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State of the New England Patriots (Taylor’s Version)

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FILE - Taylor Swift arrives at the world premiere of the concert film "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour," Oct. 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. Swift is adding one more accolade to her repertoire this year: a resolution recognizing 2023 as the Taylor Swift era in her home state of Pennsylvania. The resolution passed the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 13. She might be in Foxobo, Mass. today to watch the New England Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

With the New England Patriots set to host the Kansas City Chiefs in Foxboro on Sunday, there should be buzz about playoff seeding and rivalries. But with New England’s 3-and-10 record, and many Patriots fans actively rooting for them to lose. The game itself lacks the luster one would hope for. Instead of Bill Belichick and Patrick Mahomes taking center stage on Monday Night Football, this became the first NFL game ever flexed out of that spot. Apparently nobody cares about a Patriots-Chiefs game anymore.

Taylor Swift is bringing more attention to the game than the game itself. We’ve reached a point where the opposition’s tight end’s girlfriend is taking center stage. With that in mind, and with some help from the Kelley girls, a look at the Patriots-Chiefs matchup (Taylor’s Version):

If one could paint a picture of the 2023 New England Patriots season, it would be a picture to burn. Back in August there was still hope in Foxboro. Unlike 2022, it was not a cruel summer. Mac Jones did not have a strong season in Matt Patricia’s offense, but he appeared ready to shake it off and thrive under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

New England should’ve said no to letting wide receiver Jakobi Meyers leave in free agency. Meyers served as Mac Jones favorite target and was fearless on the field. Instead the Patriots opted to give JuJu Smith-Schuster more than fifteen million dollars guaranteed to replace Meyers. Needless to say, it has not been a love story for Smith-Schuster (29 receptions, 260 yards, one touchdown) and New England this season.

Bill Belichick has been the man in New England for 24 years, but now reports are surfacing that the last great American Dynasty could be coming to an end. While it might not be Bill Belichick’s greatest coaching season, hey Stephen Belichick and the Patriots defense has still gotten the job done. For those who want to overhaul the Patriots coaching staff, you need to calm down.

But New England can’t win games on past reputation alone. They need their performance on the field to speak now and make sparks fly once again for the Foxboro faithful. It’s possible a strong performance down the stretch will not be enough to get Belichick out of the woods. However, we know all too well that it certainly won’t hurt his chances of being retained.

Despite six Super Bowl titles and nine AFC Championships under Bill Belichick, there now seems to be bad blood between the legendary coach and a large portion of Patriots Nation. Some may call it karma for not ensuring Tom Brady finished out his NFL career as a member of the New England Patriots.

If Patriots CEO/Chairman Robert Kraft does end up writing a Dear John letter to Bill Belichick, perhaps it would look something like this:

Coach Belichick,

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would win six Super Bowls together. You enchanted me when you interviewed for the job. I knew you were trouble, but it was worth the risk. The gamble paid off and now my trophy case is gorgeous. However, there has been a blank space for nearly five years where that seventh Lombardi Trophy should go.

I’m seeing red after our franchise has reached the stage of irrelevancy. We need to get back to December, January, and February games that mean something. I’m not saying that we are never ever getting back together, but a break is probably best for both parties. This is year 24 in New England for you, and the team hasn’t even made the playoffs since year 22.

Firing you was never my end game. But after five seasons with no playoff wins, look what you made me do.

Sincerely, 
Robert Kraft

It hits different, thinking of the Patriots without Bill Belichick…ready for it? If your answer is yes, you’re on your own, kid. But if the Patriots do send their coach into exile, I know places Bill Belichick can coach next season.

If the Kansas City Chiefs bring their most recent Super Bowl hardware with them to Gillette Stadium on Sunday, there will be a part of every New England Patriots fan, coach and player that wants to yell “mine” and “you belong with me.” But the magic of the Patriots run has faded, leaving things feeling more like 1989 than 2018 in Foxboro these days.


Special thanks to Bridget Kelley, Fiona Kelley, and Shannon Kelley for their contributions to this article.