Is the Patriots Dynasty really about to End

By Jarod Ferguson ’18

For the past 18 there have been three guarantees: Death, taxes and the New England Patriots being successful in the NFL. Even amidst different controversies such as Spygate and Deflategate, they have been a model for consistency and excellence. They’ve won 16 division crowns, appeared in 11 AFC Championship games, played in seven Super Bowl and captured five Super Bowl titles. Their success in the 21st century is unrivaled by any NFL franchise and quite possibly any other professional franchise in any of the other big four sports.

However, like all great Empires, like the Roman and Ottoman, they have to end. In Seth Wickersham’s article for ESPN, he went into great detail on how the model franchise has tension inside. He talked about how Bill Belichick was angry that he had to trade future prodigy Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for just a second round pick. Also Tom Brady is angry that he can no longer have his trainer, Alex Guerrero, in the Patriots facility. There is palpable tension between the two men who architected this great run and it has the whole NFL community wondering: What will happen to this great dynasty. Will it end?

I do think that the dynasty of the Patriots will end sooner rather than later. They employ a quarterback who is 40 years old and they traded away their succession plan in Garoppolo. Bill Belichick has had history of getting rid of elder players before and Brady would not have been any different. Brady knew this, and that is why he went to owner and his friend, Bob Kraft, and told him to get rid of Garoppolo. He knows that for every Joe Montana and Brett Favre, there’s Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings ready to take your job. That’s just the business of the NFL. In the end, Brady got what he wanted but Belichick, being the smart man that he is, he will have a plan to leave the Patriots, with his legacy in tack.

While if, and when this dynasty does end, we as NFL consumers should marvel at the accomplishments of the New England Patriots of the last 18 years. However, this dynasty will end, and it will come sooner than you think.

 

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Garoppolo Brings Life to the 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers had nothing to look forward to for the rest of the season after their 0-9 start to the year. Their offensive struggles were highlighted by poor play from the offensive line and the running backs.  This season, the offensive line allowed 27 sacks and 167 yards worth of penalties.  Poor blocking resulted in rushing struggles as the Niners gathered 1,662 rushing yards this season. The pressure on defense and special teams to perform were too massive to overcome and resulted in a winless start to the 2017 season.  According to SBNation, these were all problems that previous starting quarterback C.J. Beathard could not seem to fix.  “After Kaepernick’s departure, the 49ers let Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard take over the reins, and it was genuinely ugly…In their 31 games before his starts, the 49ers went 4-27,” they wrote.

Little did the 49ers know, Patriots backup quarterback and Tom Brady’s understudy Jimmy Garoppolo with a quarterback rating of 96.2 for 2017 would be the solution to all of their struggles. 49ers General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan made the move to bring him to the Bay Area in October but did not immediately play him. It was only after an injury to Beathard in the final moments of the Week 12 contest against the Seattle Seahawks, that Garoppolo faced his first drive as a 49er.  Garoppolo did not waste any time in giving fans a taste of his capabilities under center.  For his first drive as a 49er, Garoppolo went 2 for 2 in passing for 18 yards and threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Louis Murphy just as time expired in the fourth quarter.

From then, Garoppolo started and won the remaining games of the regular season and is undefeated as a starting quarterback. In just five games and the final moments of another, Garoppolo has thrown for seven touchdowns and ran for one.  More importantly, he has found a way to transform a troubled organization.  

The future’s looking bright in San Francisco. Lynch intends on doing whatever possible to keep Garoppolo around for a long time as their new franchise quarterback.  “Look, we want Jimmy to be a Niner for a long, long time, and that process is going to take place here and we’re eager to get that done, to have the opportunity,” Lynch said.  What’s next for the 49ers?  A deep playoff run?  A trip to the Super Bowl?  Only time will tell.

Gruden Returns to Coach

By Ben Klau ’18

The Oakland Raiders wasted no time in hiring a new coach with the signing of Jon Gruden. Gruden has been broadcasting for ESPN since 2009 after retiring as a coach in the NFL. Gruden accepted a contract worth 100 million over 10 years. This is the longest contract in NFL history. Not only is it the longest contract but it is also for the most amount of money. The Raiders plan on introducing Jon Gruden as the next Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

The Raiders fired their former head coach, Jack Del Rio, this past weekend. Del Rio held a 25-23 record through three seasons with the Raiders. Gruden was the head coach of the Raiders from 1988 to 2001, where he held a 38-26 record. Gruden has had his ups and down as a coach but people will always remember him leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl in 2002.

It is going to be interesting to see how ESPN handels Gruden leaving. His personality and knowledge that he brings to a broadcast is hard to replace. He is one of the reasons that many fans enjoy watching Monday Night Football. It has been speculated that ESPN needs to sign a former player or coach to fill his shoes. ESPN has struggled financially over the past  few years, so they aren’t in the market to make a big financial splash. ESPN could try to sign within but talent is thin on their roster right now. There are many options: Tony Romo, Tim Tebow or Peyton Manning. ESPN will also try and pursue broadcasters from FOX. All still won’t have the experience that Gruden has. He will broadcast his final game Jan. 6.