The 2023 New England Patriots are a team free-falling to the bottom of the NFL. More than that, the team is suffering from a reality that is even more crushing, irrelevance. For a former dynasty unequaled in NFL history, that is the worst retrogression of all.
The winds of change are howling in Foxborough. Change is coming; just the form and specifics are in question.
The Patriots have largely floundered since the team unceremoniously kicked the greatest player ever to play the game, Tom Brady, to the curb after the 2018 Super Bowl-winning season. (Yes, he played here in 2019 but was de facto out after 2018).
The onus for the current poor season and more rests on the team's owner Robert Kraft. Kraft allowed the relationship between head football guy Bill Belichick and Brady to fester without intervening. And then, he evidently gave Brady the go-ahead to leave.
Both were horrible decisions. As this offseason quickly approaches, Kraft will have to step up if his once-feared and now laughingstock franchise is to approach respectability again. The decision-making on the future of the franchise will rest with head honcho Bill Belichick and Mr. Kraft. Speculation abounds about Belichick's post-2023 situation.
There's discussion that Belichick should relinquish total personnel control. If that's unacceptable, he should make the decision. The thought here is that he wouldn't accept that situation. Whatever, he should get all the consideration he deserves. He's earned it.
It will either be his running the whole show, or he'll likely head out of town. If the latter is the case, there is one person who fits the bill to a T to run things post-Belichick. Should a parting of ways take place, what better face of the New England Patriots franchise could there be to run the show than, well, the face of the franchise, Tom Brady?
New England Patriots would hit a Grand Slam with Brady running the show
The value of such an appointment would be easy to assess. First, the team immediately becomes THE headliner of the 2024 offseason. It would then be up to Brady to assemble a Dream Team of personnel managers and coaches to work with him in re-creating the culture of success that left with him after 2019.
The choice here for the head of personnel under Brady would be Louis Riddick, a plug-and-play top NFL person with loads of experience in all the right areas. That notwithstanding, Brady would make a great choice. Similarly, he could get a top new coach to sign on.
Who wouldn't want to partner with the greatest player of all time in a new era of New England Patriots football dominance?
So, should things not work out with Bill, if you want to rock the NFL world, Mr. Kraft, the top choice has to be to go with the guy who brought you to the top in the first place, Brady. With all that in mind, however, here's why it isn't likely to happen.
First, Tom Brady is probably enjoying his "retirement" from football, so why would he want to assume the headaches of trying to reanimate the moribund Patriots franchise? Brady can basically do whatever he wants to now and choose whatever career choices he desires to be successful at next.
And he'll be successful at whatever he chooses. So it would take quite a sales pitch from Mr. Kraft to make such an eventuality happen. Yet, Kraft is a great business person. So, as former Celtics great Kevin Garnett once said, "Anything is possible!".
Why Tom Brady as New England Patriots President of Football Operations probably won't happen, but ...
It's certainly not likely, but ... before dismissing it altogether, one thing has to be kept in mind. In Tom Brady, you are talking about the uber-competitor. He's the sixth-round pick with a chip on his shoulder as large as a giant sequoia tree. Tell him or suggest he can't do something, and it's game on.
Want a competitor, there's none better. Want excellence, none better. Want an opportunity to again be a destination for top personnel managers, coaches, and players and immediately be relevant again without winning a single football game? Then get Tom Brady on board to run it all. There'd be no one better.
So there's the suggestion to Mr. Kraft should things fall apart with Bill Belichick. Realistically, none of this will happen. It would take some really innovative thinking by the New England Patriots and the willingness of their former all-time great to take on the challenge of restoring their once-great franchise.
But think of it: Tom Brady returns, and the New England Patriots rule the NFL again. Yes, it's probably not happening, but we can dream, can't we?
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