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Review: “The Dynasty” Episode 8 – Score to Settle



Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and former New England Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest after being selected as the 62nd pick by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Friday, May 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The New England Patriots’ incredible run under the trio of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady is being captured in a docuseries called “The Dynasty” on Apple TV. Patriots Football Now will be reviewing each episode. There will be ‘spoilers’ about the content of the episodes in these reviews, but presumably, anyone reading already knows the outcomes of the actual events.

The episode begins with the New England Patriots selection of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2014 NFL Draft…

Turning Point

Patriots legend Willie McGinest was at the podium at the 2014 NFL Draft. He antagonizes the crowd as he announces New England’s selection of Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Robert Kraft remembers thinking back to the pick and thinking, “This was a big move, and it was a statement from Bill Belichick.”

Tom E. Curran appears once again, asking, “Why would you draft a quarterback?”

Bill Belichick is shown at a press conference at the time explaining that based on the age and contract situation of Tom Brady, they wanted to address the quarterback situation early instead of late.

Belichick while being interviewed by the director, in Belichick fashion, explains that “Age is age.”

Robert Kraft clarified this draft selection was about more than Bill Belichick trying to have depth at the position or have an emergency plan if Brady left.

“I remember BIll (Belichick) used to show me different statistics,” Kraft explained. “Tommy’s throws over 20 yards were ranked near the lowest in the league. And Bill said we have to be ready to move on.”

Kraft concludes at the end of the opening, “I think after that Jimmy Garoppolo draft, the tension between Bill and Tom increased. I think it was a turning point in their overall relationship dynamic.”

Start of the 2016 Patriots Season

The episode then moves to the 2016 Patriots training camp. Jimmy Garoppolo is entering his third season, though the editing makes it appear this is immediately following the NFL Draft footage just shown.

Writer Nora Princioti explains, “There was a sense that Belichick had thrown him (Tom Brady) under the bus.”

She goes on to explain how Garoppolo was confident, handsome, and ready to play. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season.

Garoppolo won his first NFL start in Arizona and Belichick presented him with the game ball in the locker room after the game.

Audio clips are played (unattributed) of how much Belichick likes Brady. ESPN’s Max Kellerman is famously shown predicting Tom Brady is about to “fall off a cliff” in his career.

Flashback to Michigan

During Tom Brady’s suspension, he returned to Michigan to serve as honorary captain for a Wolverines game. It was the first time he had returned for a game since he played there.

They then go back to Tom Brady’s time at Michigan. They talk with his roommate, Jay Flannelly, who recounts that Brady arrived as the seventh-string quarterback.

Skip ahead to senior year where Brady is voted captain by his teammates. However, he also loses out on being the full-time starting quarterback due to superstar recruit Drew Henson. Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr opts to have the pair split time.

Flannelly recounts a story about a day when the team was signing autographs for fans. He stayed with Brady, who signed about five autographs, including one for Flannelly’s niece. Meanwhile, Henson is seated in the end zone and has a line of people backed up to the 50-yard line.

Brady was noticed and was fuming. Flannelly calls it, “the birth of the Tom Brady look of death.”

Pincioti chimes back in, stating Brady will never get over feeling like the guy who didn’t get picked. First Michigan, then the draft.

The intention here is to make Jimmy Garoppolo the NFL version of Drew Henson.

Tom Brady’s Return

Brady returned to play in Week 5 of the 2016 season. Everyone outside of New England hated Brady (and the Patriots) at this point. Brady references it as an “FEA year.”

“FEA?” asks the director off-camera.

“F*ck ’em all,” responds Brady.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola stated he felt like, “the king is back.” The team was rolling, dominating nearly every opponent. But that wasn’t enough to please their head coach.

“Coach Belichick being Coach Belichick, held Tom (Brady) to even a higher standard than everyone else,” explained special teams captain Matthew Slater. “Do I think Tom felt disrespected? Yeah, I think so. I don’t think I would want to be treated differently but I would expect a certain level of respect, especially as a grown man. But what that does for Tom Brady, that’s going to add fire to an already burning inferno.”

(note: For some reason, people who wrote about the episode before it aired opted to leave out the last sentence of Slater’s statement.)

Donte Stallworth and Randy Moss talked about Brady being chewed out, even after great wins.

Slater said, “To him (Belichick) nobody was bigger than the team.”

Wes Welker stated, “Brady could have said, let somebody else play Week 1” in response to Belichick’s criticisms.

(note: This episode is focused on the 2016 season and Welker had not been on the New England Patriots since 2012.)

Robert Kraft then talks about having many conversations with “Tommy” and how Brady was sensitive and wanted a paternal feeling from Belichick that he never got. It simply wasn’t Belichick’s way.

Super Bowl 51

The New England Patriots advanced to play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51.

“Bill (Belichick) made it very clear he wasn’t going to be overly concerned with Tom’s emotions and feelings. You’re in the Super Bowl, the pain is temporary, the championship is forever,” explains Ernie Adams. “Losing the championship is forever too.”

Amendola states that Brady was the heart and soul of the team. “We worked for Bill but we played for Tom,” he explains in a snippet used in several of the series’ trailers.

Atlanta led New England 28-3 with 8:31 to play in the third quarter. The premature edition of The Boston Globe with the headline “Bitter End” and a photo of Brady laying on the turf after failing to make a tackle on a pick-six is shown.

Former Patriots executive Scott Pioli was then the assistant GM for the Falcons. He states everyone was high-fiving and celebrating on the Atlanta side. This made Pioli snap.

“You f’n people don’t get it. That guy number 12 across the field is Freddie f’n Krueger.”

The comeback from 28-3 then begins, with a montage of big plays. Brandon LaFell, touchdown. Field goal. Dont’a Hightower, forced fumble. Amendola, touchdown. James White, two-point conversion. Julian Edelman, amazing fingertip catch kept the game-tying drive alive. White touchdown. Amendola, two-point conversion. Tie game.

James White, game-winning touchdown in overtime. Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Postgame Celebration

In the on-field celebration after their Super Bowl 51, Bill Belichick approaches Tom Brady and running back LeGarrette Blount.

“I love you guys!” yells Belichick, wrapping his arms around them. “I love you guys!”

“What a game,” says Brady.

“You’re the greatest of all f-cking time,” said Blount to Belichick. “You’re the greatest,” he reiterates, pointing at his coach. “And you’re the f-cking greatest,” he says turning his attention to Brady.

Robert Kraft accepted the Lombardi Trophy from Roger Goodell. New England Patriots fans loudly booed the NFL Commissioner. Kraft gives a speech about how “a lot has transpired during the last two years,” as an emotional Brady looks on. “This is unequivocally the sweetest.”

Preface for Episode 9

Journalist Howard Bryant says that Brady and Belichick, “are the two titanic figures of this franchise, but they are two alphas.” He concludes, “A collision was inevitable.”

The episode ends, setting up the “collision” for the next episode.

Episode 8 Review: 6/10

Highlights of the episode included the actual football highlights from the Super Bowl. Scott Pioli’s perspective from the visitor sideline was great as well. The on-field embrace with LeGarrette Blount celebrating both GOATs was enjoyable. This episode focused on the tension between Brady and Belichick (beginning with the drafting of Jimmy Garoppolo) but Belichick’s last words in it were telling Brady he loved him.

The footage from Michigan was also excellent. Not sure it was fully conveyed what a “golden boy” Drew Henson was. He was a famous high school athlete before that was commonplace.

This episode was significantly more enjoyable than the past several. Robert Kraft talking about Bill Belichick trying to convince him of Tom Brady’s downfall felt, to put it politely, unnecessary. It sets a negative tone for the episode.

Howard Bryant concludes the episode setting up a nasty collision of alpha egos.

Between the intro and outro, there were a lot of enjoyable things about this episode. Super Bowl 51 was a historic comeback and an unbelievable game. The New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick embraced and celebrated.

Yet somehow “The Dynasty” managed to once again make incredibly positive events for the New England Patriots feel incredibly negative. Much like a lot of this series, it felt incredibly unnecessary to do so.