to capitalize on some easy site traffic, I invite you to ask yourself whether you’d be praising your city’s head coach if they built a team that got them multiple championships at the expense of some lean years in the following seasons. And if the answer to that question is “no,” I’ll then invite you to check out this book.
The 2020 Patriots didn’t have the cap space to keep a lot of key players. Other key players have opted out of the season. They don’t have the resources to get any major talent in right now, and this season is topsy-turvy in every way possible. Unlike Belichick, I do think that those are all excuses, and excuses that don’t need to be brought up, especially from a guy who has never really said anything like that before. But Belichick is also 100% right in that they are also facts. Nothing he said was inaccurate. This is the way the NFL is structured. The 21st century Patriots have been the exception, not the rule.
And I‘d like to hope that I’m not alone in saying I will very, very gladly muddle through a lost season or two if that’s the price to be paid for six Super Bowl victories, 11 straight AFC East titles, eight straight AFC Championship appearances, two separate dynasties, and a quarterback who has had three distinct Hall of Fame careers. If that’s too high a price for you personally, then fine - but please remind me never to go out to eat with you. We’ll be haggling over the tip until long after the restaurant closes.
Again, feel free to knock Belichick all you want. And if you think he should be keeping his mouth shut right now, then OK. But he’s not wrong. And I’m perfectly content to get through this alongside him.