For those who think the Aaron Hernandez scandal will bring down the New England Patriots,
you've already thought wrong. Adversity doesn't destroy the Patriots, but galvanizes them.
Since Bill Belichick has been in Foxborough, no team or franchise has been better at blocking
out distractions and using the doubters to fuel them, than the Patriots.
In 2007, they got caught in the Spygate scandal and promptly gave the finger to the NFL
and buried 18 straight opponents before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
The very next year they lost Tom Brady for the entire season after his knee was blown out
in the first game. With Matt Cassel, a player who hadn't started a game since high school,
the Patriots went 11-5. 11 wins with Matt Cassel? Are you kidding me? Belichick figured
out a way to win 11 games without the best quarterback in the game, you think he'll have
trouble replacing Hernandez? I seriously doubt it.
New England has put together 10 consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins, which in
this day and age of free-agency, is simply incredible. That streak will continue in 2013 without
Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Hernandez, and the potential headache that could come from
all the questions that are going to be asked about their former tight end who is sitting in a Massachusetts state prison
Phase I of their journey through the landmines, questions, and pressure of dealing with both
the loss and stain of the Hernandez began on Tuesday when Tom Brady's interview with
Peter King was released precisely one day before Belichick is set to meet with the media,
which will be one day before the start of training camp. Belichick is the smartest, most
calculating, and meticulous coach in the NFL and like everything under his watch, this is
A few of the headlines read, "Tom Brady Talks About Aaron Hernandez", then after reading
the article, you quickly realize the Patriots quarterback said absolutely nothing about
Hernandez. Here's what Brady told King when asked about his former tight end:
"I’ve seen a lot of things over 13 years, and what I have learned is that mental toughness and
putting aside personal agendas for what’s in the best interest of the team matters most. My
job is to play quarterback, and I’m going to do that the best way I know how, because I owe
that to my teammates regardless of who is out there on the field with me. I have moved on.
I’m focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games.
The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal.
I’m just excited to report to camp and see what we can accomplish as a team. The fate of our
season will be determined by the players in our locker room—nothing else".
That's it, that's all. Brady didn't say a word about Hernandez. Not a word. Nothing.This is
sure to be a prelude to the performance Belichick will give to the media on Wednesday.
Belichick, who would rather be given a root canal by Charles Barkley than talk with the press,
will probably dart, dodge, and avoid any and all questions about Hernandez. He still hasn't
answered a question about Spygate, so don't expect him to say much more than:
"I don't talk about players who are no longer here. I only talk about the players who can
help us win."
He will be peppered by the media, but he won't give them anything of significance.
Q: Bill, do you think you made a mistake in drafting Hernandez?
BB: We try to bring in football players who can help us win games."
Did you notice that not a single player on the Patriots roster said one thing about Hernandez
after he got arrested? There wasn't a soundbite, tweet, or post on Facebook. That was by design. Belichick put the gag order in effect and threatened heavy fines to anyone who broke his order.
The Hoodie is one of the few coaches in the NFL that instills fear and has the total respect
of his players.
Did you happen to see the raw footage of Rob Gronkowski from his interview with CBS
This Morning? His eyes nearly popped out of his head when he was asked repeatedly about
Hernandez. Gronk almost walked out of the interview.
Brady set the tone for the Hernandez questions and his teammates got the message loud
and clear. What Belichick says to him, usually comes right out of his mouth during press
conferences so nobody misses the point. Belichick will take care of the rest on Wednesday.
By Thursday, there won't be very many questions even asked about Hernandez, much less
This is how the Patriots work, this is how the Patriots roll. By the third practice, they
will make it seem like Hernandez was never even a part of the team.
I can just hear Belichick on Wednesday. "I'm not talking about guys who are not here
anymore. Does anybody want to talk about Tim Tebow?
As far fetched as it may seem, don't doubt that Belichick may say that. He'd do anything
to keep the press from asking all those questions about Hernandez so he can focus on
getting the Patriots back to the Super Bowl.