By Kevin Flanagan
It was a move that sports fans across New England have come to expect from the narcissistic/paranoid Red Sox ownership, and their team-owned version of Pravda, formerly known as the Boston Globe, would produce to create franchise friendly PR.
The Patriots announced the “roster” of their all-dynasty squad Thursday, at a time that their once Teflon reputation of preparation and competitiveness was beginning to resemble store brand tin foil.
Coming on the heels of an embarrassing loss against a bad Denver Broncos team at the stadium that Bledsoe and Parcells built on Route 1 in Foxboro last Sunday, the announcement seemed – to be kind – calculated.
After two decades of dominance that will never again happen in professional sports, the coach considered the greatest of all time and previously never would accept excuses had suddenly changed his once consistent tune.
Bill Belichick morphed into a sleeveless hoodie version of a Patriots Pez dispenser spitting out not so sweetly tasting alibis for the innumerous inequities surrounding the inept roster that he slapped together himself after the embarrassing loss.
So much like the 2012 Red Sox trotting out the ’04 World Series Champions in late September to cover up for a season that would make a dumpster fire smell appealing, the Kraft Sports Production Group went into full “nothing to see here” mode.
Under the guise of an exhibit at the Patriots Hall of Fame at Patriots Place, the thinly veiled attempt at distracting Pats fans – many of who are of a demographic that think NFL football was invented in 2001 – is just that.
Given fans have yet to be allowed in Gillette Stadium – and almost certainly won’t be anytime this season – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who will view the exhibit that opened on Friday will be far from overwhelming.
When discussing the announcement, the executive director of the Kraft family created shrine had this to say.
“As the 2010s drew to a close, we thought the timing was right to take a look back and compare the Patriots’ success to that of the other NFL teams, and the dominance was obvious.”
While the team concept is so much a part of that success, we thought it appropriate to also honor the best players from those teams, and the fans helped us make those selections.”
While that is certainly true, the release’s timing revealed two things that it likely wasn’t intended to do.
First and foremost, ownership knows that the glory days are gone, and it may be a long road before their team returns to a serious contender for another championship.
Secondly, the fall from grace could be faster and more challenging than anybody expected.
The argument over whether Belichick or Tom Brady had more to do with the two dynasties they provided to Pats fans over their two decades together will continue for years to come.
However, Bill the coach always had TB12 to make up for the mistakes of Bill the GM. That luxury isn’t there anymore for the surly sideline boss who seemingly couldn’t draft a wide receiver if Jerry Rice was his only option.
You reap what you sow, and for the Hooded One, that now means a roster comprised most by a bunch of Jimmys and Joes.
But never mind that, check out this dynasty roster we put together. You might as well enjoy the memories because it will likely be an extended period of time before another Lombardi Trophy makes it’s way to the display case in Robert Kraft’s office.
Follow on Twitter @KevinMFlanagan.