Time Belichick confessed sins of 2020 season

There are at least 84 different English-language versions of the Bible available to anyone with an internet connection.
None offer reason as to why the Patriots’ dynasty of 20 years crumbled so rapidly this season with Old Testament ferocity.
The Four Horsemen of The Patriots Apocalypse turned out to be the Salary Cap, COVID-19 Opt-Outs, Tom Brady’s Exit and Bill Belichick’s Ego.
History often delivers a quick and ruthless verdict when great powers dissipate into antimatter. The Soviet Union won World War II, was first to put a man and woman in space and ruled half of Europe behind an Iron Curtain for 45 years. It went out of business in less than six months back in 1991.
When sports franchises break down, it rarely takes more than a season or two to tumble from zenith to nadir. The Patriots won Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3, 2019. Not even two years have passed. But after that 13-3 victory and easy cover, New England was bounced from the playoffs at home in the first round, lost Rob Gronkowski and Brady to the Tampa Bay Bucs and clinched their first under .500 finish since 2000.
All that stands between the Patriots and double-digit losses this season are the green-and-white-hot New York Jets.
The Boston Red Sox went from winning 119 games (including the postseason), a World Series and MVP honors via Mookie Betts to their worst finish since 1965 in just 22 months. They, too, saw Betts join the ranks of the departed. The San Francisco 49ers were 15 minutes from winning Super Bowl XLIV. They were eliminated from the playoffs in Week 15. The Houston Astros tumbled from MLB franchise poster child to baseball pariah in the time it took people to read the first story detailing their cheating ways.
The Patriots ruined multiple franchises during their dynastic run. The Falcons, Rams and Seahawks have yet to regain their Super Bowl form. Meanwhile, the Colts remain forever stuck in “AFC Finalist” banner purgatory for trying to shaft the Patriots and Brady via Deflategate.
This year, it was the Patriots turn. Foxboro has fallen from grace. No longer is Gillette Stadium a Garden of Eden. The Bills could have won by 40 points the other night in Foxboro if they so desired.
The video of Belichick slamming a sideline telephone after being wrongly advised to challenge a call was the picture-perfect 2020 highlight. Belichick might as well have been taking a call from Brady declaring victory in their divorce.
Or even worse, Mrs. Brady-Bündchen.
“Bill? This is Gisele. Do you appreciate my husband now!? Save the planet. Tchau.”
Followers of Moses who sided with the Golden Calf on Mount Sinai met an untimely demise. Those choosing to stick with the Bronze GOAT in Florida are enjoying the temporal bacchanalia of Tampa Bay’s first playoff berth since 2007. The Book of Brady has yet to be written by any of his apostles. Bern’s Steak House is the perfect setting for any last supper. Its dessert room is heavenly yet sinful.
There is no deity currently willing to step away from his/her/its daily duties with the ability to fix what happened on or off the field in this season in Foxboro. But there are guideposts that have evolved from scripture that do provide a roadmap moving forward.
“The Patriot Way” held to strict dogma. Patriots players were not allowed to make excuses during the Score of Success ©. Whenever a future Hall of Famer was cut or traded, it was merely “next man up.” The first commandment was “Thou Shalt Not Lose” and “Thou Shalt Not Maketh Excuses” was second.
Belichick’s Patriots never had a prayer this season. The “Jarrett Stidham Card” was a treacherous false idol used to dupe fans into having faith that there was a post-Brady plan this year. I am certain there will be one come next summer.
Gruff antics, staccato answers and Nike The Dog stand-ins during the NFL Draft could not overcome a roster laden with players lacking physical skills, football acuity and in-game effort.
As kids, we were taught “Jesus saves, but Espo scores on the rebound.” This time, “In Bill We Trust” could not offer redemption for Cam Newton’s throwing arm.
As the failure of 2020 became self-evident even for most devout Patriots’ True Believers, Belichick found religion. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” had newfound relevance after a 2-5 start.
The contentious vanity and peevish pride (a lethal double-header even for the most pious among us) that trademark the esteemed coach/GM disappeared in a rare moment of humility and candor.
Suddenly, there was a rational explanation for the entire catastrophe. The confessional booth was open. Those with eight rings moved to the front of the line.
“Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. I mean it’s obvious we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault,” Belichick told WEEI in October. “That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in an AFC championship game. This year we had less to work with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.”
Those quotes remain relevant and were again used in the ESPN telecast Monday.
Belichick was right. Excuses are facts. But an old boss wisely told me “excuses only sound good to those to make them.” The Patriots did sell out to win. It was glorious. But there was never any cap magic. Belichick did the same things as every other GM. But he had Brady. And over the course of two decades, Brady provided penance for so many misdeeds nearly every week — complete with the occasional “Hail Mary.”
Thankfully, 2020 ends today. With each new year, comes the gift of redemption. 2021 offers millions the ultimate do-over. Nowhere is that more true than within the confines of One Patriot Place.
Thoughts and prayers.
Happy New Year.
Bill Speros (@RealOBF) can be reached at bsperos1@gmail.com.

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