By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Here's the thing about the whole Tom Brady-Bill Belichick situation. It's not fake news. It's not a made-up media creation. I don't know how much more people need to see and hear to realize that. There's at least a little something between the Patriots' head coach and quarterback. NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran has reported extensively on it and he's deeply connected to the Brady camp, and he's not backing down.
But at the same time, this drama is not causing Gillette Stadium to rot from within. The walls aren't crumbling. In fact, both Brady and Belichick are planning to go right back to work for another run at the Super Bowl. And while they probably do have some differences to work out, it's understandable to be sick of hearing about it.
Those feelings of exasperation seemed to reach a breaking point on Monday night, after a clip came out from Brady's new interview with Jim Gray. Asked if Brady feels appreciated by the Patriots for his accomplishments, he now-infamously invoked the Fifth Amendment with an emphatic "I plead the fifth" as he turned to the crowd. Curran angered Patriots fans all over again when he isolated that one part in a tweet.
"I think everybody in general wants to be appreciated more at work in their professional life," Brady continued. "The people that I work with are trying to get the best out of me."
The part that will be largely ignored in all this is all the high praise that Brady gave Belichick later in the interview.
"He’s an incredible coach," said Brady. "He’s been an incredible mentor for me. He’s taught me so much football. I wouldn’t be sitting here without his coaching."
Look, I'm not denying that Brady may have given Belichick a little poke in the ribs with the "I plead the fifth" thing. He also spoke at length about how positive of a person he is, and how he'll need to draw positivity from within. He must know by now that Belichick isn't going to dump buckets of sunshine on him.
It's just strange that this latest interview is being treated as some sort of bombshell. Maybe it's not so strange. My colleagues here on air at the Sports Hub have plenty of time to spend analyzing his comments. "I plead the fifth" did nothing to stop the [expletive]-storm that has whirled throughout New England ever since they lost Super Bowl LII.
But that's exactly the point. This video does nothing to change anyone's mind on the matter. If anything, it only makes the respective sides dig even deeper into their trenches. Maybe that's why his comments turned out to be such a big deal on social media on Monday. In an offseason assault on a pile of dead horses, Brady just handed both sides a fresh stick.
The important part, for the people who want to finally, mercifully, focus on actual football, is that Brady actually said out loud that he is committed to playing in 2018 and still wants to at least try to play into his mid-40s. But obviously, that's not going to be the focus on Tuesday. All this interview did was refresh and renew the same squabble that's been going on for months now.
If you want to blame Brady for dumping another barrel of gas on this endless fire, so be it. But it's still bizarre that "I plead the fifth" is being reported on as if there's anything new here. If you already believed there were issues behind the scenes and Brady is acting like a diva, this only reinforced your beliefs. If you're tired of the "fake news" and just want it to be over and done-with, the reporting on the interview only further sharpened that viewpoint.
Yet here I am, rattling off nearly 800 words about the Patriots drama that simply won't end. The drama has extended to the people covering it and following it, and that's nothing new either. Brady's latest comments were simply the latest act in what feels like an infinite play. But ideally, this would be the final act. Because seriously, I'm begging you - begging myself, even - to talk some football.
There is, after all, a draft to discuss.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].