End of an Era: Bill Belichick and Patriots to part ways

BaseballJones

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Not saying it’s made up (although I think Bedard made up the Mayo story). Just questioning how out of the ordinary some of this stuff is. Seems like stuff that happens (coach storming out of a meeting; someone not making eye contact one day). What is out of the ordinary is that BB and Kraft made it work for 24 years.

And some of it is shit stirring. Why would Bill mention Mayo’s name in his press conference? Mayo wasn’t named coach yet.

I’ll just conclude that Bill had very good reasons for not trusting the media, and consequently keeping the public interaction with the media at a certain distance.
Find any highly successful organization that doesn’t have tension between the main parties in that organization. Good luck.

(this is not directed at you personally…just at the idea that this is somehow abnormal and signs of an unhealthy, toxic situation)
 

ShaneTrot

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I would just summarize this as defeat is an orphan. No one wants to own the 4-13 season and someone had to. There were simmering resentments! Wow! Shocking! I have worked for over 33 years, this happens in every workplace.
 

Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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Wickersham fucking sucks, and it pisses me off one of my favorite writers is the secondary author of this piece.

"Nobody said a word about New England. It was simply understood. His mom and his dad and his sisters raised a glass, and if you listened carefully in that moment, the delicate sound of stemware was a bell tolling for the Patriots dynasty. " Wright Thomson is so good.
 

rodderick

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So, Mayo is Patriot of the Week?
I laughed about a month ago when it was reported Zappe was named by Bill as a "Patriot of the Week" after people acted as if that wasn't a thing that existed or Wickersham was confusing it with the Practice Player of the Week award (generally given to guys low on the totem pole/practice squaders).
 

johnmd20

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Find any highly successful organization that doesn’t have tension between the main parties in that organization. Good luck.

(this is not directed at you personally…just at the idea that this is somehow abnormal and signs of an unhealthy, toxic situation)
Seriously, we're talking about 3 people literally at the peak of their careers. There is a lot of ego involved in that. And with that, there will be tension and it's natural. It would be odd if there wasn't tension, the world is not a utopia.

It lasted a long time. But life does get in the way.
 

Norm loves Vera

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Im in mourning. Bill righted the ship when we had been listing hard in purgatory. I know he tried his MFN hardest all the time for the team. Can't say that about many. GOAT.

76496
 

Euclis20

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Seriously, we're talking about 3 people literally at the peak of their careers. There is a lot of ego involved in that. And with that, there will be tension and it's natural. It would be odd if there wasn't tension, the world is not a utopia.

It lasted a long time. But life does get in the way.
Exactly. This is just how these generational things always end. Everyone saw the Last Dance, the Bulls were a mess at the end of that. It's a testament to how long things lasted, and how it fell apart doesn't detract from what came before.

Maybe not the best example as the Bulls have won over 50 games just once in the 25+ years since Jordan/Pippen/Jackson left. Oh well.
 

Hoya81

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None of this seems surprising. Kraft chose Belichick over Brady, then watched Brady win a Super Bowl while the Pats became mediocre and irrelevant. He gave BB what he wanted the last couple years, and it didn’t work out. This ending was inevitable.
I can understand BB’s thinking, even if it was ultimately faulty. The track record of mid-40’s quarterbacks was essentially a series of emergency QBs scenarios like Blanda’s famous run in 1970 and guys like Vinny T and Steve deBerg coming off the street. The bills for 2014-2018 were coming due and the cuts needed to fit even a modest salary for TB under the cap in ‘20-‘21 would left the team uncompetitive. Couple that with the Bills/Dolphins being on the rise and I can see why rebuilding around a rookie contract makes sense.

TB on the other hand, moves into a near perfect situation in Tampa, adding Gronk and AB to a roster full of weapons and the NFC being much weaker than the AFC that year.
 

joe dokes

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Exactly. This is just how these generational things always end. Everyone saw the Last Dance, the Bulls were a mess at the end of that. It's a testament to how long things lasted, and how it fell apart doesn't detract from what came before.
Jerry Jones coulda had Jimmy J for 20 years. But he fucked it up. Kraft did not.
 

Valek123

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How have I never heard this story? Was this widely known?

From the times link above -
“ Hours before Belichick’s first game as head coach of the New England Patriots on Sept. 3, 2000, he gave Kraft a gift: a vintage print of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. On a nondescript card, Belichick scribbled, “Thanks for giving me the opportunity to coach your team. Let’s hope we will be as successful as these two fellas.”
 

Auger34

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Can’t decide if the baseball bat or the pin is the better prop for the post-departure fallout frenzy.
The pin thing was weird for Reiss to lead off that story with but I at least understood what Reiss was getting at.

I have literally no idea what the baseball bat thing means or why that would indicate he was above reproach or arrogant. It’s an incredibly weird anecdote in that story
 

Auger34

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Of course, we have no idea how much of this story is actually true. We have no idea how well-sourced Wickersham is, or how much of this is his own conjecture. It totally stands to reason that in the last few years there's been much more tension between Kraft and Belichick, given that the team isn't very good anymore, and as Kraft has always put it, he's a fan first and foremost, and he wants to win. Belichick's style is great when you win ("no days off!") but when you lose, it's got to be grating on everyone. And there's almost no way you can work with someone for 25 years and there not be tension. It is just intensified when things go south.
100%.

Belichick is the best coach ever. His football knowledge is unparalleled. However, he seems like he would be tremendously tough to work or play for. When you’re winning, you can deal with the style and the demands…when you’re one of the worst teams in the NFL, I imagine it’s fucking miserable
 

NomarsFool

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The pin thing is weird, but we are also talking about a guy who wears sweatshirts with cutoff sleeves. It may not really mean anything.

BTW, Kraft spent $100 million on this initiative?!?! How did that not get more press?
 

brandonchristensen

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I just used my brothers login it still works lol.











Worse than I thought for Kraft, even as they try not to be. It just reads like Bill is Bill, difficult and patient at the same time, just wanting to build and win etc. Definitely seems like the meddling had been much more than thought, Curran might have been closer to the truth than most gave credit, and just a sad way for it to end with Bill like a ronin headed out on his own.
I thought it was a really well written article.

If true - the Kraft’s come off as complete shitbags.

Edit: didn’t mean to double quote
 

lexrageorge

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The pin thing is weird, but we are also talking about a guy who wears sweatshirts with cutoff sleeves. It may not really mean anything.

BTW, Kraft spent $100 million on this initiative?!?! How did that not get more press?
The pin thing was a rare unforced error by Belichick. He could have put it on and expressed a brief word of support for Kraft's initiative and moved on to the other topics.

I thought it was a really well written article.

If true - the Kraft’s come off as complete shitbags.

Edit: didn’t mean to double quote
They come across as rich owners of an NFL team. Seems like they just tired of Belichick after 24 years of an intense and high pressure environment of running a football team, and vice versa.
 

brandonchristensen

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The pin thing was a rare unforced error by Belichick. He could have put it on and expressed a brief word of support for Kraft's initiative and moved on to the other topics.


They come across as rich owners of an NFL team. Seems like they just tired of Belichick after 24 years of an intense and high pressure environment of running a football team, and vice versa.
In my somewhat useless opinion…based on an article that may or may not be true.

Kraft deserves credit for buying the team and putting a great captain in charge.

Bill made Brady and those two were the reason for all of the teams successes.

Brady is aging, Bill makes a very reasonable decision to get the heir apparent ready. Brady took it personally and defied all odds and all logic and continued to succeed.

Kraft has turned into a billionaire playboy getting handjobs at parlors. Brady leaves and wins another Super Bowl.

Bill is pressured to draft Mac, and wants to trade Mac while he still has value. Isn’t allowed to - Kraft inserts himself into the process and everything erodes quite quickly.

I REALLY hope Bill finds a good home and wins another Super Bowl. He handled this entire thing with insane grace.
 

lexrageorge

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In my somewhat useless opinion…based on an article that may or may not be true.

Kraft deserves credit for buying the team and putting a great captain in charge.

Bill made Brady and those two were the reason for all of the teams successes.

Brady is aging, Bill makes a very reasonable decision to get the heir apparent ready. Brady took it personally and defied all odds and all logic and continued to succeed.

Kraft has turned into a billionaire playboy getting handjobs at parlors. Brady leaves and wins another Super Bowl.

Bill is pressured to draft Mac, and wants to trade Mac while he still has value. Isn’t allowed to - Kraft inserts himself into the process and everything erodes quite quickly.

I REALLY hope Bill finds a good home and wins another Super Bowl. He handled this entire thing with insane grace.
To me, the worst aspect of the article is that it did raise the possibility that Mac blew smoke up Robert's ass and then tried to play up his relationship with the owner as a way to undermine Bill when things got difficult. I still recall how Bill talked glowingly about Mac at the start of the 2022 training camp, and then quickly backed off his comments. It was easy to dismiss as "Bill being Bill" at the time, but clearly the Bill-Mac relationship grew strained real fast.

I remain skeptical that Kraft (either one) would have actually squashed a trade. Again, we are only hearing second hand info from anonymous sources, who may or may not have an accurate recollection of what went down, and may be leaving out a lot of context. Maybe Bill went to Kraft and said "here are some things we could do to improve in 2023", with trading Mac being one of them, and Kraft said he didn't favor it, but would not stop one if Bill found a trading partner. Or maybe Kraft went ballistic; we don't really know.

Wickersham has to generate clicks for his employer and for his own brand, and he's reporting what he's hearing from his sources. He is also going to slant things to make it appear there's epic turmoil and dysfunction in the organization because that's what people want to read. Reporters did the same to Dallas when Jerry Jones fired Jimmy Johnson, so it's nothing new.
 

jcd0805

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100%.

Belichick is the best coach ever. His football knowledge is unparalleled. However, he seems like he would be tremendously tough to work or play for. When you’re winning, you can deal with the style and the demands…when you’re one of the worst teams in the NFL, I imagine it’s fucking miserable
There a tweet from a wide receiver posted in this thread telling Bill he’d follow him wherever he goes; the defensive player whose name is escaping me but who was heard at the end of one game telling an opponent “sorry we’re ass right now” (paraphrase) stood in front of reporters a few weeks ago saying the players felt terrible for this seasons results because Bill was working so hard trying to get them to okay better. The “his players hate him because he’s a big meanie!” mantra is weak.
 

Auger34

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There a tweet from a wide receiver posted in this thread telling Bill he’d follow him wherever he goes; the defensive player whose name is escaping me but who was heard at the end of one game telling an opponent “sorry we’re ass right now” (paraphrase) stood in front of reporters a few weeks ago saying the players felt terrible for this seasons results because Bill was working so hard trying to get them to okay better. The “his players hate him because he’s a big meanie!” mantra is weak.
There are examples of players that like him. His style isn’t for everyone. Bottom line is that losing breeds all of this and when the team is shit the head coach is going to catch shit, I just imagine losing when playing for a coach his style is worse.
 

mcpickl

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Wickersham basically cited and repeated Bedard’s nonsense regarding Mayo. Nothing “new” on that front other than some anonymous assistant deep down the org chart has an axe to grind.

As for the rest of the article, I’m sure there have been a number of unreported blowups between Kraft, BB, and various assistants over the course of 24 years. The problem with articles like this is that they give one the impression the house is on fire when in reality it’s just the ordinary day-to-day life in the NFL.
I did find one thing interesting here regarding the Bedard report.

In response to it, Mayo said something like if someone has an issue with me rubbing people the wrong way, I wish they'd be a man, or woman, and come talk to me about it. That struck me as odd. Then this Wickersham article has the name Robyn Glaser in it, which seems way out of left field. I may be off base, but it connected some dots in my head, as there aren't a whole lot of women involved in the day-to-day with the Patriots.
 
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"As the season neared its halfway point -- and New England lost to Dallas and New Orleans in consecutive weeks by a combined score of 72-3 -- Jonathan Kraft was as involved as ever, hammering Belichick behind the scenes about personnel decisions"

I love BB. I'll miss him and I'm grateful for the unprecedented success he played a massive role in. But, setting aside decorum and discretion, why the hell shouldn't Jonathan Kraft hammer Belichick about personnel decisions? Recently, many of Belichick's personnel decisions (not "all," I know, defensive draft picks named Christian and others here and there have been exceptions), have been bad.
 

Jo_Co

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Across the entire board really it’s like a competition to get behind the teams and shout down anything negative. It’s really strange. Wickersham undoubtedly has a narrative arc there but he’s using quotes left and right and murmurs of a lot of this stuff has been out there. I really doubt he’s making this stuff up wholesale and it’s incredible to me that so many of you are so dismissive of it all
Pretty strong agreement. You would think Wickersham was Chris Mortensen with the type of derision the board treats him with.

Is it actually shocking to anyone that these type of issues would be occurring behind the scenes? Managing a, at times, frustrating asshole of an employee is a lot easier when you’re crushing each quarter, but probably wears thin when you’re not doing so well. How disheartening to find out!
 

E5 Yaz

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jablo1312

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So....

"Then, during offseason planning meetings, Belichick later told people in the building, he raised the idea to the Krafts of trading quarterback Mac Jones. The Krafts had embraced Jones after he was drafted in the first round in 2021, hoping to build something close to a Brady-like relationship with him. Jones played well as a rookie under then-coordinator McDaniels, then regressed in 2022 under Belichick's patchwork offensive staff. Ownership argued against trading him, wanting to see what Jones could do with O'Brien calling plays, which this past week they denied saying through a team spokesperson. "

Great first sign of the Krafts getting involved with personnel decision.
 

DJnVa

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So....

"Then, during offseason planning meetings, Belichick later told people in the building, he raised the idea to the Krafts of trading quarterback Mac Jones. The Krafts had embraced Jones after he was drafted in the first round in 2021, hoping to build something close to a Brady-like relationship with him. Jones played well as a rookie under then-coordinator McDaniels, then regressed in 2022 under Belichick's patchwork offensive staff. Ownership argued against trading him, wanting to see what Jones could do with O'Brien calling plays, which this past week they denied saying through a team spokesperson. "

Great first sign of the Krafts getting involved with personnel decision.
So when BB asked them they should have done what? Not given an opinion?

If they agreed with BB that's still getting involved.
 

rodderick

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So when BB asked them they should have done what? Not given an opinion?

If they agreed with BB that's still getting involved.
"Whatever you deem to be best for the team, Bill" is probably the response he was looking for. I just find it strange that he'd have to run trading a player through ownership, didn't think the Pats had that kind of structure.
 

Silverdude2167

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"Whatever you deem to be best for the team, Bill" is probably the response he was looking for. I just find it strange that he'd have to run trading a player through ownership, didn't think the Pats had that kind of structure.
The Krafts love there QBs, always have. We were lucky Brady played along nicely with BB for so many years.
 

rodderick

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My uneducated guess is that this kind of check-in with the Krafts was reserved for starting QBs.
But like, any starting QB? Phil Perry just had a report that, contrary to popular talk radio belief, drafting Mac was Bill's call and there was no order from Kraft that they needed to take one. That being the case, I would think Bill would have final say in a potential trade especially involving a player who hadn't really accomplished anything.
 

cornwalls@6

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I think major transactions (which trading the QB you just drafted in the first round would certainly be) in all sports, usually come with ownership involvement and/or approval. Think big free agent signings. Bill had a large amount control and authority, but I’m not surprised certain things required the Krafts to sign off.
 

tims4wins

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You don’t think he asked the Krafts when he traded Seymour?

Edit: I think this was covered in A Football Life. Trying to find the clip.
 

Van Everyman

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But like, any starting QB? Phil Perry just had a report that, contrary to popular talk radio belief, drafting Mac was Bill's call and there was no order from Kraft that they needed to take one. That being the case, I would think Bill would have final say in a potential trade especially involving a player who hadn't really accomplished anything.
Here’s that Perry report FYI: https://www.nbcsportsboston.com/nfl/new-england-patriots/patriots-videos/was-drafting-mac-jones-actually-bill-belichicks-idea/579514/
 

Dave Stapleton

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As Mike Lombardi said on Simmons podcast, Kraft made a HOF decision in hiring BB. That’s his legacy. He was paid off with Bill and Tom doing what they did for his family, their legacy and their fortune. Now they will be just another franchise with ups and downs, good seasons and bad.

Lombardi only said the HOF part. The rest is my opinion.
 

mwonow

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Personal vendetta list for me. God I would love to kick any of those guys in the balls.

1) Roger Goodell
2) Ted Wells
3) Seth Wickersham
4) Jeff Pash
5) Mike Kensil
This list needs Ben Dreith. And Jack Tatum.

There's probably a parallel list that has people who wish they'd risen to that level of Pats antipathy. LaDainian Thomlinson and Marshall Faulk would get seats on the bus, even if it's a short bus.
 

Bowhemian

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This list needs Ben Dreith. And Jack Tatum.

There's probably a parallel list that has people who wish they'd risen to that level of Pats antipathy. LaDainian Thomlinson and Marshall Faulk would get seats on the bus, even if it's a short bus.
Can’t leave out Bernard Pollard
 

jablo1312

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So when BB asked them they should have done what? Not given an opinion?

If they agreed with BB that's still getting involved.
Didn't sound like "giving an opinion" to me, sounded like actively telling the GM to not make a personell move.

I know everyone thinks Bill is a cancerous GM at this point but ownership largely staying out of roster decisions for 20 years (at least to me) seems to be a contributor to the Pats success. The excerpt in the Wickersham piece about RK +JK sitting down w/ BB and asking for a walk-through on team building strategy in 2000 sure made it seem like they largely let Bill do what he thought was best. The more involved 2 guys who know jack shit about football get invovled with building the team, the more concerned I get as a fan.
 

blueline

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Partly this, and all the stuff (hopefully lies) about undercutting Belichick over the past couple of years. And the stuff about Mayo behaving as the chosen one, which doesn't really seem to indicate "great leader of men" to me. But yeah naming Mayo without first naming a GM has me queasy about what Jonathon might be up to.
Ughhhhh yeah how is this not sending off major alarms for everyone?? The issue here isn't the bickering between the Krafts and Belichick. As unpleasant as it is, it's kind of expected with the collapse of a 24 year partnership. If Jonathan is going to be heavily involved in football operations as implied, that's going to be a complete disaster. It would be the best run franchise of the last two decades all of a sudden implementing the organizational structure of the NFL's most incompetent teams.
 

DJnVa

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Didn't sound like "giving an opinion" to me, sounded like actively telling the GM to not make a personell move.

I know everyone thinks Bill is a cancerous GM at this point but ownership largely staying out of roster decisions for 20 years (at least to me) seems to be a contributor to the Pats success. The excerpt in the Wickersham piece about RK +JK sitting down w/ BB and asking for a walk-through on team building strategy in 2000 sure made it seem like they largely let Bill do what he thought was best. The more involved 2 guys who know jack shit about football get invovled with building the team, the more concerned I get as a fan.
You know that EVERYONE thinks Bill is cancerous huh? Ownership did not stay out of roster decisions. Not a single ownership group does. What the Kraft's did not do is meddle.

I manage people. I give them a lot of leeway after they give me their ideas. The thought that any manager/supervisor/owner would then stay completely out of the way if they think things are going off track is weird.