New England Patriots : Road to Super Bowl

Brandon Graham's strip-sack finished the season 2017-18, and for the New England Patriots the season 2018-19 began from that moment.

New England Patriots is not about love

Despite the fact that everyone is already accustomed to the mantra “This is Patriots”, every year the media try to find a new reason to question the claims of the Massachusetts team for the next Lombardi Trophy.

Tom Brady | New England Patriots

This time only the madmen started the barrel organ again: “the empire is over”, “Brady passed”, “Belichik is not the same”. However, this time, the representatives of the sports media chatter-machine decided to throw a new topic on the fan: the relationship between the three key figures at the helm of the club - Robert Kraft, Bill Belichik and Tom Brady. The catalyst was the great material by Seth Wickersham, published in ESPN on a wild card week, and later published on the publication’s website.

After the release of that material, a year has already passed, it was dismantled into quotes and long ago revealed the real details and those that are sucked out of the finger.

The main points of those conversations that lasted no more than a month, a maximum of two:

* Crisis growth of conflicts between Belichik and Brady
* Conflict of Belichik and Kraft amid demands to exchange Garropolo
* The influence of Alex Guerrero on the team

Why is it important now to recall the raft of that material?

This, perhaps, is the topic that, over time, should finally convince everyone that the top of the New England Patriots is not the heroes of the Youth series, but a real professional  machine. No sentiment.

It’s time for everyone to understand that American football is a business, and for the Patriots it’s exclusively business. Be that as it may, it’s worth acknowledging that in all the points discussed there is some truth: Belichik and Brady really had a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings against the background of the fact that Tom is annoyed by the lack of creativity and this depersonalizes his successes in the Bill system and retains a dashed sign issue in its status of GOAT. This was confirmed by New England players from different times. But is it that important?

Most of these are conflicts that cannot be avoided, as in any normal family that spends more than 80% of their time with each other. It is important to understand: even if their relationship is worse than just conflict and sharp, they will not bring it to the public and stop what gives the result. No wonder Brady has repeatedly said that “Belicek is the best coach for him.” But you will never hear from them detailed statements about each other's human qualities. “We always had a good relationship,” is the maximum.

They understand everything better than you, better than us and better than any heretic journalist. They found a combination that perfectly reveals everyone’s strengths, and these are not the people who sacrifice what they have achieved. And besides, remember John Alway and Mike Senehan, who had far from a good relationship, or Terry Bradshaw, who hated Chuck Noll, but together they won 4 rings.

We are going further. The story of Belichik's desire to leave Garropolo and write off Brady has the most gaps. Now Tom Brady is getting ready to play in his ninth Super Bowl, and Garropolo will watch it on TV (possibly in the company of some **** star), as well as for the regular season. Given that according to rumors, Belichik allegedly offered Garropolo about 17-18 million a year, while the club allegedly was going to observe the progression of the 40+ year-old Brady for at least another 2 years, it seems that this is clearly not about the New England Patriots ". Belichik only in rare cases agrees to give someone a contract more than 50% of what he deserves, and here the idea is to spend half the payment on two quarterbacks. Are you seriously?!

And the fact that Kraft vetoed the preservation of Garropolo and demanded his exchange, can only be believed by a madman. A man who didn’t even say a word when his favorite Drew Bledsoe sat down on the bank for the sixth round, when his favorites, such as Wes Welker, Adam Vinatieri, Chandler Jones, Danny Amendola and others, were written off with a light hand, suddenly decided to veto the decision of MOST Bill Belichik ???

Well, the most difficult question is the influence on the players of the team of Alex Guerrero - a personal trainer and partner Tom Brady in the TB12 brand. There is indeed plenty of evidence that New England players face difficult choices during health problems: contact the chief healer of their 41-year-old quarterback or go to club physiotherapists. Gronkowski and Edelman continue to work with Guerrero on an ongoing basis, which adds whists in favor of the latter (although it is still unclear where the preparations came from, for which Julian was disqualified for 4 matches). One way or another, Belichik never answers questions regarding Guerrero, and Brady in most cases avoids this topic.

Anyway, here I would like to note two points:

* Belichik went to meet Guerrero and gave Brady a chance to be a full-fledged part of the team. In 2014, Bill gave Alex access to all the medical records of players that Guerrero had never used. And when Belichik realized that Guerrero was behaving separately and was not ready to be part of a large mechanism, he cut him off from constant participation in team events, including from traveling on trips and being on the edge.

* If Belichik himself went to a meeting with a non-football person outside his organization, then the latter had or still has a certain credit of trust. In addition, since Bill still has not imposed any ban on the interaction of players with Guerrero, this means that this moment is clearly settled in the team. Most likely, players who decide not just to consult, but to undergo rehabilitation not in the club medical center have any specific financial responsibility for their condition.

The moral of the whole fable is this: none of us can ever learn, take into account and analyze more components of the success of a football organization than the current leaders of the Patriots. We will never know the whole truth about what is happening in their internal communications, but we can be sure that if there are quarrels, conflicts, indignation and misunderstandings, they will always be resolved in favor of what is happening on the field. .

Remember once and for all: “New England Patriots” is not about love. There is no romance. It is between Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, between the Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton, between New York and Eli Manning, after all. And “New England Patriots” is about how to win.

McDaniels Mania

While the most repulsed media representatives tried to separate the grain from the chaff in Wickersham’s material, the Patriots began preparations for the new season.

Even before the Super Bowl took place, it became known that their defense coordinator Matt Patricia would leave the team for the Detroit Lions. On Tuesday, after the defeat in Minneapolis, it was reported that Indianapolis Colts was hosting a press conference on Wednesday to introduce Josh McDaniels as his head coach. A plane from Boston to Indianapolis has already been ordered.

However, the Patriots made an appointment with their attack coordinator that same Tuesday. Bill Belichick was the only one who did not directly discourage McDaniels from going on to promotion to the Colts, but he knew the main priorities of Josh, whose four children were preparing to move to a new city and a new school.

As a result, Robert Kraft offered Josh the largest contract for the coordinators - more than $ 4 million a year with a safe duration of 5 years. In addition, Josh was promised to participate in the selection of players and the distribution of the budget, which left a hint that it was McDaniels who was considered a potential successor to Belichik. No matter how Josh said that he did not want to take the place of his teacher

If, for Bill himself, the preservation of McDaniels was not a matter of principle, then why did the Patriots issue such a carte blanche to their coordinator? First of all - the famous proverb "if it works, do not break it."

However, there is another factor - Tom Brady. The day before the meeting between Kraft, Belichik and McDaniels, Tom called Bob Kraft. It is said that it was Brady who provided the greatest number of arguments in order to keep his attack coordinator, with whom he made excellent communication.

Then you know what happened. Indianapolis took one of the Super Bowl triumphs, and McDaniels never got on the plane ordered by the Colts.

Later it became known that the Patriots would not look for a new defense coordinator, but would nominally transfer this role to their lineback coach Brian Flores.


In picking up the Patriots squad, key questions were about options for Tom Brady. Especially considering that until the beginning of April the future of Rob Gronkowski was unclear. Many were embarrassed by Brady’s silence until mid-spring, but despite taking a long rest, Tom’s agent was always in touch with the club, and Brady himself repeatedly mentioned in the locker room that he wanted to play until 45 (we received a proof from mouth of Tom himself).

In the New England market, as usual, it acted on a yes-no-no-no basis. Almost no one of the players had a bid, no matter what role they played. So the team left Danny Amendola, who, despite disagreeing with many of Belichik's methods, wanted to stay for a small fee for his family - the 32-year-old receiver went to Miami. According to the same principle, runnin-back Dion Lewis, a special player, left. teams and rotation d-back Johnson Bademosi, the main team tackle and soul of the locker room Nate Salder, who at that time became the highest paid o-liner in the league. Also, Malcolm Butler left, who did not receive any explanation about his removal from participation in the game in the Super Bowl.

All these partings were coldly and prudently accepted by Bill Belicek (as usual) and the coaching staff, and only Tom Brady personally called every departed patriot with words of gratitude and wishes of good luck.

The Patriots retained Rex Burkehead's runnin back and LaAdrian Waddle's spare tackle, who replaced Marcus Cannon at the end of last season, as well as important special team players Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner.

The only noticeable replenishment in the free agent market was Adrian Claiborne, whom the Bostonians by their standards seriously forked out, having rolled out a deal of 12 million for two years to the liner. This signing was intended to strengthen the rotation in the front-seven, which seriously lacked experience and class after the departure of Chris Long and Jabaal Sherd a year earlier. Later this will be confirmed by activity before and during the draft.

Even before the draft, the patriots made several key deals, exchanging the expiring diff-flow contracts of Danny Shelton and D-back Jason McCorty from the Cleveland Browns, which should have been expelled and were already noted by Matt Patricia. One of the most dangerous returnees in NFL history, Cordarrell Patterson, who was able to help and attack on occasion, was obtained from Auckland.

Well, the cherry of all spring exchanges was the traditional rejection of future spending on a young receiver, as a result of which Brandin Cooks, while he was still worth something, was exchanged at Los Angeles Rams for two peaks of the upcoming draft, the most valuable of which is 23 th.


When someone said that the Patriots didn’t have any opportunities for strengthening, he forgot that in the era of Bill Belichik, out of the 15 first picks of the draft rounds, only 6 were not subsequently selected at least once in the Pro Bowl or the All-Pro team. This six includes the well-known tight end-points Daniel Graham and Benjamin Watson, linear Nate Solder and Malcolm Brown, who is still the main player in New England.

In 2018, at the time of the draft, the Patriots had two peaks of the first round at once - for the first time in three years, New England had the opportunity to strengthen in the first batch of the student fair. As you can see, the two peaks of the first round for patriots are 1.5 guaranteed Pro Bowlers.

Knowing that Gronk will return, Edelman, even after disqualification, will be ready to play at full strength, and, having signed Jordan Matthews, the Patriots focused on strengthening their line and the out-game as a whole.

In the first round, two Georgia players were selected, college roommates and good friends - tackle Isaiah Wynn and early-back Sonya Michel. In addition, Trent Brown was traded at San Francisco 49rs. It became clear that the position of Nate Solder is likely to be closed.

In total, during the days of the draft, the Patriots made 8 record exchanges for themselves.

The biggest fraud was peaks 43 (received once by Jimia Garropolo) and 63, which in multiple transactions transformed into elections under the 56th (cornerback Duke Dawson) and 178th (linebacker Christian Sam) numbers, and with them additional peaks were received the second and third round in 2019 - from Chicago (56) and Detroit (73), respectively.

You tell me, Dawson and Sam were injured and have not yet brought benefits to the team. Where is Garropolo now, who probably would not have played a single match for New England in the last year and a half?

And if you recall that Jimmy Garropolo was the 62nd peak, then for number 62 in the 2014 draft, the Patriots got 2 wins in the regular season, two choices in the second round, the choice of the third round and sixth. How do they even do that ?!

Naturally, some non-coded guys were picked up, among whom at the end of the year we will know a man named JC Jackson.

Thus, in the spring, the Patriots at least almost all the problematic lines in the composition were covered with bodies. The only question that wasn’t answered was the alpha receiver.

Offseason and key injuries

At various stages of the preseason, as is often the case in the NFL, the Patriots lost a number of players on whom they counted, though not “here and now”, but in the future for sure.

Tekl, a newcomer to Isaiah Wynne, broke the Achilles, after which it became clear that Trent Brown would take the place at the start. Newcomer Corner Duke Dawson received a severe stretch, and Christian Sam, the first-year linebacker, was especially prominent before the end of the season.

Earlier, a few days before the training camp, the receiver was Jordan Matthews, who was expelled, and Eric Dekker, who signed up for the camp, was unable to positively establish himself, after which he also parted. Thus, Brady was left with two legitimate hosts for the first matches - Dorsett and Hogan.

In addition, a couple of weeks before the start of the season Sonya Michelle started having knee problems, Markus Cannon, James Devlin, Nate Ebner and Jacob Hollister suffered minor injuries, and Jeremy Hill, who was previously signed, will be lost at the start of the season.

There were plenty of problems, but in the pre-season forecasts, few doubted that the Patriots should take their division. Despite all the attempts to stir up the dirty clothes of the Bostonians, to trumpet about their problems with the roster, most journalists gave them at least 10-11 victories before the start of the season, and in the ratings of the strongest, they were not listed below the TOP-6 in any of the publications.

Start of the season

New England opened the season with a home game against Houston Texans. Dashon Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, the return of JJ Watt and the debut of Tyrone Matthew - such a match-up can not be called a reason for the buildup.

Brady and Co. began with a “3 end out”, but the DeShon Watson fumble in their first possession gave the Patriots a second chance, which they took full advantage of. The first touchdown of the season brought Rob Gronkowski. Brady later outfitted Dorsett and White. The first half ended with a score of 21-6 in favor of the hosts. Houston was content with the first 6 downs, and one of the field goals was gained largely due to Tyrone Matthew's interception.

Despite two “Texans” touchdowns in the second half, it can be said that Houston got a chance at the final hail mary only because of an error in receiving the antler from Riley McCaron, who the Patriots dismissed from the main team the next day.

27-20 - the first victory. No one could have imagined that it would look so easy against the background of JJ Watt and Jadevion Clowney, content with three streams and two strokes of the quarterback for two and Deshon Watson, who completed the game with an interception, fumble and 50% compliments.

The main character of the Patriots was Rob Gronkowski, who noted his pseudo-return to the NFL with 123 yards and a touchdown. Together with Dorsset and White, they made 18 receptions at 227 yards and three times reached the test. Do they really need an extra receiver?

This question was answered by the rematch of the final of the conference of last year against the Jaguars. With a 36-degree heat, the patriots have suffered perhaps the most crushing defeat in history. And the account does not reveal the fullness of perception.

Everything worked out for the jaguars that evening: Blake Bortles gave out the best game of his career with 4 touchdowns and 376 yards. Kilan Cole and Didi Westbrook caught 200 yards for two and made crazy fishing trips all over Internet resources, the super-motivated Florida defense seemed to end Rob Grankovsky’s career for him and limited New England to 82 yards.

3-21 in the first half and 20-31 in total.

The day after the game with Jacksonville, the league is full of news that the Patriots have exchanged the troubled receiver Josh Gordon from the Cleveland Browns. Almost no one doubted that in New England the super-talented host would be given everything so that he could show his strengths and focus on football.

In the third week , New England representatives met with their old friend Matt Patricia and his Detroit Lions.

In addition to the fact that the recently signed Josh Gordon received a slight sprain in one of his first training sessions, Detroit failed to play starting safty Patrick Chang, diff-end Trey Flowers and cornerback Eric Rowe. Until recently, the status of the tackle of Marcus Cannon, who continued to fight with the calf muscle injury received in the preseason, was not clear.

Almost for the first time in the history of the New England Patriots, they were not ready for the game, not only physically, but also strategically. The knowledge of Patricia helped turn off the host Tom Brady from the game. In the first half, the Boston attack earned only 3 first downs and 70 yards - 3-13.

And despite the fact that in the second 30-minute “Patriots” transformed Ja'Von Bentley’s interception into a touchdown, which reduced the difference to three points (from 52 yards to the opponent’s offset 25 were passed due to violations of the “Lions”), that Bill Belichik’s plan does not work due to limited resources.

More patriots could not do anything. Detroit’s defense dominated. Brady finished the game with 133 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The giant game of lions suddenly became an out-of-game game. Carrion Johnson was the first Lyons run-back runner in 5 years to score 100+ yards — the last time Reggie Bush did it in November 2013.

The Patriots lost 10–26. They lost to Detroit for the first time since 2000 and for the first time in 6 years they received a negative balance of victories and defeats - 1-2.

Two defeats in a row gave the skeptics of the patriots a holiday, however, most experts said that they still need to play in the current combinations, see what Josh Gordon can give this team and how Julian Edelman will return. The most daring publications rejected the Patriots in their ratings for the top ten. This was the first and last week when the Boston fell out of the TOP-8. Given the average quotes, we can say that since then they will never leave the rating of the TOP-6 league teams represented by experts.

Winning streak

The next two home games against Miami Dolphins, which started 3-0, and Indianapolis Colts, cast aside all doubts that the setbacks at the start were only echoes of reforming some problem lines and a systematic set of playing tone.

Despite 4 interceptions, in two games Tom Brady earned 6 touchdowns on the pass, 1 on the take-out and 615 yards. His line did not allow a single sec and provided the team with an external game.

Rookie Sonya Michel scored 210 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, and Josh Gordon, playing less than 25% of snaps on average, caught 4 goals for 82 yards, one of which is set off. Cordarrell Patterson scored two tricks, and Julian Edelman triumphantly returned with 7 tricks in the match against the Colts.

The Patriots defense picked up two fumbles and made 3 interceptions, one of which was accounted for by the un-drafted rookie JC Jackson.

The Dolphins attack on Gillette Stadium earned just 191 yards, and Andrew Luck earned his 365 yards and 3 touchdowns at the cost of 59 pass attempts and two interceptions.

76 - 31 the result of two home matches.

The first serious test for the Patriots was the next two weeks. In the league at that time a pool of favorites of the season had already formed, however, there were no teams with a comprehensive advantage in all lines. However, the patriots were almost the only test subject who could feel pressure on all fronts in two matches.

In the sixth week , Foxboro was granted an undefeated powerful league attack in the person of the Patrick Mahomes phenomenon and the Kansas City Chiefs, and on the seventh, the Boston went on a visit to Kalil Mack and his monstrous defense, Chicago Bears

The match against Chiefs was one of the wildest and most spectacular of the season. A bunch of highlights, a Mahomes comeback with its bombs on Hill and Hunt, a 692-yard game of two quarterbacks, another 100+ Michel yards and 2 touchdowns. New England lost the second half of 31-16 thanks in large part to the miracles of Mahomes and the trauma of linear Marcus Cannon. But at a crucial moment, the Patriots killer instinct awakened.

It is unclear why, on the final drive, the spare Chefs d’back Josh Shaw was left face to face with Rob Gronkowski, but Tom Brady naturally could not miss this - 39 yards from the Bronk combination and a gorgeous position for Gostkovsky. Field goal with 28 yards issued a victory 43-40 in favor of the hosts.

Before the game in Chicago, many said: the Patriots attack line can look good only against the backdrop of weak defenses, and without the key right tack and Rob Gronkowski against the Bears pass rush, they have no chance. Those who dkmal so, for some reason forgot one key point: "this is the Patriots."

All that was required to contain the Bears front-seven in one sec per game and with only five streams for the McHicks-Goldman trinity was to add the extra-linear in the face of Dwayne Allen.

To deter Chicago's front-sevens does not mean to shut it out of the game for good. There was still one failure from Trent Brown, which led to the fumble and injury of Sonya Michel. But still, rather the Patriots' mistakes, rather than their own achievements, allowed the bears to stay afloat in that game - two fumbles and a violation of JC Jackson on the third down in his redzone

The X-factor was the game of New England special teams: the 95-yard kick-off return to the touchdown from Cordarrell Patterson and the first successful return of the downed antler from the Patriots in 23 years from Kyle Van Noah put everything in its place.

And despite the fact that Mitch Trubiski successfully completed the match one yard from extra time, in that game he was declassified by the cover of New England. 6 shots down, 2 interceptions from JC Jackson and Jonathan Jones, and at least 3 more situations that could and should have ended with interceptions - 38-31.

Despite only one touchdown in the attack, the Patriots rather casually and relaxed dealt with Buffalo away . But the battle of the two greatest quarterbacks of our time - Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady turned out to be a little less spectacular than expected. The attacks of both teams in that match were almost identical and it was clear that the defense efforts and the coaching thought would determine the game.

In the end, the play-play with screen pass of Julian Edelman on James White allowed the Patriots to advance 37 yards and step forward in the fourth quarter, and then the defense issued Rogers a “3 end out”. New England still brought a touchdown and scored 6 wins in a row, gaining a balance of 7-2 .

Second half of the season

In the last match before the buy-wick, the Patriots still lost. It happened on a visit to the Tennessee Titans.

This defeat looks the strangest among all the others and now it seems that the explanation for it is banal fatigue. The Titens' aggressive defense destroyed the Pats line, closed the takeaway, where Sonya Michel had just returned, and despite 185 yards from Edelman and Gordon, the Titans had seen the majority of the rivals rivaled in advance. Takeaway Tennessee moved the chains and became the key to Tennessee's victory - 10-34.

A lot of microtraumas and a 10-week load affected - a week of rest was very welcome. All speculations about the reasons for the defeat in Tennessee were confirmed in matches against the Jets and Wikings , to which current and future AFC champions came up in full combat readiness.

Two wins, 375 yards on takeaway, an almost perfect pass-defense that didn’t allow a single sec, nuclear Sonya Michelle, Tom Brady, involving 10 different hosts and defense, generating the opponent’s losses and giving new possession to his attack - this is the result.

Week 14 : What happened in Miami stays in Miami. Dolphins fans will call it a miracle, and Patriots fans will call it a misunderstanding.

On the 15th week, the team from New England was waiting for the last significant match-up in the regular season - the Pittsburgh Stillers, who lost three times in a row and fought for the victory in the division. Steelworkers finished touchdown two of the first three drives, and then for 39 minutes they could not score points. Nonetheless, the Patriots themselves didn’t even take into account the fact that everything with the prefix “takeaway” didn’t work for them in this match. As a result, Pittsburgh won in this defensive battle with the atmosphere and the heat of the post-season level.

The result of 9-5 threw patriots to the third line in the conference standings. It was obvious that the West would be unrealistic to beat the winner of the AFC division, but the fight with Texans, which New England beat in the first week, depended on Houston losing at least one of the two remaining matches.

The New England Patriots have not played in the Wild Card round since 2009, they have not won there since 2006, and all trips to the Super Bowl at Belicek began with a divisional round. So, getting an extra buy-in was important.

Despite the news that Josh Gordon had never overcome his demons , no one doubted that the Patriots would beat the Bills and the Jets and win their division. And so it happened - they remained undefeated at home. And Houston, in turn, already in the 16th week lost to the Philadelphia Eagles .

"Empire" finished the season 11-5 and went on a well-deserved rest before the divisional round.

Heroes and discoveries of the season:

Noting the best in the Patriots regular season, I don’t want to repeat how good Tom Brady is at his age, how calm Julian Edelman is at the decisive moments or how important Gronk is.

It is important to note precisely those who managed to strengthen the most stable team of the league with their appearance in the composition or personal progress. In addition, these are precisely those people who have become key elements of success in the playoffs.

Sony Michelle, 13 games, 931 takeaways, 6 touchdowns

Sonya Michelle gave a new life to the portable game Patriots. A newbie from Georgia repeated several 15-20 year old records for the New England pre-season. It was his game in most cases that helped unload Tom Brady, and you yourself know what he did in January. Four 100+ yard games in the regular season, 7 matches with 17 or more offsets. All this - with a constant struggle with injuries of the knee, and then the ankle. It’s scary to imagine what this guy is capable of in his 100% readiness. However, I don’t have to imagine - we have already seen this.

Trey Flowers, 15 games, 60.5 pressure on quarterback (7.5 secs, 22 hits, 31 pressures), 8 anti-removal tackles (with or without a set of yards) - team leader in all respects

Average pressure on quarterback since 12th week:

The Patriots Di-End has finally established itself as the main defense leader. For the third consecutive season, Flowers progresses in all components: in pressure on the quarterback (48, 5 pressures - in 2017, 26 - in 2016) and against removal (7 tackles with or without a set of yards in 2017 and 6 - in 2016). This man proved that he is able to close any hole and he is ready to be number 1 in his defense.

Trent Brown, 16 games, 33.5 allowed quarterback pressures (3.5 sec, 14 hits, 16 pressings)

Estimates of the teekles of the playoff attack:

After Nate Salder left, the position of the Patriots left tack became vacant. The Bostonians immediately bought two options for this place, having drafted Isaiah Wynn and exchanged Trent Brown from 49rs. After the beginner’s injury, the position remained with Brown, who did not disappoint.

Despite the fact that this season has become a roller coaster for the Patriots attack line, they have always been quoted in the TOP 10 of the online league and, whatever they say, successfully cope with the most powerful pressures. Yes, there was a game against the Titans, but there were matches against the busy fronts of Chicago and Minnesota, in which Brown did his job brilliantly.

For comparison: Nate Solder allowed 30 pressures last season (6 secs, 16 hits, 8 pressings). There is a difference?

JC Jackson, 13 games, 21 tackles, 6 down passes, 3 interceptions

Rating KB against him: 33.3 (20 compliments for 44 attempts, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions)

With the departure of Malcolm Butler, questions arose about the second starting corner. It was planned that he should become Eric Rowe (??? as a fan of the Eagles, I am still shocked by the trust placed in him by the Patriots), previously used in regular rotation. However, the unsuccessful start of the season and injuries knocked Row out of the fight for the position. By the end of the season, a new star had lit up in the Patriots second - the uncrafted rookie JC Jackson. He went from 10-20 percent of snaps per game to the starting corner. And as we know, he will not interfere in the post-season.

Playoffs. Your desires are your problems

What happened in the playoffs recalling in detail does not make sense. The Patriots, as usual, appeared as the most disciplined, cold-blooded and self-confident team, more like a robot.

Belichik prepared the most academic and simple plans for the game, which, with an almost perfect game of his staff, forever hid the team’s weaknesses.

If you look at the analysis of games with Bill himself, you will see that he did not invent

What is much more interesting to discuss is what was discussed around the Patriots matches: before and after them.

Let's start from the end: when Tom Brady tells Chris Hogan that someone inserted arguments like “Tom Brady is too old to win”, “Patriots don’t have any protection at all,” and “Chris Hogan lacks physics”, and so on - this is utter nonsense. Well, maybe, except for the last one.

Obviously, Tom goes too far, looking for motivation for himself. The only ones who could speak that way just before the playoffs or, especially, specifically before the match with Kansas were the buffoons of TV shows like First Take on ESPN who earn their millions by throwing provocative phrases to the right and left. Nobody has ever taken seriously or listened to them.

Nevertheless, the underestimation of "New England Patriots" in all US media, and not only, still was. Though not as huge as Tom believes.

The poll “Whose defeat would you like most?”:

If before the match with Kansas they had fewer statistical and actual advantages on paper, then before the match with the Chargers this could not be said so deliberately. Desire is what predetermined the rabid amount of bets on Los Angeles in the divisional round and on Kansas before the final of the conference. Almost the whole world just wanted the Patriots screwed up, hence the preponderance of predictions in favor of rivals in matches where the chances of winning objectively looked like 60/40 in favor of the hosts in both cases.

This is an element of drama in the show. New England is the main antagonist of the NFL, which viewers and screenwriters themselves simply do not digest on the screen, so everyone just needs a twist in which they screw up. No matter how illogical it looks. If the antagonist is not going to give up on his own, he will be persuaded to this. But our antagonist operates on actions and work on himself, and his opponents - on the tongue.

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