New England Patriots: Get ready for the most overhyped NFL game ever

Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The return is near. After departing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency a year and a half ago, Tom Brady is set to make his return to Gillette Stadium, as his Bucs will take on the New England Patriots in the highly anticipated Week 4 matchup. It is easily the hottest topic in not just the NFL, but the entire sports world.

The headlines are compelling. For years, fans have wondered who was more responsible for the success of the Patriots 20 year dynasty. They wondered if we would ever get a chance to see Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick ever face off. After a 20 plus year wait, we finally will get that showdown.

Things have certainly heated up over the past week thanks to comments made by Tom Brady Sr. and Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner. The narrative continues to trend towards a potentially tension filled reunion for Brady, Belichick, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

While the media and football fans are drooling over this matchup, I am not one of them. The game will most likely not be close, and the media is insisting on creating storylines that have either run their course or just simply aren’t true. Without a doubt, this is going to be the most overhyped NFL game to ever be played.

Why the New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup won’t live up to the hype

Ever since the NFL schedule was released, football fans have had October 3rd circled on their calendar. When Brady announced his intention to sign with the Buccaneers in March of 2020, people quickly began to realize that the Bucs were in line to face off against the Patriots in the 2021 season. Well, here we are.

For all the hype this game has garnered, the stories that have been crafted as a result, and the pointless Brady-Belichick debate, it seems like people are overlooking the hard facts that come with this matchup. Let’s start with the obvious:

  • Tampa Bay is miles ahead of the New England Patriots in terms of talent

In terms of a pure football matchup, the New England Patriots are nowhere near the level Tampa Bay is playing at, and the first three weeks have confirmed that. The Bucs are fresh off a Super Bowl victory in Brady’s first season with them. Meanwhile, New England is still trying to pick up the pieces left in the wake of Brady’s departure, and are hoping rookie quarterback Mac Jones is his heir apparent.

While it’s too early to determine what Jones’ future holds, it’s clear right now he’s going through some rookie growing pains. The supporting cast around him has been quite awful to say the least, which certainly hasn’t helped. He’s proven he has a solid floor in terms of production thanks to his decision-making and accuracy, but he needs to improve on the rest of his game if he wants to start winning games.

On the other hand, Brady has one of the best supporting casts in Tampa that he’s had throughout his career. He inherited stud wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin when he signed with Tampa, and then recruited old friends Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown to team up with him and form one of the most dangerous offenses in the game.

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The New England Patriots defense has struggled at times to slow down the likes of the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and New Orleans Saints in their first three weeks of action. If you are anticipating them slowing down the Buccaneers vaunted offense, you are going to be in for a rude awakening come Sunday night.

For Jones and the Pats offense, it’s hardly a fair fight. While Tampa Bay’s secondary has struggled with injuries early on, their front seven is one of the most vicious in the league. Jones has been getting acquainted with the Gillette Stadium turf recently, and they may just become best friends when this one is said and done.

The New England Patriots are trying to figure out if Jones is the quarterback of their future. The Bucs are trying to win as many Super Bowls as possible before Brady retires. These teams are in two different places right now, and it is going to result in a lopsided football game.

  • This game can’t be used to determine whether Brady or Belichick was more important

In the same line of thought, many are going to use this as an excuse to say that whichever of Brady or Belichick wins is more responsible for the Patriots dynasty. Realistically speaking, this game is going to tell us nothing about who was more responsible.

First, a pre-note if you will. The Belichick-Brady argument in itself is a massive waste of time. Belichick was the one who gave Brady a chance in the first place by drafting him, keeping him as the fourth quarterback on the roster his rookie season, and then giving him a shot when Drew Bledsoe got injured. Brady went out and delivered, and while he has been successful with Tampa, he’s also playing on a team set up to succeed.

For that reason alone, you cannot realistically use this game as a measuring stick if that’s what you are excited about. Regardless of who was responsible for Brady leaving New England, you cannot argue that he has more talent around him in Tampa than he would have had in New England.

You can blame Belichick for letting it get to that point, but that also ignores the fact that Belichick constructed six teams that won Super Bowl championships with Brady. Without the defensive performances some of those teams gave, Brady probably has a couple less rings to show off.

What all of this means is that the creation of the New England Patriots dynasty was a two-way street. Without either of the key pieces, it never would have happened. If you are going to try to persuade yourself that this game will determine who was more responsible for the Patriots 20 years of success, you are going to be wasting your time.

  • Brady and Belichick aren’t going to play to the media

Much of the chatter in the buildup to this game has revolved around the rumored tension between Brady and Belichick that helped push Brady to the exit door. There have been reports coming out dating as far back to when Jimmy Garappolo was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft that Brady was fed up with Belichick. We also had a bombshell report during the 2018 postseason that claimed the union between Brady, Belichick, and Kraft was nearing the point of no return.

Not to mention, now we have Brady’s dad and his trainer going to the media and speaking poorly on the New England Patriots and Belichick in particular. The media appears convinced that Brady and Belichick’s meetup before or after the game is going to be a tension filled conversation.

But that completely ignores the fact that both Brady and Belichick have said nothing bad about each other in the media since their breakup. They also are renowned for holding their cards very tight to their chest when it comes to media interactions. Why would that change for this one game?

The closest thing we will get to this is if Brady decides to try to run up the score on the Patriots, which in all fairness could end up happening. Brady and Belichick have both always let their results on the field do the talking, and that’s going to stay true for this matchup as well. If you are expecting that to change for this one game, you are going to come away unhappy.

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I understand the excitement surrounding this game. It’s unprecedented for a player and a coach who worked together for 20 years and won six Super Bowls to split up and come back together to battle each other. Even more unusual is that Brady and Belichick are still operating at the top of their respective games.

But there are some big expectations for what this game is going to offer, and most fans are going to be left disappointed as a result. Brady will get a nice tribute video, as should Gronk, and the crowd will give the two former cornerstone pieces of the dynasty the standing ovation they deserve.

There won’t be a big blowout between Brady and Belichick. This game won’t determine who was more important than than other. All the silly storylines are garbage. And when the whistle blows and the ball is kicked off, the Buccaneers will coast to a fairly easy victory, making us all wonder what all the commotion was about.