Let me begin with a fervent prayer that this does not happen in practice for many many years. These three, in combination, virtually guarantee annual competition for THE ultimate prize, season after season. These last ten years have included none where the Pats have been eliminated from consideration early, which is a recurring phenomenon for many NFL franchises, and used to be our lot more often than I like to remember.
Having said that, how important is each piece?
- Robert Kraft, age 69. Longevity (high side): 10-20 years. Season ticket holder since before the Pats entered the NFL. Possible replacement with similar characteristics? Arguably (son Jonathan.)
- Bill Belilchick, age 58. Longevity (high side): 20 years (ask father Steve Belichick, long-time assistant coach at Navy.) Found world-beating success at New England. We like to believe he'll coach here forever, for obvious reasons.
- Tom Brady, age 33. Longevity: 5-8 years. Has never played for another NFL team. Shows all signs of wanting to retire a Patriot. A "Montana in KC" scenario is always possible, but he looks in it for the long haul.
Obviously, the best 5-8 year scenario, and the most likely one, is that these three continue to work together in NE.
Then what? We hope we will at least have BB and Kraft together.
2008 showed that a BB-coached team (enabled by Kraft, who had the insight to trade away Curtis Martin to get the real
brains in the Parcells/Bellichick brain trust) can win 11 games without Brady (though with a Moss at closer to the top of his game.)
2010 has shown just how unimportant that vertical threat can be when all else is going fairly well (thus far.)
Is it reasonable to think that winning without Brady can be as regular as winning with
Brady has been?
Can another Cassel be rounded up, assuming Cassel's 2010 work is indicative of his future baseline, and not an outlier?
Granted this is a very "cross your fingers and hope" thread. We've seen how adroitly BB can handle "rebuilding." Dare we hope that NE's "window" is the length of Belichick's career, not Brady's?
In other words, after the 5 Lombardis we'll win between Super Bowls XLV and L, what does the future hold?
Just getting ahead of the next plausible wave of "The Patriots are done" threads from GangGreen.