Being a fan of any AFC East team over the last two decades has been as bad as being an AL East fan in the ’90s and dealing with the Yankees. Being perpetually tormented by the reigning dynasty in every way you could imagine for over a decade. As a young New York Jets fan, all I know is disappointment and struggle. Having to deal with the greatest quarterback to ever play on a year-by-year basis is the equivalent of being an Indiana Pacers fan during Jordan’s run in Chicago. The combination of arguably the greatest player to ever play, paired with the greatest coach of all time is unfair beyond imagination.
The New England Patriots dynasty has now lasted for 19 years, through the mastery of Bill Belichick. Along with the help of some incompetent franchises, Belichick has been able to build the most unstoppable force in NFL history. His diligent film study habits and acute attention to detail has helped the Patriots become the blueprint to being a successful NFL franchise.
Since 2000, Belichick has been the head coach and de facto general manager of the Patriots. His brilliance has been on display equally in both facets of the organization. He constantly dominates draft boards, year in and year out, drafting blue-chip players such as Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Vince Wilfork and Logan Mankins in the early rounds. While getting absolute gems in the later rounds such as David Givens, Asante Samuel, and of course Tom Brady.
He enabled the franchise for prolonged success by either acquiring or trading away established, aging players. For example, the Patriots traded Deion Branch to the Seattle Seahawks for a first-round pick, which became four-year starting safety Brandon Meriweather. Belichick also traded a second-round pick for Corey Dillon in 2004. A player who in just six seasons, broke multiple rookie rushing records and became the Bengals all-time leading rusher. Belichick then bamboozled the Raiders into giving up Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick. As well as the infamous Richard Seymour trade, which resulted once again in the Patriots receiving a number one pick and selecting Pro Bowl Left Tackle Nate Soldier.
For the second half of the dynasty, look no further than Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Devin McCourty, and Donta’ Hightower. They have been the backbone of this team for the last eight years and helped define the Patriots as the greatest dynasty ever.
This year though, the team will look drastically different compared to their recent Super Bowl rosters. With the losses of Trey Flowers, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan in free agency, and the surprise retirement of Rob Gronkowski, on top of Tom Brady looking somewhat human over the last few years, the AFC East might have a chance to breathe for once.
As a Jets fan, you have to feel that this is the time to strike. You have the best young quarterback in franchise history since Joe Namath and a head coach in Adam Gase, who has proven that he can go toe-to-toe with Belichick. Along with the acquisitions of Le’Veon Bell, C.J Mosley, and Kelechi Osemele, the Jets have all the tools to usurp the Patriots in the next couple of years and become the powerhouse of the division.
So far Maccagnan and company have made it a mission to have a youth overhaul in the organization. With the introduction of new jersey’s, you have to feel that they’re heading in the right direction. With the draft almost upon us, the team has an important decision to make. Take one of the top defensive prospects in the draft at three? Whether that be the stud edge defender from Ohio State, Nick Bosa if he falls, Quinnen Williams, the behemoth defensive tackle out of Alabama or the freak of nature pass rusher out of Kentucky, Josh Allen. Or option B, electing to trade down in the draft.