Photo: “Chicago Bears Game vs. Green Bay” by Jim Larrison via Flickr.
The end of an Era in New England?
Its that time of the year again, and no, I’m not talking about the holiday season. Instead, with the Patriots doing their seemingly bi-annual bulldoze of the NFL, it’s rumor season. Ever since the 2001 miracle season, (also known as year zero on the coming of Brady based calendar), the New England Patriots have been plagued with midseason inquiries regarding the sustainability of their dynasty. This year is no different, with rumors of an unfathomable Bill Belichick retirement, as well as a simply unimaginable Tom Brady trade.
Let’s start with good ol’ Sweatshirt Willy. Belichick came to New England in 2000 after five years in the Browns organization (and one day in the Jets organization, but that’s a story for another day). In that first year Belichick ended fifth in the division (something not even the Dolphins could do today). The second year changed everything, however. As the story goes, New England started the year off strong, QB Drew Bledsoe went down and a shaky looking fifth round pick named Tom Brady came in. The next two decades are history.
Now, five rings later Bill (67) is the second oldest head coach in the league behind Pete Carrol (68), and the pair of them are just a few years behind George Halas’s NFL record of 72. The New England head coach claims that the rumors of his leaving are unfounded, but then again he can only go for so long.
On the other side of the story is “Tommy Terrific’ himself. Brady has been very open about his plans to play until roughly the age of 45. The mystery with Brady is that after the 2019 season, his contract with New England will expire. Most people’s first reaction to this would be, “but he’s Mr. New England, how could he leave?!” The answer is simple: easily. There are almost a dozen teams in the NFL who are looking for a confident QB to hold them over while searching for their next franchise player. At the same time, if the Patriots really want to secure their future, they’re going to need some young blood. I’m not saying Brady is ready to pack his bags just yet, but if the likes of Joe Flacco are any indication, Number 12 might not be as decided as the fans like to think.
There are almost a dozen teams in the NFL looking for a confident QB to hold them over.
The Chicago Bears: Lopsided Affair
Let us begin with a few facts. The Chicago Bears have the seventh Best Defense in the NFL (10th in passing, sixth in rushing, sixth in ppg). If you are a Bears fan feel free to stop reading now as this is where the fun ends. Fact Number two: The Chicago Bears have the fourth worst offense in the NFL. No inflation, no faulty math, atop only the Jets, Dolphins and Redskins, in the NFL’s statistical trash heap you will find the Bears. Even the Bengals, who haven’t won a single game yet, consistently turn out more yards per-game than the Bears. It’s as if the team can’t decide. Matt Nagy put all his eggs in one basket with a team that now sits fourth in their division.
How did it come to this, and whos letting so much of the league’s defensive talent waste away? If you ask almost the entire city of Chicago, they’ll tell you it’s all Mitchell Trubisky’s fault, and if you ask the one man capable of getting rid of Trubisky, he’ll tell you it’s not. After last Sunday’s home loss against the Chargers (that was reminiscent of the Philadelphia favorite “Double Doink), Bears fans wanted two heads on a plate – Eddy Pineiro and Trubisky.
In their eyes, if Chicago put in a capable quarterback, they would be dominating the league. Nagy however, won’t let this happen, and has found himself in a weekly post-loss ritual of having to defend the former first-round pick every chance he gets. “He wants it really bad,” said Nagy on Trubisky. “He really, truly cares… when there’s opportunities to be made, we want to make those, and he wants to make them, but we’ve just got to do it.” Is he right? Can Trubisky get better? And if he can, then will Chicago finally have the dynasty that the fans seem to think they can? Only time will tell. For now, Trubisky is still slated to start against Philadelphia for a team whose fan base might just want a loss, or whatever it takes to Trubisky on the bench.
Matthew Shimkonis is a first-year student majoring in history. MS925373@wcupa.edu