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.