Sports coverage has become about narrative and hypotheticals over results. About the worst thing that can happen for an NFL beat is a team going on a 15-year run of unprecedented, relentless competence with the same head coach and quarterback. Not to mention that coach keeping a tight ship and turning press conference blandness into an art form.
Such success brings out the worst quality in a fan base, from a media perspective, equanimity. Fans not having a meltdown over draft picks, offseason moves, and inevitable preseason trivia.
That’s what’s happening with the New England Patriots now. Which stinks if your job is to write about the Patriots. One has to get…creative.
Last week, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy laid into imaginary Patriots fan stereotypes for not being concerned enough about the latest nontroversy.
This week, Karen Guregian in the Boston Herald went full straw-man on the brewing rift between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, calming those same imaginary fans who were too concerned. She attributes “views making the rounds” for the idea of a rift, a prospect which former Patriots, obviously, found improbable and absurd.
It’s doubtful we’ll ever find out the reality of what’s happened behind closed doors at Gillette Stadium the past few weeks. Or what really led to Brady’s appearance Friday night at Bank of America Stadium, where TB12 finally got into a preseason game.
These are two incredibly determined, strong-willed, highly competitive men. They’re bound to clash. But that doesn’t necessarily mean because there’s smoke, there’s fire. A bit of drama doesn’t always equal a five-alarm disaster.
We’ll wait to learn how imaginary New England fans react or don’t react enough to the “quarterback controversy” after Jimmy Garoppolo successfully completes a forward pass without falling on his face.