There is a kid poised to get selected in the first round by the New England Patriots.
With the recent retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the tight end spot appears a likely target for New England to fill if the right player at that position is on the board. If my crystal ball is right, then Alabama Tight End Irv Smith will fall to the last pick in the first round of the 2019 National Football League draft and the Patriots will take him.
How excited do you think his friends and family are going to be when they celebrate he is headed to a team with such a rich winning tradition? No matter if it is Smith, or another talented player selected by the Patriots in the first round, that kid's enthusiasm for beginning an NFL career is boosted by the prospect of playing for New England.
But, that kid picked next month by New England, is headed into a dreadful situation on a team that can find almost no path to victory without Tom Brady running the offense. Whether it be this year, next year, or a couple seasons down the road, Brady’s career is coming to an end. His effectiveness may already be exposed next season in a year in which the Patriots will be trying to advance to their fourth straight Super Bowl and win a second in a row.
Pure physics eliminates the Patriots for consideration of making a fourth straight Super Bowl appearance off a win. The only team to go to four straight Super Bowls was the Buffalo Bills, but they were spurred each year beginning in 1990 to atone for the sting of losing the Super Bowl the prior season.
Winning can be completion, while losses are more likely to feed motivational juices that will spike a teams’ performance in an upcoming game.
No team has maintained a higher standard for a longer period of time than the current New England Patriots. Their success is predicated on the leadership of Robert Kraft in the front office, Bill Belichick on the sidelines and Tom Brady behind center. That trio have led the Patriots to eight Super Bowls and five Super Bowl wins, more appearances and victories than any other team has accomplished in their history. The Patriots have been the class of the league since 2001.
When I was a kid the Green Bay Packers were the invincible team. Vince Lombardi was their coach, Bart Starr their quarterback and a stable of future Hall of Fame members scattered on both sides of the ball. The Packers won the first two championship games between the American and National Football leagues, and the trophy for winning a Super Bowl now, is named to honor the Packers legendary coach.
The Miami Dolphins were perfect in the early 70’s, but ten years later the Pittsburgh Steelers had established themselves as the preeminent football team of the decade. The Dallas Cowboys won three Super Bowls in a four year span beginning in 1992, and the Packers returned to glory in 1996 to win their third Super Bowl title. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a fourth Super Bowl championship to complete the 2010 season.
These teams, and others, that have enjoyed extraordinary success for a period of time, inevitably suffer down years in the wake of their prosperity.
How long, how dramatic, and how soon will the Patriots fall from the top to the rocks?
As soon as Belichick and Brady are no longer working together on Sundays.
So, for the Patriots 2019 draft picks, congratulations on being selected by the five time and current Super Bowl Champions. You have arrived just in time to see the end of an era and the dark cold days that follow.
Pity the kids that will be marching through New England for years to come after Brady retires. They will only have bruises and disappointment while their opponents, no matter how much more talented than the depleted Patriots, will find the need to run up the score against those New England uniforms that beat them for so, so long.
Within a few years, the Patriots will have a new quarterback and new coach, and they will be in the crosshairs of division rivals motivated to crush them after so many years of being crushed. It will be kids not close to the talent level currently enjoyed at quarterback and other positions who will take the brunt of punishment Brady is inspiring for the future.