New England Patriots: Trouble In Paradise

New England Patriots: Trouble In Paradise

How possible rifts in New England could affect the Patriots in the playoffs.
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With the New England Patriots just a few days away from beginning their run in the latest installment of the NFL Playoffs, reports from Foxborough suggest that the pillars of the most successful organization in sports might be crumbling before our very eyes. And although the organization would say otherwise in a joint statement released on Friday, the “Holy Trinity” of Owner Robert Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick, and Quarterback Tom Brady are rumored to be experiencing troubled times at the most pivotal point of the season.

With New England beginning their playoff run as the odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl LII, off-the-field distractions seem to be plaguing the Patriots locker room more than ever. For a team that has survived Spygate, Deflategate, Bradygate, and seemingly every other “gate” imaginable, rifts within the upper echelons of the New England Patriots could spell a premature end for the most storied and successful franchise in the history of modern sports.

Lately, the biggest distraction for New England has been a controversial relationship between star Quarterback Tom Brady and his personal trainer, Alex Guerrero. Together, the two developed the “TB12 Method”, a training program used primarily by Brady, as well as his teammates. However, Guerrero has no direct relation to the Patriots organization, and his “cult-like following” has caused discomfort among the Patriots’ official medical staff. Guerrero’s outside influence has spread inside the Patriots’ locker room, and his methods are beginning to be criticized by actual doctors. Considering Guerrero’s most advanced medical degree is a Bachelor’s in traditional Chinese medicine, it’s safe to say he might not be the most qualified man to handle the medical well-being of 50+ professional athletes.

However, the drama in the Guerrero Saga cuts deeper when it was reported that although plenty of Patriots had been spotted training at Guerrero’s facility, former New England backup Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was denied access to the facility just weeks before he was traded from New England to the 49ers earlier this season. At face value, Garoppolo’s denial to the TB12 training facility does seem odd, however, the situation seems much more peculiar when reports surfaced that Brady was “uncomfortable” with Garoppolo looming as the obvious heir apparent to the Patriots dynasty. Could it be implied that Brady went over Coach Belichick’s head and forced ownership to meddle with a major player decision? Is it possible that Tom Brady orchestrated the Jimmy Garoppolo trade?

Obviously, a large portion of these reports are based off speculation and it is important to look at this entire scene with plenty of grains of salt, however, with such an enormous scandal erupting just days before the playoffs, the entire situation feels like an “October Surprise” in the middle of January. And now, with the Patriots just a few days away from beginning their quest for a 6th Super Bowl title, and their 3rd in 4 years, football must become the number one priority immediately. Whether it be coaching disputes, forced trades, or a traditional Chinese herbalist, the shift of focus for New England must happen sooner rather than later. It's obvious that the Tennessee Titans have a clear focus, and it's time for the Patriots to follow suit.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Dear Oklahoma, Please Take Care Of Jalen Hurts

He's one of the good ones, we promise.

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Dear Oklahoma fans, coaches, and players, please take care of Jalen Hurts.

When Hurts graduated in December of 2018, everyone in the Alabama fanbase knew that a transfer was coming soon. After showing his distinct character and loyalty to the Alabama Crimson Tide by choosing to play the 2018 season, even though he would be second in line to Tua Tagavailoa, Hurts deserves this chance to make the best decision for himself. The selection process regarding where Hurts would end up this upcoming season was kept relatively private, which of course open the doors to countless predictions from fans and analysts.

However, I can confidently say that I was not the only one shocked at his choice, but I whole-heartedly support it.

Home to two Heisman-winning quarterbacks, Oklahoma is a more than a smart choice on Hurts' behalf. Within that program, he will be given ample opportunity to improve his craft in order to put himself in the best position for a successful career post-college. The Sooners obviously have an incredible program that leads players down the best paths to be as successful as possible, and that is all Alabama fans want for our beloved quarterback.

With all this being said, I, as an Alabama fan, just ask the Oklahoma Sooners to take care of Jalen and realize how special of a player he is.

With Hurts at quarterback, you will never have to question his effort or loyalty to his teammates. He will always carry himself with grace, no matter the situation. If you give him an opportunity to succeed, he will put forth all of his effort in order to take advantage of it.

Jalen Hurts is one of the most special players, and young men, to ever wear an Alabama Crimson Tide uniform. All that we ask is that you support him as we have these past three years.

Roll Tide.

Sincerely,

Every Alabama Fan

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