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Top 10 Performances in “The Dynasty” Series



FILE — Ernie Adams, football research director for the New England Patriots, watches during NFL football practice, in Foxborough, Mass., in this Thursday, May 23, 2019 file photo. Adams, a former high school classmate of coach Bill Belichick, participated in his final practice with the team Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Adams retired from his job at the Patriots, Wednesday, June 16, after 21 years with the team. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Apple TV has now aired all ten episodes of “The Dynasty” series. The series covered the New England Patriots’ successful run under the trio of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft. While the series focused largely on the negative aspects of a very positive run of success, this article will do the opposite. Here the positive performances from a negative series (see episode reviews) are featured.

A countdown of the most appreciated members of the docuseries.

Honorable Mention

Nancy Brady, Deion Branch, LeGarrette Blount, and Adam Vinatieri These four all narrowly missed the cut.

At the beginning of the series, it was stated here that family members were off-limits for criticism. They love and support their loved ones and are not objective. Nancy Brady (Tom’s sister) made a special point to make sure that appreciation was noted for the regions, fans, and organization.

Deion Branch spoke in the episode about Aaron Hernandez (“At All Costs“). He brought a real humanity to the situation, something often missing from the telling of that tale. Branch was emotional and real. It would have been nice to see him speak about more positive times (he was Super Bowl MVP) as well.

LeGarrette Blount was a joy. He was shown loving Brady and Belichick after the team won Super Bowl 51. Blount was also shown dancing at the Super Bowl ring celebration.

Adam Vinatieri did a nice job capturing how the 2001 New England Patriots, who went on to win the Super Bowl, was “our team” a true group. Not Bill Belichick and the Patriots or Tom Brady and the Patriots, etc. That feeling certainly existed at the time and had been lost over the past 23 years with the narrative so few deserving any credit.

And now onto the top ten…

10. Boston Celebrities (Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Bill Burr, Dave Portnoy)

These four were all featured in Episode 7 (“Under Pressure“) about the “Deflategate” controversy. Burr also appeared at other times in the series. Affleck and Damon were not interviewed for the series, but footage shown of them all getting worked up over the convoluted scandal was sensational. Burr telling media members they were jealous of Tom Brady was great. Portnoy led a boycott (which led to an arrest) at Roger Goodell’s offices while protesting the Tom Brady suspension. All great stuff.

9. Julian Edelman

Edelman is among the most popular and well-known members of the New England Patriots. However, his role in the series was fairly minimal. Perhaps because Edelman is one of the few players to play his entire career with the Patriots. He has allegiances to Brady, Belichick, and Kraft. Not everyone handled that balance as nicely. Edelman seemed interested in the same thing many Patriots fans were: re-living the moments that made the franchise great. Even after the series he took a diplomatic stance about it on social media.

8. Willie McGinest

McGinest was one of the Patriots who showed up throughout the series. He was the first draft pick ever of the Robert Kraft Era in New England. Wllie McGinest was part of the first three Super Bowl teams. He famously held the newspaper proclaiming the Patriots a dynasty after their third title. Then McGinest was the one who announced, while taunting the crowd, that the Patriots had selected Jimmy Garoppolo. He told funny stories of the defense harassing Brady in the early days, and said “The defense pretty much ran the team.” He also spoke at the end of the final episode, which was a nice wrap-up.

7. Matt Cassel

Replacing Tom Brady at quarterback is not an easy job but that is what Matt Cassel was forced to do in 2008. He looks like he has a good sense of humor about his experience working with Bill Belichick. Although Cassel did not sugarcoat the difficulties of playing under Belichick’s scrutiny, he did not paint a malicious picture of the coach while doing so. His story about Belichick writing his mother a letter to tell her Cassel had died because he couldn’t pick up a corner blitz was awesome. Cassel spoke honestly without malice, something that was often lacking in the series from this perspective.

6. Tedy Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi was another player who had respect and affection for the three central figures but wasn’t afraid to be honest. He was great at telling stories about how ridiculous Brady’s confidence came across when he was tasked with replacing Drew Bledsoe. And he was great at discussing the difficulties of playing for Bill Belichick. Like many of the other players not named Brady or Hernandez, it would have been nice to celebrate what Bruschi did as a player a bit more.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with former Patriots player Tedy Bruschi

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, smiles while speaking with former Patriots player Tedy Bruschi, right, during an NFL football practice, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

5. Brady’s Buddies (David Nugent and Jay Flannelly)

David Nugent was Tom Brady’s roommate when the two were rookies with the New England Patriots. Jay Flannelly was Brady’s roommate in college at Michigan. Both shared great stories and memories of Brady before he was the superstar he eventually became. Brady being a regular guy is part of what endeared him to fans in the first place (along with the winning). Hanging out with linemen, partying, being an underdog, having seemingly unfounded confidence in himself, and being ultra-competitive. The home video footage shared by Nugent was particularly great.

4. The Captains (Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty)

Like the Patriots players mentioned above, the combination of honesty and respect is what made both of their appearances great. It is difficult to find two more respected members of the New England Patriots organization ever than Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty. They were disappointed with the hypocritical nature of Belichick publicly promoting Donald Trump when players were being told to stay silent. They both were effusive in their praise of how Belichick.

3. The Firm (Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy)

The defensive backfield duo of Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy were outstanding on the field and at the beginning of the series when they were featured. Great players and great trash-talkers too. Law was still talking smack about his pick-six in Super Bowl 36 (when he should have won Super Bowl MVP). Milloy talking about Belichick switching rooms with him before the Super Bowl was great. They also laughed about Brady thinking he’d keep Bledsoe’s job. They are extremely entertaining players who some people, especially younger fans, may not realize had such an impact on the team’s early success.

1999 "The Firm" poster featured New England Patriots Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy

1999 “The Firm” poster featured New England Patriots Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy

2. Scott Pioli

The former New England Patriots executive was excellent. He was there at the beginning of the run in New England and added the perspective of an outsider later. Pioli was an assistant general manager for the Falcons when Atlanta began prematurely celebrating with a 28-3. He said, “That’s Freddie f’n Kreuger over there!” Scott Pioli also had the best line in the entire series about how much more than just Brady and Belichick the actual dynasty was (unfortunately the series didn’t do a great job illustrating that otherwise). Pioli did a hilarious, spot-on impersonation of the number one person on this list as well.

1. Ernie Adams

The MVP (most valuable person) of the “The Dynasty” was Ernie Adams. Shrouded in secrecy throughout his employment with the New England Patriots, Adams stood out here. He is quirky, knowledgable, amusing, and has a nuanced understanding of everything that unfolds. His talking about the “scribes” in Boston media thinking they knew what they were talking about was perfect. Even when he didn’t want to talk about a subject (Spygate) he did it in a manner that wasn’t off-putting in the slightest. There was a lot for longtime Patriots fans to feel frustrated with in this series, but getting to know Ernie Adams better was not one of them.

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