It's no surprise that when it comes to sports, Boston and New England generally have a hard time attracting top-tier talent, especially in the NBA and the NFL.
The weather stinks. The warm season is too short, the cold season is too long, we get way too much snow, and then there's nowhere to park. It's also unpredictable. Sometimes, you have to turn on your heat in June and your air conditioner in November.
It's also impossible to mention Boston without mentioning racism. Like it or not, it's the reputation the city has. Even beloved local comedian Bill Burr said that Boston is like a racist San Francisco. “It’s quaint, there’s history. If you want to get on a sailboat, you can, and then throw in the n-word.”
If there's one thing that's kept NFL free agents considering or even signing with the New England Patriots, it's the winning tradition. It's the environment that exists the minute you walk into the building. You're here to work, we're here to win, and if, like former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, you just want to have fun, go play for another team.
That culture was established, built upon, and forged into the franchise by the current head coach. He did it by hanging six banners in Gillette, which still attracts NFL players to an otherwise unpleasant place to play. Other than Philadelphia, name a more obnoxious fan base.
And now many of those same fans want to get rid of Bill Belichick. It is the number one recruiting piece and the team's only recruiting piece. What can you possibly sell a free agent on if he leaves?
“We aren't state income tax-free like Texas, Florida, Washington, and Nevada. We don't have the nightlife and celebrities of LA and New York. You can't plant political ambition here like you can in DC. But we used to be good, and we fired the guy who made us good the minute he started to do poorly. We plan to do the same to you. Sign here please.”
Maybe the Patriots can sell free agents on the media. All they want to report on here is negativity, and if there isn't anything negative to report on, they’ll make something up, claiming it came from imaginary sources “close to the situation” or “inside the organization.”
Or maybe, just maybe, they can keep the best coach of all time, who is still the best coach in the league, on their sidelines. They could let a guy with one of the league's best defenses (despite missing its two best defensive players) show what he can do with a competent quarterback running the offense.
Keep Belichick, or when you say goodbye to him, make sure to wave goodbye to any free agent you might ever want. Unlike the Red Sox, you have a salary cap and can't throw billions at guys in an off-season. Unlike the Celtics, you don't have elite homegrown talent. Without BB and the ability to sign decent free agents, you may be looking at a decade of 5-12 seasons.