The New England Patriots are an immense sporting franchise built on the back of mercurial coaching, brilliant quarterback play, and a revolution at the tight-end position.
For the last 19 seasons, the Patriots had the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
Tom Brady started Week 1 in 2001 and never looked back, winning his first Super Bowl in that season and then winning another five during his incredible career with New England.
But after an above average campaign in most NFL franchises’ eyes – going 12-4, winning the AFC East again, and getting the third seed in the playoffs – it was a failure in the eyes of the Patriots.
Losing to the Titans in the first round looked bad at the time, but then seeing the run they went on, beating both the GOAT in Tom Brady and then the next week the MVP in Lamar Jackson, you can argue they just ran into a hot team and there is not much you can do.
Tensions were high behind the scenes, Brady’s age playing a factor, and more and more reports that Brady just wanted out began to come out. The conclusion was Tom Brady left his home and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
People saw it coming, but it is still hard to believe. Seeing Tom Brady in another jersey is even hard to wrap your head around. The Tampa Bay red and gray is not the same.
Later in the off-season, rumblings about Rob Gronkowski possibly coming out of retirement and wanting to play with Brady in Tampa emerged. The rumblings were true, when it was official that the Patriots traded Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fourth.
So the Patriots went from Super Bowl representatives for the AFC in three straight years and winning two, to trading their retired star tight end and losing their starting quarterback from the last decade and a half.
So does this mean a tank season incoming? If you are hoping for a new shift in power that does not involve the Patriots, you better hope not.
The projected starter for the Patriots is Jarrett Stidham, a second-year player out of Auburn who has a total of 14 yards thrown in the NFL with an interception. Also losing some defensive players in the off-season free-agent market will put a dampener on this new year.
All signs are signalling for a not so great, out of the norm season for New England, which is kind of refreshing considering the fact they have won their division for 11 straight years. Yes, 11 straight years. That’s not a typo.
Maybe a shift in power in not only that division but the entire NFL would be nice. However, if you want that shift in power to not include New England, you better hope for a decent year from them in 2020.
If the Patriots lose a lot this year – and they might due to the fact they play the Seahawks, Chiefs, 49ers, Ravens and Texans, and travel to Los Angeles to play both the Rams and Chargers – they will secure a top pick in the 2021 draft.
Securing a top pick in this draft will land you a possible franchise quarterback. Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson looks to be the clear cut first overall pick with his arm talent, pro-style attributes and athletic ability that is underrated.
Justin Fields from Ohio State is also a player people talk highly about going number two, and a sneaky pick like Trey Lance from North Dakota State can turn into a starting quarterback for ten years.
A top-two pick secures a stud quarterback like Fields and Lawrence, but a top-five pick can also land you a player you love like Lance. A top-five pick is usually around the five-win mark, so the Patriots need to somehow squeak in seven or more wins to ensure the balance is not shifted in the NFL for many years to come.
They still are in the AFC East, which includes a couple of bad teams, which can go in New England’s favour. Las Vegas betting also has the Patriots’ win total at nine, so they are hinting at a possible .500 team in 2020.
So if you want to see the Patriots be human again and be like all the other teams in the league, we must hope Bill Belichick and company can find a way to be semi-average, and pray they do not get a top pick in the draft, or it will be more and more Patriots Super Bowl parades down the Boston streets.