By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Resistance is futile.
For the Trekkies out there (And who isn’t a Star Trek fan?), you will get the reference right away. The Patriots are officially the Borg of the NFL, they simply cannot be stopped.
For those of you, who have somehow lived without watching the best science fiction franchise ever, let me translate – the team that calls Foxboro home has now surpassed cockroaches and Twinkies when it comes to being indestructible.
Take away a number-one draft pick and the GOAT at the quarterback position for four games to start the season – the seemingly irreplaceable Tom Brady – due to a silly witch hunt that targeted the most successful team in the salary cap era so the NFL commissioner could win back the support of the other 29 owners due to him bungling the Ray Rice incident; and they will go on the road to Arizona and beat a Cardinals team that many have picked as a Super Bowl favorite in the NFC on national TV.
And not only will TB12’s replacement look like an adequate fill-in, he will look like the second coming for his first six quarters as the QB in command; leading the Pats to an impressive win to start the season, and stomping the Miami Dolphins in his first half of play in his home stadium to the tune of a 21-0 walk over in the making.
Then, take the best tight end to ever take to the gridiron – Rob Gronkowski – and put him in mothballs with a hamstring injury for the first two games of the season, just to spice things up.
Turn it up even a notch further, and take away the boy wonder that looked like he could step in and take over for Tom Terrific without missing a beat due to a shoulder injury, then stick a raw rookie – third-round pick Jacoby Brissett – in his place, and the sky should certainly fall, right?
No problem. The best coach/general manager/manipulator of men will just dumb down his offense to a 1970’s three yards and a cloud of ground up tire pellets level, and save his defense from despair, while grounding out the clock to another regular-season victory for the most hated team in sports.
Face it, football fans; the beat simply goes on for the best program in professional sports.
Despite your best efforts, Roger Goodell – and the other 29 cities that stick needles in the Pat Patriot dolls on a weekly basis to no avail – no matter what you do, the Patriots will always matter.
Bill Belichick is just that good.
Love him, hate him; make a diety out of him, or despise him. The largely hated man, which more times than not dons a hoodie, is the best this business has ever seen.
In fact, it is easy to argue that his boredom when it comes to the competition in the NFL during his nearly two-decade tenure at the helm of the best franchise in football, led to the team going 10 years without a title because he found it more fun to do things the hard way.
How many years was Brady given the Flotsam and Jetsam of weapons from Belichick, only for the pair to find a way to win the AFC East and be true contenders for a Lombardi Trophy despite their deficiencies?
Or to flip the script, how many times did TB12 lead the most potent offense in the NFL, only to have a porous defense be unable to play at a championship level when it was necessary?
The bottom line is, Belichick hasn’t been called upon to coach the way he has these first two games of the season since 2001, mostly because he could always rely on Brady to bail him out. And even though he has had teams struggle out of the gate in the past, he invariably knew that having the greatest ever to play his position is a luxury that no one in the league has ever experienced to the level he has.
But, then again, no one has ever built the type of organization he has – salary cap era, or not.
For Patriots fans, the good news is like a layer cake after starting 2-0 without Tom Brady. It is certainly sweet, to see that Jimmy Garoppolo may just be the real deal, and it is an added treat to steal a win against a division rival when it seemed as if everything was working against them.
However, beneath that layer of frosting that is Jimmy G, and the cake that is a 31-24 win against the Miami Dolphins behind their third-string QB for over half the game; is the patch of pudding that a pissed-off Patriot legend is just two weeks away from coming back to lay waste to the league.
While some will say that Pats fans should be embarrassed by the amount of riches they have enjoyed over the 16 years of the greatest coach/quarterback tandem ever; the rest of the league should be jealous about the general manager who has built the best program ever in the history of the most popular sport in America.
Bill Belichick simply knows how to win. And depending where you call home, it is either the most infuriating thing, or the most invigorating thing you have ever experienced in your sporting life.