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New England Patriots

‘Twas the Year Before Changes



A fan holds a photo of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wearing a Christmas hat during the second half of an NFL football game between the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

‘Twas the year before changes, all over Gillette
No employees job security, was a safe bet;
Bill Belichick clung his to titles with pride,
In hopes that Tom E. Curran had lied;

The team was mired in a three-win season,
While the Krafts did their best to figure out the reason;
And Mac Jones as the starter, and Zappe in relief,
Had left Foxboro’s faithful shouting good grief,

When after a run of 24 years
Patriots fans had turned cheers into jeers.
Away went Tom Brady and other greats too,
Did this once proud franchise forget what to do?

The new scoreboard and the lighthouse both looked first-rate,
But the team on the field just wasn’t that great,
When depth got depleted by draft picks that’d missed,
And a lengthy and valuable injured reserve list.

Out Gonzalez, Out Judon, Out Kendrick Bourne,
Out Daniel Ekuale, with a bicep that was torn,
And many offensive linemen, and defensive backs too,
And now no Hunter Henry, who would Zappe throw to?

Though the talk show pundits so often sounded dumb,
They were right on one thing; changes would soon come.
From the front office to the Pats coaching staff,
To all of the players, they’d be reviewed by Robert Kraft.

He’d make out a list, of departures to stop,
Gonzalez and Barmore found their names on top,
But what of free agents, there would soon be a bunch,
Trent Brown would depart, he guessed on a hunch,

Henry, Bourne, Onwenu, Dugger, and Uche,
All UFAs, but would any of them stay?
He wondered about cost, and gave his temple a tap,
Searched for answers on X, and consulted @PatsCap,

Two decades of dominance had felt just like heaven,
But it had been five years, without a banner seven,
The stress of not winning was taking its toll,
Would New England ever play in another Super Bowl?

Then he looked at the standings and gave them a laugh,
Maybe his savior would come in the draft,
Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Marvin Harrison, Jr.,
Left him hoping that April would somehow come sooner,

So, while Patriots fans watched losses continue to pile,
The CEO sat there, with a confident smile,
Would Belichick be the man to get the team on track?
Or did another candidate have what his head coach did lack?

Jim Harbaugh or Mayo, Ben Johnson or Vrabel,
Could any of them do, what this coach wasn’t able?
Kraft took a deep breath to contemplate these things,
Could he fire a coach with a boat named Eight Rings?

All in good time that decision would be made,
But of making tough decisions, Kraft wasn’t afraid,
He’d figure that out later, for now he headed to bed,
To dream of next season, and wins waiting ahead.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports,, and many other outlets.