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Some lips in Foxborough were easy to read from your living room on Sunday. For example, Patriots special teamer Brenden Schooler…well, what a mouth for that young man.
You could understand Schooler’s frustrations, though. It was an inept day for New England special teams, who helped the Washington Commanders (can we get a better name than one that sounds like our video game company didn’t bid enough for the league’s naming rights?) to a 20-17 victory over the two-win Pats.
It was sloppy. It was ugly. But what did you expect?
It’s less certain what the context was for Jonathan Kraft’s own lip-reading confession, when FOX cameras caught the team president telling his father, “We’re not good enough,” while the Patriots had a seven-point lead over Washington in the game . third quarter.
Some treated that incident as if the Krafts blew white smoke into the chimneys of Gillette Stadium to announce a new regime. But the team is 2-7. What else should he say about it?
It’s what Bob Kraft said in the preceding moments that would take a true lip-reading professional to figure out. He appears to say something akin to, “I can’t watch this,” as he waves dismissively at a monitor. But while my lip-reading skills are worth it, he could have said, “I’ll have the chicken,” while waving away the idea that he might want extra sauce.
Even quietly, Robert and Jonathan have been the most vocal about the dismal state of their football franchise. The Patriots have the worst record in the AFC and just lost to a .500 team that gave away its two best players at the trade deadline. They are in charge of one of the most embarrassing teams in the league, a team that will be on full display for the world to see this weekend in Germany. The other is owned by Jim Irsay.
How do you say “pee-ew” in German? (It’s actually “pipi.”)
They’re going to lose to the Colts overseas. They could lose to virtually everyone else on the schedule as easily as it seemed after the win over the Bills. The Patriots have been an uncomfortable mess through the first nine weeks of the season, and the thin shards that kept the ship afloat appear to be disintegrating. Belichick is benching players, but not actually giving a reason for benching them (a violation that should have gotten him fired in February five years ago). Inactive rookie wide receivers have no trouble keeping their index fingers on their phones. What’s most concerning is that we’re entering flex season and the Patriots have enough 1:00 PM games to make other NFL owners laugh at the once rowdy Kraft tandem.
“We’re not good enough” could mean Jonathan is ruling out the possibility of seeing that late-season showdown against the Bills moved to Sunday night. Maybe he was just telling his dad what Taylor Swift told him when he asked her to ring the lighthouse bell for the Chiefs in town in December.
Belichick may want to continue coaching, but it won’t be here. The New England Patriots logo product has become a laughable farce that change is inevitable. No matter what other tidbits he leaks about his contract to the football media on Sunday morning, Belichick will not win the war of public opinion. It’s when the season ticket cancellations start rolling in that any argument about catching Shula will sound downright delusional.
Everyone has a bad game. Everyone has a bad month here or there. But Belichick has presided over dysfunction for the better part of the four seasons since Tom Brady exposed his chessboard for the Chutes and Ladders knockoff that it is. That and he just lost to the commanders. It only gets worse from here.
It is over. They’re not good enough. The only question now is: how soon before they fire him?
In the infancy of this lost season, there was the popular theory that the Krafts respected Belichick too much to fire him during the season. Otherwise, after more than twenty years with the coach on the payroll, they might seem reactionary.
But he is now also damaging the brand. No one (i.e. NBC, CBS) wants anything to do with the Patriots. If the Krafts don’t hear the overwhelming amount of complaints from their fan base, they certainly see it.
“We are not good enough.”
Not even close. And you’ve liked enough of a coach over the years to take you straight to the basement of the league.
It is a low point in football.
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