Latest theory paints new villain behind Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots' split

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots / Al Bello/GettyImages

Since Tom Brady shocked the NFL world four years ago when he announced he was leaving the Patriots after 20 seasons, there has been a lot of debate about how the team found themselves in that position after accomplishing an unheard of amount of success by one franchise.

There had been rumblings of behind-the-scenes drama between Bill Belichick and the quarterback, with some reports indicating it went back to the 2014 Draft.

It has been alleged that the head coach had a fondness for new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and by 2017, he wanted to keep him and trade Brady despite the second run of the dynasty the Patriots were currently on.

At some point, Brady found out about it and was unsurprisingly not pleased, which only bubbled over when Belichick wasn't willing to give him a proper contract extension or payday two years later. It's what ultimately led to Brady's decision to leave New England and play for the Bucs, a detail he confirmed earlier this year.

We then saw a drastic change in him from the guy he became known for during his NFL career, who was primarily buttoned up, very competitive, and most importantly, serious. He was all those things in Tampa Bay, but on a lesser scale, as he was much more open to showing his true personality, earning him the nickname "Tampa Tom."

Belichick was then blamed for keeping this more fun side of Brady hidden over the previous 20 years; something Patriots fans wish they had seen more of during the run of a lifetime, especially with a guy like Rob Gronkowski on the team.

But Belichick, being the czar of what is deemed appropriate behavior in New England, is now in question since he "mutually parted ways" with the franchise earlier this offseason. We've seen a different side to the head coach that had only been seen behind closed doors.

Theory suggests the real problem for Patriots between Belichick/Brady/Kraft

A funny, engaging, and less closed-off version of Belichick has been everywhere the last few months. His most memorable moments were his appearance on the Pat McAfee Show's draft special and his set during the Tom Brady roast special a couple of weeks ago.

Belichick is now set to be a recurring guest on McAfee's show during the 2024 season and a regular on Peyton and Eli Manning's "ManningCast."

It's all completely unexpected for the former Patriots head coach, who most believed would be soaking up the sun in his Nantucket mansion this season until he could return to the NFL in 2025.

Because we have now seen the authentic versions of Brady and Belichick, the theory arises that perhaps Robert Kraft was the one pulling the strings the whole time, dictating how the team had to conduct themselves on and off the field.

Because two of the Patriots' three mainstays during their historic run have gone elsewhere and behaved totally differently, the common denominator appears to be the team's owner.

Kraft is the only one who remains and has changed a bit during either departure, formulating the conclusion that he was responsible for the "no fun" environment for so long.

Everything seems to back up that theory now that we're seeing a different side of Belichick, who had been labeled a stubborn, dull, and unenthusiastic character for his entire career until recently.

Had he not left the Patriots earlier this year, the belief regarding Kraft's involvement in creating a very serious atmosphere in Foxboro wouldn't have even been considered. Knowing what we know now, it's an interesting factor to ponder when reflecting on the dynastic years.

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