White House visit for Super Bowl champion Patriots just wasn’t worth the trouble

White House visit for Super Bowl champion Patriots just wasn’t worth the trouble

Nobody with the Patriots will say it. Nobody has to.

The 2018 Super Bowl champion Patriots aren’t going to the White House to be feted by President Trump because it just isn’t worth the trouble.

Our buddy Mike Reiss noted in his Sunday column that each of the five previous Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams made their visits by the middle of May with four of the visits coming in April.

Meanwhile, it’s July. They ain’t going. This will be the fifth time since the tradition began in 1987 that the Super Bowl winners haven’t gone.

Why would the Patriots and the president just call the whole thing off? 

Where would you like to start?

Robert Kraft’s legal issues stemming from a charge of soliciting prostitution were front-and-center in late April. He probably wasn’t down with having every network in America running footage of him smiling and waving while analysts debated whether he should be somewhat, very or completely ashamed of himself.

Meanwhile, Trump probably wouldn’t be able to resist coming to Kraft’s defense with off-the-cuff comments that – if I know my presidential history – would be cosmically stupid or inappropriate.

Then there’s Tom Brady. Brady’s friendship with Trump – a marriage of mutual megastar convenience if there ever was one – cooled significantly when Trump’s candidacy went from a lark to a real thing.

Brady’s attempts to quietly distance himself from the president since 2016 without denouncing him have mostly succeeded. Trump, for his part, hasn’t been happy about it but he hasn’t verbally nuked Brady either.

He’d probably like to. One of the most bizarre anecdotes of the past few years (among many) was Trump melting down when he learned two years ago Brady wasn’t coming to the White House.

Tom Brady blew off the post SB51 visit (he also didn’t go after SB49) and Trump blew a gasket when he learned his would-be son-in-law wasn’t coming to the White House.

According to the Washington Post, the president was on Air Force One when he found out Brady was bailing. Trump called aides, associates and even Kraft to try and get Brady to change his mind.  

Brady, who said he skipped to spend time with his ailing mother Galynn, didn’t go and Trump never mentioned him during the event.

While Brady and Kraft have criticized or gone dark with Trump, his heartiest supporter in the organization — Bill Belichick — likely remains in his corner. Belichick famously penned a support letter for Trump that the president shared with New Hampshire supporters on the eve of the 2016 election.

As recently as last spring, Trump was getting intel from Belichick on what was bugging Brady with phone calls that were so long Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly felt compelled to remark upon them.

But Belichick realizes the optics of going to the White House without Brady and a number of the team’s core players who are staunchly against some of Trump’s methods and stances.

The focus won’t be on a celebration but on who does or does not attend and what that attendance infers about the individuals who do choose to go.

Why invite the potential for discord?

If you’re Belichick, why put yourself at public odds with players you value as much as Devin and Jason McCourty, Matthew Slater, Duron Harmon or Benjamin Watson? No upside.

(Personally, I’d go and use the opportunity to point out attendance at a White House event does not mean lockstep agreement with anything or everything the White House represents. And I also think a chance to look someone in the eye and express one’s misgivings about an issue – even for a moment – still has value. But who cares. I won no Super Bowl.)

This isn’t unprecedented. Trump disinvited the Eagles last year and put on a “Celebration of America” event instead. He was mad because a number of Eagles said they weren’t going.

Other occasions of teams not making it to Washington had more weighty issues keeping them away than the president’s feelings.

The ’85 Bears — the first team invited — didn’t go in early 1986 because of the space shuttle Challenger explosion two days after the Bears beat the Patriots. The ’85 Bears did get a makeup visit in 2011 with President Obama.  

The ’86 Giants were the first team to make it to Washington. When the Giants won again after the 1990 season, they didn’t visit. The early stages of the first Gulf War were unfolding.

The ’98 Broncos didn’t get to visit President Clinton who — in early 2000 — was grappling with impeachment exercises after the Monica Lewinsky affair.  And the ’99 Rams also didn’t visit Clinton who was trying to broker peace in the Middle East.

War stopped the 2002 Buccaneers from going to Washington as well with the invasion of Iraq.

Now though, after two years with no visit and the conversation around whether or not to go if invited remaining a divisive topic, it seems like post-championship White House visits are entering lame duck status.


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NFL odds Week 3: Early spread for Patriots vs. Jets, all other games

NFL odds Week 3: Early spread for Patriots vs. Jets, all other games

The New England Patriots will be favored by more than two touchdowns for the second consecutive game when they take on the New York Jets in Week 3.

The Patriots destroyed the Miami Dolphins on the road Sunday in a 43-0 Week 2 win. New England's defense had seven sacks and four interceptions, while the offense was bolstered by the debut of newly signed wide receiver Antonio Brown. The 31-year-old veteran caught four passes from Tom Brady, tallying 56 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Oddsmakers pegged the Patriots as 18.5-point favorites against the Dolphins, and the defending Super Bowl champions easily covered the spread. With the Pats ready to host the Jets on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, oddsmakers again are making New England a massive favorite entering Week 3. The Jets also are expected to start backup quarterback Trevor Siemian against the Patriots because starter Sam Darnold is battling mono.

Here are the early spreads for every Week 3 game (via the Westgate Superbook):

The most notable spread on that list is the Dallas Cowboys being favored by 20.5-points over the Dolphins. The Cowboys are 2-0, and their high-powered offense led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott should easily be able to move the ball against a Dolphins defense that's given up 102 points over the first two weeks of the season.

The Dolphins have played so poorly that the Westgate Superbook is taking prop bets on them to finish the season 0-16 (the book also has odds on the Patriots going 16-0).

Security guard has priceless reaction to seeing Tom Brady in Miami>>>

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Stephen Gostkowski on tough outing vs. Dolphins: 'Today just sucked'

Stephen Gostkowski on tough outing vs. Dolphins: 'Today just sucked'

The New England Patriots dominated virtually every aspect of the game on Sunday afternoon in their 43-0 victory against the Miami Dolphins. However, not everything was perfect for the team in the massive win.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski struggled badly against the Dolphins. The long-time Patriots kicker missed two extra points and a 48-yard field goal. The five missed points didn't matter in this game, but they could matter in a game down the line.

That said, Gostkowski owned his mistakes after the game and said that Sunday just wasn't his day.

"I stink today," Gostkowski said to Kevin Duffy of The Boston Herald. "Not my day. It was pretty terrible on my part. Today just sucked."

Gostkowski will have to hope that today's performance doesn't carryover moving forward, but he doesn't have a lot to worry about. He has posted some clunkers over the course of his career, but he has converted at least 84 percent of his field goals while missing just six PATs over the course of the past seven seasons. He should get back on the right track moving forward.

Kickers can often struggle to start the season if they aren't in rhythm. And even former Patriots kicker and one of the best in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri, may consider retirement after a rocky start for the Indianapolis Colts. But so long as Gostkowski doesn't let one bad game rattle him, the Patriots aren't likely to have a kicker conundrum anytime soon.

Tom Curran's takeaways from Patriots big win over Dolphins>>>

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