Patriots

Let’s hope the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick mudslinging gets even messier

This is not an uncomfortable reunion. It’s the greatest grudge match football has ever seen.

Tom Brady Bill Belichick
Foxborough, MA - 9-11-2019 - New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (right) and quarterback Tom Brady (left) are pictured as they held a conversation on the practice field. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff) Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

COMMENTARY

A memo to all the football X’s and O’ers who preach analysis over soap opera. 

Let us have this. 

Give me more of Tom Brady Sr. denouncing his son’s home for nearly two decades. I want the shady trainer, Alex Guerrero, slinging as many misguided assessments as possible in Bill Belichick’s direction before Sunday. I don’t want Tom Brady to stop his sneaky digs on social media just because we’ve settled into a week of focused preparation. 

I want to analyze every mundane remark by Belichick to be some grand statement about how difficult it was to deal with his former quarterback. I want Gisele insulting the wanna-be toniness of Brookline. Give me Jim Gray calling into Toucher and Rich. I want a leaked advance chapter of Seth Wickersham’s book by Thursday. Bring me Wes Welker and have him finally tell us just how uncatchable that ball really was. I want somebody to find the holy trinity of John Jastremski, Jim McNally, and Matt Walsh and have them break down life behind the scenes with the New England Patriots. 

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It is all on the table this week, the prelude to the most anticipated regular season showdown in NFL history. And the days leading up to Buccaneers-Patriots have nothing to with film study. 

The more mudslinging, the better. 

If one thing is clear after three weeks of the 2021 NFL season, it’s that these Patriots aren’t going anywhere. After Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, it’s fair to say that the season might have to be considered a success if rookie quarterback Mac Jones is able to walk by the bye week. The offensive line is atrocious, Jonnu Smith can’t hold onto the ball, and Josh McDaniels can’t seem to shake his insistence to kill any brief pockets of momentum his offense may find here and there. 

The Patriots are not a playoff team. After Week 4, they may barely be relevant. 

Might as well go down in flames. 

Belichick should put a one-week halt on his “Ignore the Noise” campaign. Just the opposite, he should embrace it. He should start by responding to Peyton Manning’s, Guerrero’s, and Brady’s father’s recent assessments of him publicly. Damn right he should. 

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Just because Brady went with the assault one week early doesn’t mean that the Patriots shouldn’t stand their own ground. Heck, this game is so under the microscope that I half-expect it to go the way of two heavyweight boxers delivering on their pregame threats. At least, that’s what I hope. 

Belichick was asked on Friday about Brady’s snake oil salesman’s comments about the game having passed the coach by. It’s no shock that he declined to answer the question (though, he “appreciated” it). That doesn’t mean Adam Schefter won’t have some special “nugget” this week about how Brady’s Dr. Wizard was perceived in the halls of Patriot Place toward the end of his stay. 

There will be plenty of those shots across the bow on both sides where we will be forced to read between the lines. Those are fun. But the animosity involved between Brady and the Patriots would be better served fully out in the open. Bob Kraft should come out and ask why he traded his quarterback-in-waiting for a guy who had no intention on living the rest of his NFL days in Belichick’s shadow. Matthew Slater should publicly ask why his former quarterback seemingly quit on his team over the second half of his final season here.

This is the week to raise TB12’s rent at its curtained Patriot Place office. This is the week for Belichick to ask the camp that claims New England’s success was all about the quarterback just what Brady had to do with the defenses that stymied the Rams in the Super Bowl. Twice. This is the week for Brady to lead his weekly press conference with a statement about why Malcolm Butler’s benching meant he wasn’t standing there with eight rings to his name. This is the week for the Patriots to call Bill Nye and see if he wants to sing the National Anthem Sunday night. 

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Not surprisingly, NBC has already missed the mark with its promotion for its Sunday night broadcast, using Adele’s, “Hello” as the theme for the reunion. It’s a song about regret and the longing for forgiveness. Cute.  A more fitting track might have been “I Hate Everything About You” by Three Days Grace. 

Let’s just put aside any false notions about the majesty and respect some people are trying to bill this weekend’s event around, treating it as something other than what it really is. This is not an uncomfortable reunion. It’s the greatest grudge match football has ever seen. 

No more tip-toeing around the elephant in the room. Let’s have Brady’s side and the Patriots side both letting it all out. Turn whispers into shouts. Air the laundry for all to see. This week is about all the gossip and dirt making waves before kickoff. 

I don’t want pregame analysis. I want Melrose Place. I want back-stabbing and pettiness.

There comes a point of over-saturation in any frenzy leading to an anticipated event. 

Not with Brady-Belichick. 

Let it fly. 

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