Since the turn of the century, the New England Patriots have absolutely dominated the NFL. Since 2002, the team has had five Super Bowl victories, eight AFC championships, and fourteen division titles. This show of dominance is completely unprecedented, and has never been seen before in the history of the NFL or in any major North American professional sport. The Patriots are simply the most dominant sports team that any American sports fan has had the pleasure of seeing. However, the dynasty is beginning to show some cracks in its armor. The team’s most recent loss in Super Bowl LII has many wondering if this dominant chapter in the team’s history is coming to a close. The team now faces many concerns for the future, and for the first time in several decades could fall from the top. Here are some reasons why the Patriots fall from grace could occur much sooner than you think.
One of the biggest reasons for the Patriots’ success is the fact that they have obtained some of the greatest players to ever play the game. The biggest example of this is the Patriots’ superstar quarterback Tom Brady. The man is a legend, a guaranteed future Hall of Famer, and has a legitimate case that he is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. No quarterback can ever claim the success that Brady has been able to sustain throughout his career. Brady’s archrival Peyton Manning only won two Super Bowls and four AFC championships, less than half what Brady has accomplished. However, everyone has their limit. Brady will be 41 at the start of next season, one of the oldest quarterbacks to ever play the game. You have to assume that soon Father Time will strike and Brady will be unable to compete at the high standards the Patriots are used to. Unfortunately for New England, Brady may not be the only Patriot superstar that will retire soon. There have been rumors that Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots’ superstar tight end, is also considering retirement. These rumors state that Gronkowski has lost interest in the game, and that World Wrestling Entertainment was trying to lure him away from football and sign his larger-than-life personality. Regardless of how good the Patriots are now, no team can withstand losing two all-time greats without a major decline in performance.
With great success comes a large target on your back. This especially rings true for the New England Patriots, as everyone wants to be the team that topples their dynasty. However, sometimes in order to beat a team you have to learn from them. This leads to a lot of Patriot coordinators and assistant coaches being hired and promoted by other teams as they try to emulate the Patriots’ success. Most recently, the Patriots’ 2017 defensive coordinator was hired by the Detroit Lions to be their new head coach. This excessive amount of turnover in the coaching staff could harm the Patriots in the long run. However, the biggest threat to the quality of the Patriots’ coaching staff would be head coach Bill Belichick stepping down. It can be argued that with his five Super Bowl victories as Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick is now the greatest coach in the history of the NFL. However, conflict with the team has led to rumors swirling that he may leave the team or retire soon. If the Patriots lose their legendary coach, they will struggle mightily to produce results.
Lack of Young Talent
In the NFL, winning comes at a price that you must pay further down the road in your team’s future. The more your team wins in a given season, the less valuable your team’s draft pick becomes in that year’s NFL draft. Since the Patriots have had so much success in recent season, they have picked pretty late in almost all of the recent NFL drafts. This means the team is relatively devoid of young talent. The team doesn’t have any young superstars to step up if their veterans retire or leave. As long as the Patriots continue to win there will be no high profile rookies from the draft searching for Boston real estate. This lack of young talent means the future may be bleak for the Patriots when the old guard leaves.