I’m pretty sure the media broke me this week. It’s surprising because it wasn’t on the heels of some big controversy, it was a fairly mundane week of your average Super Bowl hype overload, but for some reason, more than ever, I just found myself done with everything anyone had to say about the Patriots. I flipped through a couple moments of all the usual talk radio shows, just to check in, never to actually consume, and found absolutely nothing being said that interested me.
It all peaked with Alex Reimer affair which was just the perfect example of how gross it has all become. The rest, from local to national coverage, was just a rehash of a seasons-worth of mellow drama or that everyone is sick of the cheating Patriots. Probably not a surprise that the Patriots started their own Not Done network this week, because outside of there and some select actual football shows out there, it was just a mess.
People like Rob Parker have made hating the Patriots his old act, while the local yokels on the radio are in a constant disingenuous search for which button to push on their listeners.
I found myself really wondering why anyone tunes into this stuff, especially local sports radio. Every day I see hoards of people raging against the media and their Patriots takes. That rage only fuels the fire on the other side and around and around we go, with the actual game and analysis of the sport being left in the dust. It’s just been a constant reminder that the only way to win against the hot takes is not to play and that’s why I’ve just taken to tuning it all out and focusing here on what interests me — football.
This week there were two beacons of light that saved me. The first being Tom Brady’s Tom vs. Time, which is an intimate look behind the Brady curtain. The second was 30 for 30’s The Two Bills, chronicling the long relationship of Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells.
Both were fantastic reminders to me that these are real people behind all the hot takes out there that get thrown around so flippantly, outrageous one day, forgotten by the next. What makes those real people so interesting is what I’m so interested in — football. It’s been easy to lose sight of that, despite the Patriots about to play in their 10th Super Bowl.
During The Two Bills I found myself reminded of what has made this so special, and how it all started and just how deep the roots go. As someone who hasn’t supported Bill Parcells to the Patriots Hall of Fame I found myself feeling that I was wrong. No matter the warts, Parcells planted just about every seed of the Patriots dynasty. He should be in there. My views have evolved.
It was nice to hit the reset button on Belichick’s genius a bit and to see how it grew from his time with Parcells and the Giants. It’s easy to see how those early pieces of football mastery can be traced into his modern strategy and likely even into the gameplan we’ll see in Super Bowl 52. I will watch this Super Bowl with a renewed sense of admiration for a coach that I thought I already fully appreciated.
As for Brady, so many in the media spent much of this season painting a picture of Brady that is now detached, living in a TB12 bubble, but these Tom vs. Time docs give us a glimpse of what it’s really like. We knew he was a football nerd, but the level of dedication and focus on his profession is clearly why he’ll go down as the GOAT.
Meanwhile once Brady does give us a window inside and people like Reimer and others make him pay for it. I loved seeing how tender he is with his kids, how fiery his wife is, how hard he works at it all constantly but still seems like that 6th-rounder from Michigan who thinks $70 is a lot for a toy (I feel your pain Tom even if it’s not even worth your time to pick up a $100 bill floating by you on the street).
Combined, both docs show that it’s not about stealing signals, deflated footballs, warm gatorade, faulty headsets, stolen playbooks or any of the other many things that Patriots have been accused of. It’s because these two guys are football nerds on an epic scale. Together they have more football passion that maybe any other two people in the NFL, and now, with 17 years of experience together, it should be no surprise that they’re on the verge of winning their third out of four Super Bowls for the second time.
I might be done with the sports media and their coverage of the Patriots, but my passion for Brady and Belichick was galvanized this week.