The end of an era? With Tom Brady gone, some Patriots fans want Belichick gone, too: NPR

Belichick led the Patriots to a record-breaking six Super Bowls, but since star quarterback Tom Brady left the team, their record has been mediocre at best. Some Patriots fans want changes.

Host Juana Summers:

Bill Belichick is treading on thin ice in New England. The Patriots head coach led the team to a record-breaking six Super Bowl championships. But since star quarterback Tom Brady left the team, their record has been mediocre at best. Fans are tired of losses and looking for change. That’s Ozzy Ahmed, general manager of the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse sports bar in Brookline, Massachusetts.

OZZY AHMED: They’ve almost given up hope. Yes. They just – you know, at the end of the day they’re still fans, but just complaining and it doesn’t feel good.

SOMMERS: Yahoo Sports’ Shalise Manza Young has covered the New England Patriots for nearly a decade, through their highs and lows, and now she joins me. welcome.

Shalys Manza Young: Thank you, Juana.

Summers: I want to start by talking about Belichick’s role with the Patriots right now. Sure, he’s the head coach, but there’s more to it, right?

YOUNG MAN: Oh, yes. He’s been the head coach and essentially their general manager, which means he has the final say on all personnel changes – contracts, drafting players, etc. So, you know, he’s been with the team for over 20 years. There really isn’t a part of the Patriots football side that he doesn’t reach deep into. You know, the de facto general manager or his right-hand man on the personnel side is the son of a long-time coaching colleague of his from years ago, when he was with the New York Giants. Both of his sons are on the coaching staff. A lot of coaches and front office staff, they’ve never worked anywhere but him. In fact, the entire football organization was built by Bill Belichick.

Summers: I mean, culturally speaking, is it fair to say that Belichick doesn’t have a lot of people around him to stop his impulses other than his boss?

Yang: I think it’s fair at the moment. Early on, when he first came to the Patriots, he brought in people who had coached elsewhere, coached in other organizations, you know, seen how other people did things. And now most of his people only know his way. I don’t know – you know, would his sons actually rebel against him? You know, is there really any resistance to a guy who’s never worked anywhere else and really wants to work his way up in the NFL? I don’t know that there’s a lot of people that are going to really stand up against him when it comes to some of the decisions that are being made.

Summers: I mean, looking at the calendar, the Patriots’ upcoming schedule is not going to be easy. They are looking at making a not-so-great franchise history as they lose the most games in a season. Does this seem like the direction they’re going, or do you think they might find a way to break this curse?

Yang: No. I mean, I actually wrote a few weeks ago that their game against the Giants last weekend was probably the only game left on their schedule and you’d say, oh, they’re going to win that game. They lost that game. So I – we can think about 2 and 15.

Summers: I mean, I’m thinking about the Boston sports fans in my life. I know this is a city and region that loves its sports teams and loves its culture. What was the breaking point for fans? How long will the city have to endure this?

Young: You know, if you’re a 28-something Patriots fan, you just remember them being amazing. So, you know, I think a lot of fans are done. There are still a lot of people who have been saying, we’ve trusted Bill for the past 20 years, and they’re still trying to hold on to that. But this is year three after Tom Brady. So I think a lot of fans are done. I also – you know, trying to be as impartial as possible, there’s really nothing wrong with bringing new blood to the Patriots, so to speak. The thing is because Bill’s fingerprints are all over everything, this is going to be a complete interior renovation, you know, even down to the studs. If they make this decision, they’re going to have to be patient because it’s going to take a little while to rebuild.

SOMMERS: Shalise Manza Young is a sports columnist for Yahoo Sports. Thanks.

Young man: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF DJ TURN UP’S “Forbidden Fruit”)

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