The Patriots have hit rock bottom, and even the team owners have seemed to notice

Patriots

It’s over. They’re not good enough. The only question now is, how soon until they fire him? 

Robert Kraft and Mac Jones
Robert Kraft and Mac Jones embrace before the Patriots-Commanders game. AP
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COMMENTARY

Some lips in Foxborough were easy to read from your living room on Sunday. For instance, Patriots special teamer Brenden Schooler…well, what a mouth on that young man.

You could understand Schooler’s frustrations though. It was an inept day for New England special teams, aiding the Washington Commanders (can we get a better name than one that sounds like our video game company didn’t bid enough for league naming rights?) to a 20-17 win 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 admission, when FOX cameras caught the team president telling his father, “We’re not good enough,” this while the Patriots held a seven-point lead over Washington in the 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. Like, what else is he supposed to say about it? 

It’s what Bob Kraft says in the moments prior that would take a real lip-reading pro to figure out. It appears he says something akin to, “I can’t watch this,” while dismissively waving at a monitor. But, for all my lip-reading skills are worth, he could have been saying, “I’ll take the chicken,” while waving off the notion that he might want extra sauce. 

Even in silence, it was the most vocal either Robert or Jonathan has been 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 trading deadline. They are in charge of one of the most embarrassing teams in the league, one that will be on full display for the world 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 might lose to just about everybody else on the schedule, as easy as it appeared after the outlier win over the Bills. The Patriots have been an uncomfortable mess for the first nine weeks of the season and the thin shards that had been keeping the ship afloat appear to be disintegrating. Belichick is benching players but not actually giving any reason for benching them (an offense that he should have been fired for in February of five years ago). Inactive rookie wide receivers are finding no trouble keeping their index fingers inbounds on their phones. Most concerning, we’re getting into flex season and the Patriots have enough 1 p.m. games to have other NFL owners laughing at the once-boisterous Kraft tandem. 

“We’re not good enough,” could have meant Jonathan was banishing the possibility of seeing that late-season showdown against the Bills flexed to Sunday night. Maybe he was just relaying to his father what Taylor Swift told him when he asked her to ring the lighthouse bell with the Chiefs in town in December. 

Belichick may want to keep coaching, but it won’t be here. The product emblazoned with the New England Patriots logo has become enough of a laughable farce that change is inevitable. No matter what other tidbits he leaks to the Sunday morning football media about his contract, Belichick isn’t going to win the war of public opinion. It’s when the season ticket cancellations start pouring in that any argument about catching Shula will sound downright delusional. 

Everybody has a bad game. Everybody has a bad month here or there. But Belichick has led dysfunction for most of the four seasons since Tom Brady exposed his chess board for the Chutes and Ladders knockoff that it is. That and he just lost to the Commanders. It’s going to only get worse from here. 

It’s over. They’re not good enough. The only question now is, how soon until they fire him? 

There was the popular theory, back in the infancy of this lost season, that the Krafts had too much respect for Belichick to fire him during the season. Otherwise, they might appear reactionary after more than two decades with the coach on the payroll. 

But he’s also doing damage to the brand now. Nobody (ie, NBC, CBS) wants anything to do with the Patriots. If the Krafts don’t hear the overwhelming crush of complaints from their fan base, they certainly see that. 

“We’re not good enough.” 

Not even close. And you’ve enamored a coach enough over the years to take you directly to the basement of the league. 

It is football rock bottom. 


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