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Bill Parcells: Patriots drama “doesn’t mean anything”

Though Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells says the New England Patriots' offseason drama isn't a big deal, Mike Florio argues it could linger well into the regular season.

Bill Parcells knows a lot about football, and more than a little about drama.

So while the rest of the football world is fascinated by the apparent quarterback-coach-owner power struggle in New England (with a little Gronk thrown in for flavor), the legendary former coach and Bill Belichick-mentor shrugged it off in a recent interview with Gary Myers of The Athletic.

I don’t pay any attention to that,” Parcells said. " Nobody knows what’s what exactly. You are just hearing gossip and conjecture and opinion. I don’t put much stock in that. Having been in a position myself as a head coach, a lot of things are said about an organization, the coaching staff and the owner. Some of the things are just flat out not true. Yet they get out and they get publicized because they make good headlines. The only thing you got to do is watch the product on the field. When the season starts, all this offseason stuff, it doesn’t mean anything. Nothing.”

So while there are some very real reasons to wonder about the future of the Patriots, personality conflicts don’t hold much interest for Parcells. With Tom Brady aging and beginning to equivocate about his future, and with injuries mounting for Rob Gronkowski, it’s easy to see the Patriots as a team on the brink. But Parcells doesn’t see it that way.

Asked how much longer Belichick and Brady can continue to win, he pointed to their relative dominance of the AFC East as evidence it can continue.

“I wouldn’t underestimate them,” Parcells said. “Their track record is illustrious. You know, all things come to an end. We all know that. New England had quite a few players last year that couldn’t play defensively because of injuries. Some of them are coming back. Defense was one of their Achilles’ heels. If they can improve there, we know they are going to have the firepower. They have a prolific passer. They have [Julian] Edelman coming back, Gronkowski is a target. They have some runners. Their back is a very, very good pass receiver. They got that young back from Georgia [first-rounder Sony Michel], who looks like he can score touchdowns if he gets a step or so. I don’t see anybody right now in their division that I would say has the upper hand on them, that’s for sure. If you can win your division, you are a long way down the road to doing something.”

Parcells said he still speaks to Belichick “occasionally,” but said he never asked his former pupil why he didn’t play Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl.

It’s kind of a big deal to many, but apparently not enough to derail the modern dynasty, at least in the mind of the Hall of Famer.