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Kelley: Why I Couldn’t Stand Apple TV’s “The Dynasty”



FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2017, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds up Super Bowl trophies along with head coach Bill Belichick, right, and team owner Robert Kraft, left, during a rally in Boston to celebrate the win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. Tom Brady is an NFL free agent for the first time in his career. The 42-year-old quarterback with six Super Bowl rings said Tuesday morning, March 17, 2020, that he is leaving the New England Patriots. The Patriots Dynasty won six Super Bowls. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

The word hate is not used in the Kelley household. If it was, the headline of this article would have been a proper place to use it. For ten episodes I sat through a series about the New England Patriots’ incredible 20-year reign atop the National Football League. Unlike the actual events “The Dynasty” was allegedly covering, I found almost none of it enjoyable.

For fans of The Real Housewives franchise, this series is likely incredible viewing. For fans of football, and especially the New England Patriots, it was nearly a complete waste of time.

Long before covering the New England Patriots, I was a fan. That predates “The Dynasty” by many years. So I lived through the ups and downs of the franchise in real time. Being a New England fan during this historic run of success was so much fun. The series captured almost none of that enjoyment.

Bill Belichick

Some argue this wasn’t a hit piece of former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Those people watched a different series than I did. Belichick is not without blame for some things that went wrong. However, one is left with the impression every loss and controversy was his fault, while every success was accomplished despite him. It’s ridiculous.

Belichick deserved to be questioned about Spygate, benching Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl 52, and hypocritical behavior. But Belichick was not to blame for Deflategate, Aaron Hernandez murdering people, or many other issues laid at his feet here.

It is fair to wonder why Butler didn’t play against the Eagles. But the true story of the Patriots dynasty was an undrafted free agent like Butler being taught how to prepare all week leading up to Super Bowl 49 against the Seahawks to be ready for one specific play. Seattle called that play and Butler was ready. He snagged the biggest interception in Super Bowl history. Why not focus on that great storyline?

There is no question Bill Belichick was not going to be brought back for the 2024 season. How could he? Could Belichick walk into a building with Robert Kraft every day after seeing what had been said about him? Bill Belichick was a goner. It makes the 2023 season feel like a charade.

Many who played during the Belichick years in New England have love and respect for their coach. Those players were either omitted or had comments edited to focus solely on the negative. Don’t believe me? Ask Patriots legends Devin McCourty and Rodney Harrison. Director Matthew Hamachek had an agenda, which he and the production team rolled with. Some might find it entertaining. I found it disappointing and disgusting.

Scandals and Controversies

The scandals and controversies could have been one episode. It would have feautred Spygate, Deflategate, Aaron Hernandez, Butler’s benching, etc. Instead, these were dragged out through the series. And when major controversies were not present, things were made out to appear as though they were.

Robert Kraft stated in Episode 1, “I thought Drew (Bledsoe) was treated unfairly.” This was regarding Belichick naming Tom Brady the 2001 New England Patriots starting quarterback. They won the Super Bowl and went on to win five more.

In Episode 2 Walt Coleman was credited with his call of “The Tuck Rule.” Belichick’s knowledge of the rule was not mentioned.

Back-to-back Super Bowl wins and the longest winning streak in NFL history get glossed over in Episode 3. Instead, they discuss how winning brought about a feeling of relief instead of joy.

The Spygate scandal has its episode. The first 16-0 regular season team in NFL history on a revenge tour was a footnote.

When Brady is out for the 2008 season in Episode 5, we learn that Belichick is mean to players and moved on from Brady to focus on Matt Cassel, the quarterback who was actually playing for him.

Aaron Hernandez gets a featured episode (“At All Costs”). Episode 6 made it appear Belichick’s favoritism of the tight end, ignoring troublesome behavior, and not trading him when he allegedly requested a trade somehow led to Hernandez being a murderer. What?

Episode 7 features Deflategate. Bill Belichick is referenced as throwing Tom Brady under the bus multiple times. An episode featuring the greatest play in NFL history focuses on a bogus, drummed-up controversy.

Jimmy Garoppolo is drafted to kick off Episode 8. This becomes a featured story of the series.

In Episode 9 we discover Belichick likes Donald Trump, doesn’t like Alex Guerrero, and still won’t tell people why Malcolm Butler didn’t play in the Super Bowl.

In the series finale, Kraft details how Brady represented a threat to Belichick’s power and the coach didn’t want the quarterback in New England any longer. The end.

Many Positive Things Missing

This series featured the trio of Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady almost exclusively. That leaves out so much.

Brady wasn’t the only unheralded prospect to turn into a hero during the dynasty. Adam Vinatieri was an undrafted free agent. Malcolm Butler was an undrafted free agent. Julian Edelman was a Day 3 pick who played quarterback for Kent State in college. All are now part of New England Patriots and NFL lore.

Castoffs from other franchises also played a huge part in the Patriots’ success. Mike Vrabel, Wes Welker, and Rob Ninkovich, to name just a few.

Belichick also brought disgruntled starts from elsewhere to New England who elevated the team to another level. Corey Dillon. Randy Moss, and Darrelle Revis all fit this description.

And the contributions of so many great players went virtually unacknowledged. Whether it was Rodney Harrison, Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, and so many others. There were a lot of incredible players during the dynasty who seemed to not exist in the retelling of it.

Some Negatives Missing Too

Robert Kraft nearly moved the New England Patriots to Connecticut in 1998, less than five years after purchasing the team. Although Connecticut is technically part of New England and the name would not have changed, this was an incredibly big deal at the time. Matthew Hamachek and the makers of the series did not deem it worthy of being featured, however. Why not?

There were also other controversies and major events involving the New England Patriots over the years that were not included.

Bill Belichick released Lawyer Milloy, who then joined the Buffalo Bills. Marquise Hill passed away in a tragic accident. ESPN’s Tom Jackson claimed the Patriots players hated their coach. Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke and returned to play for the Patriots. All-Pro Richard Seymour was traded for a draft pick. All-Pro Chandler Jones was detained by police after bizarre behavior and was allowed to leave in free agency. Rob Gronkowski retired, only to come out of retirement to join the Buccaneers. The owner of the franchise got arrested.

Controversies and tragedies were a huge focus of this series and yet many were ignored altogether. Why?

Unnecessary Focus on Minor Players

While players like Harrison and McCourty were annoyed at how their lengthy interviews were edited, there were plenty of other former players who received way more screen time than seemed fit.

Wes Welker was a great player for the Patriots. But Welker also seems to have negative feelings for Bill Belichick, which led to frequent appearances. The same is true for Danny Amendola. Welker was also shown talking about Belichick’s treatment of Brady years after he was no longer on the team. This was not the only time such editing took place.

Donte’ Stallworth played one season for the Patriots but was shown multiple times, including commenting on events years after he was no longer a part of the team. Brandon Lloyd played one season in New England also but was a featured player in the episode about Aaron Hernandez.

Again, there was a narrative this series hoped to follow and these players were among those who helped them achieve that goal.


With all due respect to the media who were interviewed for the series, they were not needed. Several of the people are journalists I respect, so it is not a negative on them. There was just no need for them. We’ve heard what they’ve had to say for decades. There was no need to listen to them more here.

Michael Holley, Jackie MacMullan, Tom E. Curran, Bob Hohler, Nora Princiotti, and Howard Bryant were not people viewers needed to hear more from. Their views are known. I don’t blame them for participating (I would have if asked) but I don’t understand how a behind-the-scenes look at the New England Patriots dynasty featured so many people who were talking about the events throughout them unfolding. Some doubled down on their previous takes, as outlandish as they came across. Some tried to rewrite their previous takes. Even those who offered an interesting perspective (Howard Bryant) could and should have been replaced by more players and staff interviews.

Final Word on “The Dynasty”

Former New England Patriots executive Scott Pioli had the best quote of the entire series

“I look at all the success,” said Scott Pioli. “And when I hear, was it Bill? Was it Tom? It’s disrespectful. I think It’s disrespectful to every player that helped win a championship for the Patriots.”

Pioli could have added that it is disrespectful to all of the coaches, executives, support staff, and even fans as well. While he correctly points out that the amazing run of the Patriots was so much more, the series failed to convey that. There was more footage of Vladimir Putin than Troy Brown or Vince Wilfork.

The New England Patriots dynasty was an incredible ride. “The Dynasty” was an incredible disappointment.

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