Curran: Belichick's latest ‘scoreboard' boast betrays his own mantra


New England Patriots fans have had it pretty good in the 21st century. They've watched their team win six Super Bowls and nine AFC championships since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

So, just because the Patriots haven't won a playoff game since that sixth Super Bowl title, the masses shouldn't lose faith in the architect of the New England dynasty.

That's what Belichick communicated in just four words Monday when asked why Patriots fans should be optimistic about the 2023 season.

"The last 25 years," Belichick responded.

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Belichick's track record and understanding of the game are unparalleled. But does how he coached the 2003 Patriots have any bearing on how he'll coach the 2023 Patriots? Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran shared a nuanced take on Belichick's comments on NBC Sports Boston's "Quick Slants" from the NFL owners meetings in Arizona.

"You know what I hear when Belichick says, 'the last 25 years'?" Curran said. "I hear a guy saying, 'Do you know who I am? How 'bout you Google me.' To me, that's a guy who's saying, 'Let's look back at all the things I've done.'

"And on the one hand, he's absolutely entitled to feel that way. That answer reflects an attitude that he's earned. 'I've shown I know what I'm doing, folks. Just a little bit.' But it also makes a guy sound a little bit like he's living in the past, doesn't it?

"Bill can say, 'Check my record,' but what if people look at the record of the last three years? Over the short haul, not so good. The team is 25-25 since Tom Brady left, and at this time last year, Robert Kraft was saying he was sour about the team's prospects since having not won a playoff game in three years. The dry spell is now four years. Belichick's 23-year tenure has never had a season as bad as last year."

The Patriots experienced incredible success from 2001 to 2018, winning 17 AFC East titles and missing the playoffs just twice. Since Brady's departure in March 2020, though, the reality is that Belichick has been a thoroughly average coach who has made some very questionable decisions.

"Belichick has been borrowing against the goodwill built in an unprecedented fashion over the first 18 years from 2000 to 2018, but he's also spent on that collateral," Curran continued. "He started spending on that collateral when he benched Malcolm Butler (in Super Bowl LII). He continued to spend on that collateral when he decided he wanted to go year-to-year with Tom Brady. He continued to spend on that collateral with Cam Newton, and even more so last year with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge running the offense, basically frittering away Mac Jones' rookie contract.

"So, when we look back at the last 25 years, we absolutely have a head coach who deserves every right to say, 'Check my record. Look at those banners. You had a good time?' But if you look a little harder at the last 25 years -- 23 to be exact -- the last three show a guy who, when he says, 'Trust me,' fewer people are saying, 'In Bill we trust' anymore and nodding their heads in assent."

Check out Curran's full take in the video player above.

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