Sure, quarterback Tom Brady leaving the Patriots was a pretty big deal. But when NFL historians look back at 2020, I’m guessing they will peg the end of New England’s dynasty as the moment coach Bill Belichick sold his soul to Subway in commercials even harder to stomach than those sandwiches.
“In the NFL, players come and go off teams each year,” Belichick said Tuesday, as if the departure of a Hall of Fame quarterback that won six championship rings for the Patriots was no different than a punter or a long-snapper.
Here today. Gone tomorrow. Eat a sammy. Life goes on.
Crabby Bill treats everybody like the dirt he walks on. Everybody, except Jon Bon Jovi, whom the Patriots coach adores like a rock ‘n’ roll god.
Well, 2020 seems as good a time as any to crank up “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Because whether the Broncos or Patriots win when they play Sunday depends largely on whether New England quarterback Cam Newton can beat the coronavirus.
“Who knows with all this COVID stuff?” Broncos linebacker Josey Jewel said.
Newton keeps getting tangled up in the Broncos’ storyline. When linebacker Von Miller dared to tug on Superman’s cape, Denver won Super Bowl 50.
Earlier this year, the Patriots signed Newton off the street to replace Brady, because Belichick didn’t know where else to turn for a quality quarterback. And Newton, the 2015 league MVP, led New England to a surprising 2-1 start by throwing for 714 yards and running for 149 yards in three starts.
Then Newton threw everything into disarray by testing positive for COVID-19 late last week.
Showing an amazing lack of foresight even for a dunderhead like commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL left no wiggle room in its regular-season schedule in the middle of a pandemic. But despite a COVID outbreak in Tennessee or the positive test for Newton, the show must go on, because pro football ain’t nothing but an excuse to bet $100 now.
So the league delayed the kickoff between the Chiefs and Patriots for more than 24 hours, forcing New England to hop on a plane Monday morning bound for Kansas City, where they bungled Belichick’s inspired defensive game plan against Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes.
Flying in on game day handed a “W” to K.C.
You say: What about the integrity of the sport?
And 2020 replies: Quit your belly-aching, Karen.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Pats played like jet-lagged Zombies.
There was 34-year-old quarterback Brian Hoyer making the rookie mistake of forgetting he was out of time outs at the end of the second quarter, which erased the shot a field goal that could’ve sent New England into the locker room tied with the Chiefs. Whatever hope of the upset the Pats had left was given away in the fourth quarter, when Julian Edelman hand-delivered a pick-6 interception to K.C.’s Tyrann Mathieu.
“It is what it is,” Hoyer told reporters after the 26-10 loss. “I think a lot of people in 2020 are dealing with a lot of crazy things, ups and downs. We signed up for this, and this is just the way it played out.”
If Newton can play quarterback, New England is probably a touchdown better than the Broncos.
But if it’s Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham under center for the Pats, there really is no reason for the Broncos to rush back Drew Lock from a shoulder injury. Inexperienced backup Brett Rypien has all the skill or more than washed-up Hoyer or the wannabe Stidham.
The single factor that might most determine whether the Broncos fall to 1-4 and lose contact with the playoff race or return home from New England with a victory and newfound hope could be the outcome of upcoming COVID tests for Newton.
In this crazy NFL season, that’s about as 2020 as it gets, don’t you think?
If you’re a football fan with a heart, you pray for Newton’s full recovery.
But if you bleed orange, you hope it takes Newton a week before he’s medically cleared to get back in the New England huddle.
“We’ll take it day by day. Today is Tuesday,” Belichick told radio station WEEI. “I’m not going to try to make any predictions or read into a crystal ball on where things are going to be Friday, Saturday or some other day in the week. There are so many unpredictable factors here. You just can’t nail them down.”
That’s 2020, y’all.
In one important regard, even the mighty Belichick isn’t much different than knuckleheads like you and me.
We’re all day to day, livin’ on a prayer.
Source: Read Full Article