Patriots

Patriots fan trolls Bill Belichick with billboard ahead of Tom Brady’s return

"The OWL is no longer wise without his GOAT!" is the message "Jake in Boston" wants Patriots fans to take in on their way to Gillette Stadium Sunday.

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The billboard, located just south of Gillette Stadium, reads: "The Owls is no longer wise without his GOAT!" "Jake in Boston"
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In the Tom Brady vs. Bill Belichick debate swirling around Brady’s return to Foxborough this Sunday, one self-described Patriots superfan has no doubt whose side he’s on.

Now, he’s making sure Patriots fans coming to the game from south of Foxborough know who he thinks deserves credit for the Patriots’ 20 years of success — and why.

“We’ve known that [Brady and the Buccaneers] were coming for the last five months,” the man who goes only by “Jake in Boston” said. “I knew we were going to do something beyond going to the game. So why not?”

The big something: a billboard south of Gillette Stadium that takes a dig at Belichick and his 62-74 lifetime record as a head coach without Brady. The message: “The OWL is no longer wise without his GOAT!”

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And yes, that win-loss record sans Brady does include last Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“Jake,” who wouldn’t reveal his full name, says the results speak for themselves as far as the Brady vs. Belichick debate goes.

“Here, we have a quantifiable piece of data about who has won this argument about whose dynasty this really is, who deserves all the credit for those six Super Bowl banners,” he said.

The 37-year-old fan, who works in marketing, says he’s a frequent caller into local sports radio shows and has attended Patriots games for more than 20 years, including the fateful game in which Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe against the New York Jets: “We were in the front row of the end zone.”

As “Jake” has watched Brady’s career and departure from the Patriots unfold, he says he’s come to empathize with the legendary quarterback’s plight as the tension between Brady and the Patriots front office grew later in his time with New England.

“I would say anyone who’s sort of at the middle of their career or sort of around my age kind of feel sympathetic with Tom Brady’s position,” the Patriots fan said. “It’s like you have success in your career, and at some point you want your superiors to trust you, believe in you and just leave you alone and let you do your thing…a lot of people have had that person in their career — and it’s not necessarily a negative or knock on them — but it’s like their management style needs to evolve. And I think some of that happened here.”

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As the game approached, “Jake” said he coordinated with a friend to do something very “in-your-face” about his feelings for the game. How do you make sure you get peoples’ attention, he thought?

“You stick a billboard on Route 1, and you stick it right in the face of 68,000 people who are coming to the game,” he said. (With as bad as stadium traffic gets going to and from Gillette, you can bet plenty of people will see it.)

While “Jake” wouldn’t reveal how much specifically the billboard costs — “It was about the same as the tickets I paid for Sunday’s game” — he revealed the depiction of Belichick as a hooded owl was a play on Julian Edelman’s children’s book “Flying High,” in which the main character pals around with a “wise owl” and a goat named Tom. (Wonder who they’re supposed to be?)

He also said that while he doesn’t think Belichick did enough to keep Brady in town, pointing to the relatively modest contract the quarterback signed in Tampa Bay, the longtime Patriots coach isn’t the only man to blame for losing Brady.

“Robert Kraft is the boss, the buck stops with him,” “Jake” noted. “[Brady] is a guy that has made him not just millions, but billions of dollars because if they don’t win six championships that franchise is not worth four or five billion dollars or whatever it is. As much as I went after Bill…Robert [Kraft] deserves a lot of the blame.”

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That’s why, despite being a Patriots fan, “Jake” hopes Brady and the Bucs come out on top Sunday.

“I’d love to see Antonio Brown catch three touchdowns, Gronk with another one, and Tampa Bay to blow [the Patriots] out,” he said. “And I want to flash to Robert Kraft’s suite looking dejected and Belichick on the sideline…and the handshake, oh, my goodness.

“It’s fun. The drama element of it is unlike anything else in sports right now.”

The billboard, “Jake” says, will stay up through Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Buccaneers. After that, he’ll go back to rooting for the Patriots to make the AFC playoffs — and for Brady and the Bucs to make the NFC Championship game on the other side.

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