Juicy article on dysfunction between Brady, Belichick and Kraft contains many amazing stories.
1. This big story in the sports world today is ESPN's inside look at the deteriorating relationship between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. The piece contains a little everything: Brainwashing accusations, literally locking a teammate out of a facility, a potshot at the Cleveland Browns and much more. The article was basically like watching an episode of The Sopranos. The problem, it seems, with the Patriots, is that they have three Tonys.
Here's a breakdown of some of the noteworthy and juiciest details from the story.
• Tom Brady is in a cult, led by his trainer, Alex Guerrero:
"Few in the building had a problem with Brady's method -- mostly based on stretching with bands, eating lots of vegetables, drinking lots of water, getting lots of sleep and, most of all, achieving peak 'pliability.' They did have a problem with what Brady and Guerrero promised the TB12 Method could do. They claimed it could absolve football of responsibility for injury: 'When athletes get injured, they shouldn't blame their sport,' Brady wrote. The method also was so consuming and unwavering in its rules and convictions that, while it helped some players, it felt 'like a cult' to others, one Patriots staffer says. The way TB12 began to creep into Brady's life worried people close to the QB, many of whom were suspicious of Guerrero. 'Tom changed,' says a friend of Brady's. 'That's where a lot of these problems started.'"
I've said for months that Brady's transformation into a snake oil salesman, selling $100 "recovery pajamas" has not gotten enough attention from the media. It turns out, this got plenty of attention within the organization.
• The Patriots still think Tom Brady has to prove himself:
"All of this happened as Brady, serving as TB12's test case, continued to reiterate publicly and privately his goal of playing into his mid-40s. In October, he again explained to Kraft and Belichick his plans to play a few more years. The question was whether Brady had earned long-term security from the Patriots, or if he would finish his career somewhere else."
How on earth could this be a question? The guy has won five Super Bowls and his the arguably the greatest QB of all time. If he hasn't earned long-term security, no play in the NFL should ever earn long-term security.
• Brady is mad he hasn't won the Patriots of the Week Award this season.
"At the same time, as his age has increased, Brady has become an advocate of positive thinking. Belichick's negativity and cynicism have gotten old, Brady has told other Patriots players and staff. He feels he has accomplished enough that he shouldn't have to endure so much grief. Patriots staffers have noticed that, this year more than ever, he seems to volley between unwavering confidence and driving insecurity. Brady has noted to staff a few times this year that, no matter how many game-changing throws he makes, Belichick hasn't awarded him Patriot of the Week all year."
Can you imagine something as insignificant as "Patriot of the Week" being something that affects the Brady-Belichick relationship?
• Brady locked out Jimmy Garoppolo from one of the
cult TB12 facilities.
"But after Garoppolo was knocked out of his second start because of a shoulder injury, he set up a visit at TB12. As he later told Patriots staffers, when he arrived, the door was locked. He knocked; nobody was there. He called TB12 trainers but nobody answered. He couldn't believe it, Garoppolo told the staffers, and that night ended up visiting team trainers instead. Guerrero vehemently denies ever refusing to see any player, and Garoppolo was eventually treated at TB12 -- but it was two weeks after he showed up for his original appointment, and only after a high-ranking Patriots staffer called TB12 to inquire why Garoppolo hadn't been admitted."
This is probably the best story in the ESPN piece. Who knows if it's true, but we can only hope that Tom Brady ordered the code red on Jimmy Garoppolo here.
• Even in detailing all the Patriots' dysfunction, the poor Browns get pooped on.
"And complicating matters even more was that Belichick didn't want to trade Garoppolo. He had passed on dealing him last spring, when Garoppolo was in high demand. In early September, Belichick did trade third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. 'If we trade Jimmy, we're the Cleveland Browns, with no succession plan,' one person inside the organization said earlier in the year.'"
That's just rude.
• Bill Belichick is a maniac.
"Belichick handled the trade as he always does, by not explaining it to the coaches and by burying them so deep in work that they didn't have time to gossip."
The only thing dumber than creating work for people so they can't gossip is thinking there is any amount of work that could prevent co-workers from gossiping.
2. This is amazing use of the Internet.
3. Speaking of Andy Dalton helping the Bills get into the playoffs, Buffalo fans have now donated $315,000 to Dalton's charity.
4. Baker Mayfield's rough week got even worse last night thanks to this awkward encounter with Paul George.
5. Kobe Bryant told a funny "trophy participation" story on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.
6. The best part of Carmelo Anthony dropping very bad curse words during his postgame interview last night was the sideline reporter pulling down his mic way after that the fact that the damage had been done.
7. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: With Chris Jericho dominating headlines in the wrestling world this week, let's remember his awesome 1,0004 holds promo.
The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts. And check Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board," on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.
BONUS ITEM: NFL playoff picks: Titans +8.5, Rams -5.5, Bills +8.5, Panthers +6.5.