Remember this time a year ago, when the sky was falling on the New England Patriots?
Tom Brady was thinking about retiring. Rob Gronkowski thought about hanging it up and everyone hated Bill Belichick, the reports said. And the drama only increased as the season approached and the Patriots got out to a 1-2 start.
But oh, how things have changed.
After winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams, the Patriots reportedly are experiencing no infighting. Sure, multiple assistant coaches — including defensive assistants Brian Flores and Brendan Daly — have left down, but all is well at Gillette Stadium.
“There is zero drama right now,” a Patriots source told NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran this week. “It’s a big departure from last year and this one will really be normal relative to the challenges a team faces in the offseason.”
Toward the end of the regular season, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that fear over the direction of the organization could lead to a “mass exodus” of coaches and front office staff during the offseason. And while a slew of coaches have left for other opportunities, the looming sense of dread apparently has shifted.
Check out this nugget from Curran’s column:
“The positive tenor around the team that took root after the December 16 loss to the Steelers is still there. After that defeat, the team looked itself in the mirror and talked about how it had to change its approach on the field and its mindset off of it.
It had to embrace the change instead of being afraid of it and wishing they were what they thought they would be or what they used to be. And the mental switch made a difference.
Speaking with people before the Super Bowl and since, that’s the sense I’m getting about this offseason. A little less focus on the end of things. A high level of optimism about the beginning of something else. An optimism that, a year ago, seemed impossible has taken root.”
Now, there’s always a chance that, in a year’s time, there will be plenty for Patriots fans to worry about and stress over.
But for now, they can sit back, relax and enjoy a sunny, drama-free offseason that nobody saw coming.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images