Patriots

This Patriots fan is still rooting for Tom Brady, even with the Bucs

This Patriots fan is still rooting for Tom Brady, even with the Bucs

In every good story you need a protagonist (our hero) and the antagonist (the villain).

What I have observed in the Patriot fan base is an equal balance of views that place Tom Brady or Bill Belichick in either category. Logical? Certainly, because both possess justifiable reasons for their actions. 

But that’s no fun!

Riding in from the North on his steady and loyal steed named Alex, the white hat-wearing, TB12-pitching, best ever to play the game quarterback gallops into Tampa Bay to not only save the day but save his career as well. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

For the third time in his life, he is the underdog.

He is John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn charging across the field with reins in mouth and a gun in each hand blowing away the bad guys. He is Paul Newman’s Frank Galvin who battles his own demons and the Boston medical establishment in "The Verdict." He is Robert Downey Jr’s. Tony Stark/Iron Man in "Avengers: Endgame," willing to give his life in order to save humanity. 

Sorry, I got carried away on that last one.

I just wanted to throw a movie reference in from this century. If you haven’t seen "True Grit" (the original, though Bridges and Damon perform admirably in the remake) or "The Verdict," penned by David Mamet, stream them. What else do you have to do? 

Let’s be real, people. Tom is Luke Skywalker and Bill is Darth Vader — yes, he is his football father! Bill wears that damn hoodie that he has made legendary but in actuality, it looks like hell. With that hood on, Belichick even looks like he is The Dark Side.

Tom represents what we have all experienced at one time or another: the feeling of being unwanted. That's whether you have been dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, cut from a team or fired from a job. (I have been whacked twice by the way. It sucks!) 

The Patriots and Darth Belichick no longer wanted Tom Skywalker. Holy Jabba The Hutt!

It does not matter that Tom is 43 years old and no longer a fit for the Patriots’ rebuild, and it is a rebuild. Or that Belichick has never been wrong when letting go of a veteran. Or that the way to go is with a more mobile quarterback who can throw on the run. 

NO! NO! NO! 

None of those perfectly justifiable reasons will keep me from rooting for Tom Skywalker. You can’t go against the underdog!

May the Force be with you, Tom.

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast:

Gary Tanguay: I was wrong to doubt Bill Belichick

Gary Tanguay: I was wrong to doubt Bill Belichick

I should have known.

I should have known that Bill Belichick would address the senseless murder of George Floyd with his team.

Belichick had remained silent on the matter when other notable coaches and owners like Brad Stevens, Gregg Popovich, and Wyc Grousbeck had spoken out publicly. The Patriots had released a statement, but we heard not a word from the Hoodie. His players were another story.

Mike Giardi of NFL Network reported that the coach held an extensive session with his team regarding the matter. Patriot captain Matthew Slater told Phil Perry on The Next Pats Podcast that his coach, “has a healthy understanding of the situation and the times we’re living in. I think he’s done of good job of trying to listen, trying to learn from his players and try to navigate this as best he can.”

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Of course. Shame on me for doubting him.

Belichick is a "my way or the highway” kind of guy. We know that. However, he has consistently changed “his way” during his coaching tenure.

Known as a defensive-minded coach, he took the reins off of Tom Brady to 2007 as his one-time game manager threw 50 touchdowns that year.

This no-nonsense coach brought in one-time problem players like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss and made them into extremely productive Patriots.

A military-minded fellow has had no problem with a player’s facial hair, hair length, or how they dress.

His training camps have become more about field trips to the movies than two-days as he adapts to the ways of managing a player’s health in today’s NFL.

As my friend and colleague Steve DeOssie has told me thousands of times, “Bill, does business as business is done.” There is not a better example of this than the coach’s virtual session with his team. He tossed football aside and was there for his players.

How could Belichick look Slater or the McCourty twins in the eye and not address this situation?

How could he pass Andre Tippett in the hallway in Foxboro and remain silent? He shouldn’t, he couldn’t, and he didn’t.

Belichick knows his players need him right now and did the right thing and spoke up. He just didn’t need to tell us about it, which is OK with me.

Next Pats Podcast: Matthew Slater reflects on social unrest within U.S. and NFL

Next Pats Podcast: Matthew Slater reflects on social unrest within U.S. and NFL

As much as we'd love to talk football, it has taken a back seat to the conversations that need to be had about George Floyd's murder and the racial injustices that remain prevalent in the United States.

The "Black Lives Matter" movement has spread across the country with protests advocating for justice and racial equality. It has impacted the world of sports, with countless athletes using their platforms to let their voices be heard. NFL players even sent a strong message to the league with a video stating what they wanted to hear it say regarding the oppression of African Americans.

Click here to enter NBC Sports Boston’s Podcast Sweepstakes for your chance to win a desktop Bluetooth speaker/microphone!

On a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater joined Phil Perry to discuss the state of the nation.

Listen and subscribe to the Next Pats Podcast:

Slater covered a variety of important topics in the episode. But one that particularly stood out was his explanation of how if the country operated like an NFL locker room, it would be a more inclusive place.

"It is a very unique place. A locker room setting -- you know, if our country operated and moved like a locker room, man it would be a beautiful thing," Slater said. "I'm not saying it's perfect, I'm not saying we've got it all figured out, but what a unique space where people from all different walks of life, different belief systems and things of that nature to work toward a common goal.

"And there's automatic respect that comes with the fact that you have a jersey and a helmet, and you're one of us. So I'm appreciative of that and I think now is a time for us to maybe forge those bonds even deeper. Guys that maybe hear personal stories and maybe experience this from their teammates have a different appreciation for why that guy is the way he is, why he does the things that he does. And I think ultimately that's going to lead to deeper and more fruitful relationships."

If anyone knows what a healthy, inclusive locker room environment looks like, it's Slater. The 34-year-old has been a captain for the Patriots for nearly a decade and has been an admirable leader throughout his stellar NFL career.

Slater also discussed how head coach Bill Belichick has been involved in the team's discussions about recent events, his experiences living as a black man in America, and much more.

Check out more of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below: