Sports Blog #2: The Rise and Fall of the Patriots historic Dynasty


Patriot athletics

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick celebrate their Super Bowl 38 victory back in 2004

Adrian Holguin , Sports Editor

The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty

I think the most impactful story line coming out of this past NFL season was no doubt the sharp and sudden decline of the New England Patriots. Despite being coached by arguably the greatest head coach of all time in Coach Belichick and quarterbacked by arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL in Tom Brady, the New England Patriots did not look like their normal selves over the course of the 2019 season.  They seemed especially “deflated” on the offensive side of the ball with Tom Brady noticeably struggling mightily after the departure of his long time number one target Rob Gronkowski. In this article, I will be describing not only arguably the most historic dynasty in all of sports, but also the subtle events that culminated in the dynasty’s death.

Before the Dynasty:

The New England Patriots were founded on Nov. 16, 1959, and based out of Boston, Mass. They did not accomplish much of anything thanks to a number of questionable ownership decisions and sub par coaching hires up until  1994 when team owner Robert Kraft saved the New England Patriots from a possible move to St. Louis by purchasing the then petulant franchise for a total of $75 million. Then on Jan. 27, 2000, Mr. Kraft made the most influential move in the franchise’s history in the signing of Bill Belichick to hopefully lead his team to future relevancy.

Fast Forward just three months to the 2000 draft when Coach Belichick made the anything but earth shattering move in using his 199th overall pick in drafting what would go on to be the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. Despite what you might think, Brady did not begin his career as the starting quarterback of Belichick’s Patriots. Instead, he was stuck playing behind NFL Veteran Drew Bledsoe. But that would soon change in only the second game of his second NFL season, when Drew Bledsoe suffered a career altering injury to his chest, thus giving the reins to the second year Tom Brady. The Patriots would then never look back as they were able to go 11-5 on the season and go all the way to Super Bowl 36 where they would eventually win the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Thus, the dynasty was born.

The Dynasty:

The Patriots would go on to use their historic run in 2001 to build a distinct and rich culture, enforced by Bill Belichick, that would go on to be the driving force behind their eventual 20 year dynasty. Beginning in 2001, the New England Patriots were able to win a total of three Super Bowls over the course of a four-year span, with Super Bowl victories in the 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. One of the major factors to the team’s success was the collection of talent that they had at their disposal, especially on their defense. This talent consisted of players such as Willie McGinest, Ty Law, and Rodney Harrison just to name a few.

The New England Patriots remained an NFL powerhouse throughout the remainder of the 2000s, due to the teams decision to go out and acquire future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss. Over the course of the team’s historic 2007 season, the duo of Randy Moss and Tom Brady ran rampant on NFL defenses, resulting in them hooking up for touchdowns a total of 21 times over the year. This had also been the best collection of talent that Tom Brady would have at his disposal since entering the NFL with receivers headlined by the duo of Moss and Wes Welker. Tom Brady would use this talent to help him win his first MVP award behind his 50 total touchdown passes. The Patriots were only the second team in NFL history to go 16-0 in the regular season and ended up cruising through the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl. But despite the odds, the Eli Manning lead New York Giants knocked off the Patriots to win Super Bowl 42, thus ruining their almost perfect season.

The off season that followed would be a tumultuous one for the boys from Boston as they were caught illegally stealing signals from various teams around the NFL. This event would later be dubbed as the Spy Gate Controversy. This would cost them to not only be slandered by sports analysts around the country, but also lose a substantial amount of draft capitol. Which in my opinion, cost them the ability to compete at their highest level over the next few years.

The Patriots were indeed able to return to the Super Bowl in 2010 but fell short once again to the Eli Manning led New York Football Giants.

The Patriots would go on to win three more Super Bowls throughout the 2010s as they were able to once again flood their rosters with talent thanks to coach Belichick, Tom Brady would also continuously taking enormous pay cuts in order for his team to have more money to use to contend. This talent included the likes of Defensive Back Darrell Revis, Tight End Rob Gronkowski, Receiver Julian Edelman, and Special teams specialist Mathew Slater just to name a few.

Beginning of the end:

In my opinion, the beginning of the end of the Patriots dynasty was in 2014 when the Patriots were accused of illegally deflating footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts, which they supposedly did in order to help their offense gain an unfair edge over their competition. This event would then cause a tumultuous off season for the Pats, one full of endless tabloid and media coverage. This whole situation was made even more of an issue considering New England went on to win the Super Bowl that year after Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll somehow forgot who his running back was with the game on the line. This off season would end with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announcing before the start of the 2015 NFL season that Tom Brady would be suspended for the first four games of the season. The Patriots would also be docked two future draft picks.

But in true Patriot fashion, instead of allowing this to sink their their next season, the Bill Belichick led team found a way to go 3-1 in the absence of Tom Brady with the huge contributions made by Brady’s soon to be successor Jimmy Garoppolo. The team used the events that led up to the season as motivation to go on and make it all the way to the AFC Championship where they would then fall short against a red hot Peyton Manning led Broncos team, which possessed a historic defense that year.  The next year the Patriots were able to once again win the Super Bowl after completing their 25 point historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51.

In the offseason following Super Bowl 51, Bill Belichick had a decision to make: move on from the quarterback that helped him win five Super Bowl championships and put their future in the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo, or keep Brady and trade Garoppolo. According to multiple sources in the sports world, Bill wanted to roll with the young Garoppolo, but Robert Kraft felt loyal to Brady and forced the team to ship Garoppolo off to another team. This decision forced the New England Patriots to give Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for seemingly nothing, when they could have instead got a 27-year-old experienced quarterback that could have led their team championships for years to come. This decision made by Kraft seemingly ended the agreement that Belichick would have complete control of his roster. It was heavily rumored after the move that Tom Brady was lobbying for the front office to make this move in order for him to not have to worry about the young Garoppolo coming in and possibly taking his spot in the near future. The Patriots had another dominant season in 2018 but ended up falling short in the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles, led through the playoffs by Nick Foles. The Patriots never looked the same after the 2018 season. The focal point of the Patriots offense, Rob Gronkowski, began to slow down due to countless injuries and surgeries. The Patriots were able to bounce back and win their final Super Bowl in 2018 against an extremely talented 2018 Rams squad, who in my opinion, choked against a Patriots team that was generally not as talented as we had grown accustomed to seeing.

Over the course of this run, Bill Belichick was often referred to as the villain of the NFL. This in my opinion was made pretty much out of spite for how great of a coach he was, But also his credibility was pretty much tarnished due to the scandals of Spy Gate and Deflate Gate. In fact, these scandals are once again at the forefront of the league as the Patriots were caught illegally recording the sideline of the Cincinnati Bengals leading up to their week 15 match up from this past season. This is especially suspicious due to not only the team’s history of cheating, but also the complete ineptitude of the Cincinnati Bengals who were 1-13 at the time. Do you really need to cheat to beat a one-win team??

My Opinion:

Tom Brady is beginning to not look as sharp as he did early on in his career. Over the course of this season, the offense honestly looked terrible and they basically relied solely on their No. 1 ranked defense to win games. This form of winning would eventually unsurprisingly cause them to lose in the wild card round against the Derrick Henry led Titans team, which I expected. Coach Belichick also looked purely out coached by his former partner-in-crime, Mike Vrabel. This would be the first time they lost in the first round of the playoffs since the 2009 season and, on top of this, it appears like Tom Brady will be taking his talents elsewhere this off season and in the process leave the Patriots without a sure future. Despite Patriots fans being hopeful he will return, I simply do not see it happening due to him no longer being interested in taking pay cuts due to the team not putting enough pieces around him to succeed at his age, especially considering the amount of money he has saved them over the years. In my opinion, the biggest deciding factor in the Patriots’ lack of a clear future was the decision the front office made to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, due to their loyalty to Tom. If the Patriots would not have made that move, the Patriots would have been set up for another 15 years plus. Now the Patriots will be sitting at home watching Garoppolo lead his 49ers to what could be his franchises 6th Super Bowl title, While they are left sitting at home, for the first time in what seems like ages. They will basically be stuck with nothing after this off season solely because of that move. At the end of the day, this historic dynasty was brought to a screeching halt due to the constantly clashing of egos between Kraft, Belichick and Brady. Despite what your opinion is about their cheating scandals, you have to give a tip of the cap to New England for being able to stretch this out for so long. Prior to the drafting of Brady in 2000, the Patriots were the laughingstock of the National Football League, but nearly 20 seasons later he is leaving them tied with my Pittsburgh Steelers as the most successful team in NFL history. That is something that I believe everyone can respect and admire.