Patriots fans complain two things today: The team abandons their quarterback of the future and Bill Belichick refuses to play Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl against the defense. Both are bitter pills and both are back in the news considering the recent Bleacher Report and SI features on Garoppolo and Belichick training camp opening silence on Butler. For now you are much worse. It's the butler thing.
The perspective on championships has understandably been lost around these parts over the past two decades, so here's a silly reminder that in professional sports, there's nothing bigger than winning a title. There's nothing worse than losing one you could have won.
We suspect that trading with Garoppolo could lead the Patriots to a lengthy tournament window. However, we do not know that it will cost the team even a championship.
It's another story with Butler's bench press. It's hard to argue that the Patriots would have lost this game if Butler had played. Super Bowl LII was a defensive disaster for both teams; The first team, which played in the second half a major defensive play, won the game.
Even though Butler did not force massive sales, he was able to upset Nelson Agholor, where for some reason Johnson Bademosi could not. But he did not arrive and as we suggested again on Wednesday, we'll never find out why.
Now the silver lining that Butler's decision was to prove is "just" costing the Patriots a Super Bowl title, while the lack of a quarterback like Garoppolo could cost them more. But a quick glance at the Seahawks can remind you that a bad decision in the Super Bowl can do more than just lose the game. it can derail something that seems to be a multi-year championship trail.
The Patriots are the toughest team in the league, but they never had to get over a Super Bowl loss that was not their fault. Tom Brady and other current patriots came to Butler's defense, so it's fair to ask if Butler's decision will continue to affect this year's team.
I suppose the Patriots overcome it because they are still better than anyone else in the AFC. Winning solves everything and the patriots have no problems winning. You would be foolish to count them this year.
The coming years will be more influenced by the Garoppolo movement. He will not be Tom Brady in San Francisco because there is only one Tom Brady. But all he needs to win is one of the better quarterbacks in the league because we think rationally that he could have won here. This organization has thrived on having the best quarterback ever and the best tight end of all time, but with those people away and the playing field balanced, you would not be using your chances with one of the best quarterbacks in the world playing for the best coach of all times?
Training camp is often a time of optimism. Instead, we lament both the past and the future. Part of it is because we are unhappy. It is also because there is reason enough to ask "what if?"