For a story that is relevant to your interests as 1) An observer of the NFL, 2) A Vikings fan mulling the upcoming playoffs and/or 3) Just someone who likes to read interesting tales, let me point you to Seth Wickersham’s profile of the New England Patriots, which carries with it the juicy headline “For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end?” and delivers on that premise.
In the piece, Wickersham does a magnificent job of identifying sources of discord within the NFL’s most successful organization, spanning from Tom Brady’s fitness guru/business partner Alex Guerrero to the Jimmy Garoppolo trade to a the power dynamic between Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.
As merely an NFL observer, it’s a fascinating look at how a longstanding dynasty that has produced five Super Bowls this millennium could be on the verge of dissolving — whether that means Belichick walking away or Brady continuing to show his age without any QB succession plan in place.
If you’re a Vikings fan, it might serve as a signal that New England — despite a 13-3 record and MVP-level play from Brady this year — is a potentially vulnerable opponent should the two teams meet on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium. I’m not sure how much I’d read into this angle since the Patriots seem to be holding things together just fine for now and both Brady and Belichick are fierce competitors who are both interested in their own legacies. But the piece did change my perception of New England.
If you’re just a fan of good writing and reporting, Wickersham’s story still has plenty for you. It’s filled with impeccable details and memorable passages such as this one:
“For 17 years, the Patriots have withstood everything the NFL and opponents could throw their way, knowing that if they were united, nobody could touch them. Now they’re threatening to come undone the only way possible: from within.”
I’d watch that TV show. I certainly enjoyed the article.