The Media Column: Boston Herald’s Patriots exposé is the latest example of backstabbing in Foxborough


Why is Tony Romo so bad now?

Bill Belichick loathes to provide information to reporters at the podium or in press releases. But that doesn’t mean the public is in the dark about the inner-workings of the Patriots.

If fans want some intel, they just have to wait for the latest exposé to drop. Despite Belichick’s austerity, the Patriots are always leaking.

The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian co-wrote the latest piece exploring the disorder around Gillette Stadium: “Inside the most dysfunctional Patriots season under Bill Belichick.” In it, several sources “inside and around” the organization blast Matt Patricia and Joe Judge for their woeful performances last year, and rip into Belichick for putting them on staff in the first place.

“I love coach [Belichick], but he f— us,” said a source.

In terms of revelations, the Herald piece ranks up there with Seth Wickersham’s earth-shattering investigation into Tom Brady and Belichick’s then-faltering relationship: “For Kraft, Brady and Belichick, is this the beginning of the end?

Criticized at the time, Wickersham shed light on the swath of disagreements between Brady and Belichick, from Alex Guerrero’s persistent presence in the locker room to Brady’s issues with Belichick cutting him down in film sessions.

That explosive story was a prelude to Wickersham’s tell-all book about the Patriots’ dynasty, “It’s Better to Be Feared.” The book contains multiple bombshells: Belichick’s clandestine friendship with Roger Goodell; Robert Kraft calling Belichick the biggest ‘f— a—hole in his life,;’ Belichick’s unwillingness to meet with Brady when he signed with Tampa Bay.

The Patriots have publicly pushed back against Wickersham’s reporting. In response to Wickersham’s 2018 article, they issued a joint statement with Kraft, Belichick and Brady calling the media reports about their apparent rift “unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated, or flat out inaccurate.”

Of course, Wickersham was right about everything. Brady’s final days in New England were turbulent.

Shortly after Wickersham’s book was released in September 2021, Belichick said he’s never spoken to the long-time reporter, despite public record to the contrary.

We’ll see if the Patriots issue any denials about the Herald story. It’s apparent at least some of the sources quoted are part of Mac Jones’ camp. The sources eviscerate Patricia for his conservative play-calling and failure to streamline the offense, while Judge is painted as an arrogant know-nothing.

One source says Jones didn't like Judge "at all."

Anybody who watched the Patriots last season could sense Jones’ frustration with the offense. He lashed out at the coaching staff on multiple occasions in primetime, yelling expletives about the play calling and overall operation.

Around that time, reports started trickling out about Jones behavior. NBC’s Chris Simms, who worked in the Patriots organization for a brief period, said Jones irked Belichick by complaining about his situation to confidants outside of the organization.

In a recent interview with WEEI, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran theorized that Judge and Patricia could’ve been behind those stories.

“If you look at this situation, someone is telling Chris Simms, ‘Yeah, Mac acts out. Mac is driving us crazy. He might show us up when the television cameras are rolling, but he can be a real pain in the ass. Bill has just about had it,’” he said. “To me, that is part of what the New England Patriots have become about lately. They’ve always been that way to a degree — very Machiavellian, protecting your own territory, saving face, getting your narrative out there as quickly as possible.”

Well, the narrative is now out there in stark terms: Patricia and Judge were disasters last season. Stay tuned for the next batch of palace intrigue.

It can’t be far away.


Fox' all-male NFL studio show is insulting

What’s wrong with Romo?: Tony Romo’s rough NFL postseason continued last week, as he struggled his way through the Bengals’ convincing Divisional Round win over the Bills. His inanity is quite the contrast to his first couple of seasons in the booth, when he regularly predicted plays and seemed to know exactly what was coming.

In the 2019 AFC Championship between the Patriots and Chiefs, Romo kept calling Brady’s shot, accurately predicting when he would target an open Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski during New England’s come-from-behind win.

It was brilliant broadcasting, on par with Greg Olsen’s stellar performance during Cowboys-49ers.

So what changed? One possibility is that Romo, who now earns $18 million annually from CBS, isn’t putting in the work. As a recently retired quarterback, he possessed first-hand knowledge of the defenses, coaches and players he was seeing each week back in 2017 and 2018. Now seven years removed from his playing career, that’s no longer the case.

If Romo wants to be on top of the action, he must study.

It doesn’t seem like that’s happening.

Fox’ all-male NFL studio show: Fox was criticized over the weekend for its all-male NFL studio show. Their analyst lineup consists entirely of ex-coaches and players, who engage in little besides grab ass.

On this week’s “Sports Media Mayhem” podcast, I spoke with NFL writer Kate Magdziuk, who correctly points out that Fox isn’t just failing to represent 47-percent of the NFL’s fanbase with its all-male lineup. They’re also not picking the best people for the job.

Under no circumstances could Rob Gronkowski, who’s woefully inarticulate in a studio setting, be the best choice to sit at the analyst desk. But Gronk has the football resume, and he’s macho.

Apparently, those are all of the qualifications one needs.

Damar Hamlin conspiracies are grotesque: We keep going lower. This week, outrageous Damar Hamlin conspiracies have been amplified on Twitter, with scores of anti-vaxxers claiming he wasn’t actually at Highmark Stadium Sunday for Bengals-Bills.

They think he died from the Covid vaccine, and the NFL and Pfizer are covering it up.


Of course, there’s plenty of proof that Hamlin is alive, beginning with clear photos of his face.

Elon Musk’s Twitter keeps getting more fun, huh?

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports