For the first time in decades, Nick Wright was prepared to enjoy an NFL season in which the Patriots weren’t a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
But in wake of New England’s latest transaction, the “First Things First” host believes he’ll no longer be afforded that satisfaction.
Even after Tom Brady left Foxboro in free agency, Wright thought the Patriots still had a chance to win a 12th consecutive AFC East title with Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer under center. Now that Cam Newton has joined the quarterback group in New England, Wright, a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan, believes the Patriots’ aspirations in the 2020 season go beyond a division crown.
“What an awful day for America,” Wright quipped Monday on FOX Sports 1. “I thought our long, national nightmare of 20 years — mostly uninterrupted — of Patriot excellence was finally going to skid off the tracks. I still thought they would be good. I still thought they could win the division, which is why the addition of Cam Newton, of course, makes them Super Bowl contenders. Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots — that’s your power rankings in the AFC. I don’t know how anyone could have it any different. Listen, I’m happy for Cam. I’m just sad for everyone else, primarily myself.”
"The addition of Cam Newton of course makes the Patriots a Super Bowl contender. Chiefs, Ravens, Patriots — that's your power rankings in the AFC. I'm happy for Cam, I'm just sad for everyone else, primarily myself." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/li1iVR4y14
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) July 6, 2020
Of course, Newton first must win the starting quarterback job in New England before the ball can get rolling on Wright’s projection. The 2015 NFL MVP pretty safely is Bill Belichick and Co.’s best QB option on paper, but as former Patriot Rob Ninkovich explained Monday, players need to earn their playing time in Foxboro.