“The Dynasty,” a 10-part docuseries about the New England Patriots’ historic run of success debuted Feb. 16 on Apple TV+. Two episodes are released every Friday, and we’ll dig into each episode with takeaways. Next up: Episode 4.

Episode 1: Backup Plan
Episode 2: The Snow Bowl
Episode 3: Borrowed Time

An inside look at one of the most memorable seasons in NFL history, this episode looks at how Spygate set the tone for a record-breaking Patriots season but also changed Bill Belichick and the mood around the team.

— The episode technically starts with a former New Jersey state police trooper, but we’ll get to him a little later. The football story picks up with the 2006 AFC Championship Game in Indianapolis. You know, the one when the Patriots blew a 21-3 lead to Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Story continues below advertisement

Tom Brady, all these years later, admits whoever wins that game wins the Super Bowl, which the Colts obviously did. Then, the borderline uselessness of Belichick’s involvement in the series is underscored.

“In football, if you can’t control the game,” he says, “then ultimately, I think your opponent is going to wear you down, and they’re going to end up where you want to be.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Gee, thanks, Bill.

— That game, though, sets the course for the 2007 season, which obviously is known for Spygate but also a record-setting offensive performance led in part by Randy Moss. For the first time, we get to see and hear from the Hall of Fame wideout, who shared the humorous story of finding out how he was going to the Patriots. Moss was out with friends and thought the call from Belichick was a prank, even hanging up on his new boss. Eventually, he got it settled and sounded pretty ecstatic to be a Patriot.

Story continues below advertisement

“Me and a couple of my boys were sitting at a table, and I ordered a 12-pack of Corona, and then I held up one of my Coronas and said ‘I’m going to be a Patriot!'”

— Moss, of course, wasted no time making an impact. He caught all nine of his targets for 183 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown in his Patriots debut against the Jets.

Moss: “Everybody watched the movie ‘Forrest Gump.’ You remember when Forrest Gump busted out those chains that’s supposed to straighten his legs out? Remember his facial expressions when he’s running and running and those chains come off, and Forrest Gump’s eyes are this — “

” … that’s how it felt.”

Story continues below advertisement

— That day in New Jersey, though, is not remembered for Moss’ Patriots debut. It is, of course, the birth of Spygate, which brings us back to retired trooper Patrick Aramini, who got sick of working undercover and instead moved on to head of security at the Meadowlands.

“In my 35-year tenure down there, I never had really any problems until the day of the Spygate,” he says.

We all know the story. The Jets, tipped off by Eric Mangini, caught the Patriots taping the sidelines, and a whole thing ensued, to say the least, and it leads to this line from Aramini in all his New Jersey Italian delight.

“Nobody had any f—–‘ idea what to do. The Patriots were saying ‘That’s my f—–‘ property. The Jets were saying ‘You’re f—-‘ spying on us. We don’t want you to have it.”

Story continues below advertisement

— A lot of this gets put back on longtime Patriots staffer and Belichick confidant Ernie Adams. Anyone thinking Adams is going to spill the beans is quickly disappointed when the filmmakers give the audience Adams’ warning to the producer or directing interviewing him.

“Just so you know, on this whole video thing, the Jets game in 2007, I’m not going to reopen it,” Adams said. ” … Just so you, I’m not going to, could I tell you stories? Yes. Am I gonna? No. I, this is going to the grave with me a little bit.”

— No need to go too deep on the hits. Belichick stonewalls the filmmakers, saying he already talked about it in the past. They then cut to his interview with Armen Keteyian on CBS from 2008. Then we get Patriots owner Robert Kraft retelling for the 283rd time the story about how he called Belichick a “schmuck” and on and on. That being said: Kraft really goes out of his way to let everyone know that they extended themselves in conversations with the league to ensure Belichick wasn’t suspended.

— What was interesting, however, was the inclusion of Robyn Glaser, who currently holds the role of SVP of business affairs for The Kraft Group. She has been in the news recently as someone supposedly taking on a bigger role in football matters with Belichick gone. Here, though, she recalls the infamous destruction of videotapes at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots and the league went into business together with the hope of killing the story.

Story continues below advertisement

“It was decided that we would destroy the tapes on premises,” she recalls. “I remember walking down the hallway and asking someone for a hammer. They took the hammer to the tapes, and I’m on my hands and knees in a dress and high heels, picking up the tapes and throwing them away. I remember thinking to myself, all the news cycles, all the commentary, this is done. It’s over. We’ve been fined. It’s over. That is not at all what happened.”

Also, this is just a funny screenshot.

— Eventually, the guns get turned on Mangini, the then-Jets coach, who worked with Belichick in Foxboro for years. Once again, former Patriots executive Scott Pioli delivers some profound insight into why that was such a major no-no, and how the supposed betrayal shaped Belichick moving forward.

“The unspoken rule is when you leave the family, you leave the family,” Pioli says. “You honor the opportunity that was given. You don’t make a mess. You remember how you got your first step in the door. You don’t make a mess. Bill was very close with Eric. His very normal human reaction was a feeling of betrayal, and he distanced himself from those who were closest to him. You could feel a certain type of energy in that building. a certain type of anger. A certain type of vengeance.”

Story continues below advertisement

— The rest of the episode focuses on the 2007 season and how the Patriots — and specifically Belichick — used their play on the field to respond to the critics.

“After the whole Spygate thing, we had a lot of emotions for Bill,” Patriots great Tedy Bruschi said. “Hate, love, everything. But he was ours. … Bill would never express how despised everything that was said, like trying to invalidate everything we’ve done because of a signal, but this is how we knew when he felt it: that offense kept scoring. Bill was just relentless. We’d be up by 20, 30 points, and he’s telling the offense to do it, again.”

— One awesome element of this episode is the inclusion of uncensored postgame locker room footage. Like, for instance, Moss coming in following a 48-27 win over Dallas in Week 6 saying, “What the (expletive) was Dallas thinking?” There’s also Belichick following a 52-7 pasting of Washington in Week 8 congratulating his team before saying “That shut ’em the (expletive) up.”

— Also, we got Belichick even getting in on the postgame celebration in Dallas went he team broke it down with a cup of popcorn, presumably a little jab at Terrell Owens.

— The episode all leads up to Super Bowl XLII. Before even getting to the game, we do get an interesting look at how Kraft views the world — or, at least, how he views his world.

“We’d been blessed and almost a little spoiled. I thought it was God’s hand at work. But this time, it was just the reverse. It was the devil at work. Leading into the Super Bowl, we had the devil playing everywhere we could, facilitating things that weren’t in our interest.”

Pretty sure that’s largely tongue-in-cheek, but maybe not?

— Kraft’s devil conjured up an injury for Brady, who was seen in a walking boot in New York City during the off-week. That didn’t help. Nor did the Boston Herald’s story alleging the Patriots videotaped the Rams ahead of Super Bowl XXXVI. It understandably incensed the Patriots, who demanded an apology, as Jonathan Kraft mentions.

“I think I said something to the effect of we’re gonna own your paper pretty soon,” the younger Kraft recalled. “If the paper was worth owning, we would have used their newspaper, but it wasn’t something worth owning.”

It’s a good line, one that’s made even better by footage from Episode 2 where Robert Kraft is shown talking to then-Herald publisher Pat Purcell.

“We’re all flying high here, it’s great, and I hope it sells more newspapers for the Herald,” Kraft says to Purcell on the phone in his office ahead of the 2001 playoffs.

— So, the Giants ended up pulling off one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports, as we all know. Giants great Michael Strahan shows up, and sticking with the God/devil of it all, he describes the energy of University of Phoenix Stadium as “darkness vs. light (and) good vs. evil,” saying the plan for the Giants was to “kick the devil’s ass.”

— David Tyree comes up a time or two. It’s kind of crazy to see someone like Brady, who had unmatched success in the sport, reflect on the anguish of that play and game even all these years later.

“I was like, f—, man. How the f— did you do that? I was looking at that play the other day: If that ball bounces up, we have like five guys there to intercept the ball. It’s a million to one.”

Similarly, former Patriots wideout Donte Stallworth gets borderline choked up, saying it was like “your soul leaving your body” to lose that game.

— One other cool move by the filmmakers was to just run Jonathan Kraft’s recollection of the postgame locker room scene. He was trying to really dress up his story or at least tell it in a certain way, to the point where he stopped his story, but they just kept everything in.

“Following the loss to the Giants, that locker room was, by a factor of 10, the most emotional (I’ve ever seen),” Jonathan Kraft said. “I’m sorry, let me just start over. I’m watching guys throw up and cry on the floor. I’ve never seen that. I’ve never, ever seen that, but I want to figure out how to describe it.”

Turns out, “dudes were crying and throwing up” was a pretty good way to describe it.

— This is just one 50-minute episode, but you could honestly do an entire series on the 2007 season. Watching it back, it’s still hard to fathom how much drama there was throughout just one football season. Like a lot of things with these Patriots, we’ll never see anything like it again.

“Each week, Bill wanted to take the jugular. I appreciated his killer instinct. I’m a bad motherf—–, too, now.”
— Randy Moss

“We’re beating people’s ass so bad, that we’re the bad guys … sort of liked it, though.”
— Tedy Bruschi

Randy Moss — One of the things that makes this series so good is a lot of the major players are great storytellers, and Moss is the latest.

Easily the best episode of the four so far. The subject matter certainly helps, but it’s just so well done and the vivid recollections of retelling of stories left you wanting more.

Screenshots used with permission via AppleTV+

Featured image via "The Dynasty" on Apple TV+