After what seemed like a long offseason, the dog days of training camp are finally in full swing. Preseason kicks off next week, players will be cut and before we know it, the Patriots will valiantly embark on their title defense.
Entering his 18th season as head coach, Bill Belichick will continue to stupefy the rest of the NFL. He'll look for his ninth-consecutive AFC East title (which just about seems like a gimme at this point), and his team seeks their third Super Bowl win in four seasons (which they have strong, strong odds to do).
There's no doubt to Belichick's success in New England. But according to one Redditor, it seems too be good to be true. On a thread titled "What conspiracy theory makes too much sense to be true?," user Deacon_Blues1 outlines a theory as to why Belichick is conquering the rest of the football world:
Also this one:
The Bill Belchick Theory:
Target: New York Jets
Bill Belichick does not like the New York Jets. This much you must know. The Jets originally gave him the head-coaching job in 1997, but then pulled it out from under him when they were able to pry Bill Parcells from New England, busting Belichick back to assistant. As an assistant under Parcells, Belichick's contract gave him the Jets' head-coaching job if Parcells resigned. Parcells did just that in 1999 -- unexpectedly -- so he could step into the Jets' front office ... and lock his talented assistant into the job before he had any opportunity to interview elsewhere (namely, New England). Or at least that's how I interpret the history. Now, here is where things get interesting: Belichick did not take kindly to Parcells' attempt to manipulate his career. So he humiliated the Jets. At the press conference to announce him as the new head coach of the Jets ... he quit as head coach of the Jets. Well-played. Then he took the head job with the Patriots, even though he was still under contract with the Jets. The Patriots were forced to give the Jets a first-round pick as compensation; Belichick allowed this so the Jets would think they had the upper hand. Then he waited. Baited. His first season in New England, the Patriots went 5-11. Meanwhile, the Jets -- coached by Al Groh -- were 9-7 and beat the Patriots twice by a combined score of 54-36. The trap was set. And Belichick commenced humiliating the Jets on the field. From 2001 to 2004, the Patriots finished with the best record in the AFC East every season and won three Super Bowls. Meanwhile, the Jets went a mediocre 35-29 and had three forgettable playoff exits. But something inside Belichick (a jet-black soul and a hankering for evil, perhaps) told him that was not enough, that the Jets had not suffered enough for what they had done to him. So he pulled his young defensive assistant, Eric Mangini, aside after the 2005 season and convinced him to join his plot to destroy the Jets. Only this time ... from within. This is how I imagine the conversation may have gone. Belichick: "Eric, speak with me." (Belichick says this while stroking a hairless cat in a gray hoodie and sitting in a throne in his volcano-top lair.) Mangini: "Yes, master." Belichick: "I want you to take the Jets head-coaching job and destroy them from the inside, piece by piece until there is nothing left. But to throw people off the scent, we will pretend we dislike each other. Also, your first season will be a great success. Then, the destruction will begin." Mangini: "Yes, master. Yes." They both laugh maniacally. (Although Belichick's laugh is far more maniacal.)
Target: Cleveland Browns
Here's the thing: Mangini's mission was not the first such attack on another franchise. There are so many moving parts to Belichick's scheme, and a true evil mastermind doesn't let anyone else in on the reach of the plan. Belichick's first such dispatch was in 2005 after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl. He sent Romeo Crennel -- quiet, unassuming, lumpy Romeo Crennel: the perfect Trojan horse -- to Cleveland to destroy the Browns. The Browns, the TEAM THAT HAD DARED TO FIRE BILL BELICHICK! In fact, while Belichick gave much time and attention to destroying the Jets, he hates the Browns far more. It was his dismissal in Cleveland in 1995 after five years on the job that caused that switch inside him to flip. That caused him to come over to the dark side from the darkish-gray side. You know, or at least that's the way I interpret it. Anyway, that's exactly how it went down. And Crennel destroyed the Browns as thoroughly as Belichick had asked, going 24-40 in four seasons at the helm and sometimes even losing to the Bengals. The Bengals! Well-played, again. And then, after Cleveland finally could take no more Crennel, Belichick went in with a perfectly timed finishing move: Eric Mangini. Game, set, match.
Target: Notre Dame
Do not think Belichick's revenge scheme is limited only to the professional ranks. Not at all. He can get to someone who has wronged him anywhere and at any time. This is what caused him to send Charlie Weis to destroy Notre Dame in what is perhaps Belichick's finest bit of sabotage. You see, Bill Belichick's father was a scout and coach for Navy from 1956 to 1989. Over his final 26 years at Navy, the Midshipmen didn't beat Notre Dame. Not once. Total humiliation. But then Belichick dispatches his trusted assistant Charlie Weis to South Bend and two short years later ... Navy 46, Notre Dame 44. Perfectly executed.
Target: Denver Broncos
While Belichick was executing his master plan across the country, he got too extended and let things fall apart at home. The Patriots dynasty ended. Their Waterloo? Denver, January 2006. Seeking a fourth Super Bowl title in five years, the Patriots suffered a humiliating defeat to the Broncos in the playoffs. It was over. But Belichick's thirst for revenge was not. So this year he sent Josh McDaniels out to Colorado to destroy the Broncos as payback. And the eager, young lieutenant got right to work, ridding Denver of its franchise quarterback with stunning alacrity. In fact, McDaniels is working so quickly and effectively, he is liable to tip people off to what is really going on. This is not Mangini starting strong with the Jets in 2006 as a diversion. McDaniels is going right to work. I mean, really. There might be nothing left of the Broncos by Week 1. Is McDaniels too young and inexperienced for the job? Or is Belichick just getting impatient and sloppy?
Target: Kansas City
Evidence that it might be the latter: Belichick has now dispatched his first player, Matt Cassel, to take down another franchise. As you'll recall, Cassel had not started a football game since high school before Week 2 of last season. And then he played well only against the poorest teams on New England's schedule, repeatedly getting bailed out by the likes of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. And why was it that this inexperienced, flawed quarterback got to play for such a talented team in the first place? Because Tom Brady got hurt. And what team hurt Tom Brady? Exactly. Kansas City."
Actually, if we're doing Belichick conspiracies, I would posit that since the Giants gave Belichick his first coordinator job and his first two Super Bowl rings he has a soft spot for them in whatever it is that approximates his heart. So when he came up against them in Super Bowl 42 with the chance to have the first 19-0 season in NFL history he not only told his defensive line to let Eli slip away from a sack that may have ended the game, but he got together with David Tyree before the game and told him about the play beforehand. David Tyree was born in New Jersey in 1980, only a few short miles away from Giants Stadium. Less than a year earlier Bill Belichick joined the New York Giants as a special teams coach. What I'm saying is... David Tyree is Bill Belichick's son. Why do you think Tyree never made another catch after that one? He assured his place in NFL history in exchange for never revealing his true father to the world.
BUT WE CAN GO EVEN DEEPER THAN THAT
You see, Bill Belichick is an ascended master and a true student of the game. The 2012 Super Bowl was decided ahead of time, by Belichick himself. Bill knew that this was the last ride of Ed Reed into the playoffs with the Ravens, he knew he had more time to get Brady his 4th (and 5th and 6th) so he set up the AFCCG in order for the Ravens to beat the ones who smote them the previous year, and allowed Ed to get another ring in Baltimore before they predictably parted with him. Why you ask? Because Bill Belichick LOVES Ed Reed http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/sports/football/ravens-ed-reed-draws-praise-from-patriots-bill-belichick.html. He knew that this would be their last ride, and Belichick's own team was being purged of weaknesses like locker room problem Brandon Lloyd, the ever defiant Wes Welker, and the murderous and lowly Aaron Hernandez. Bill set his own team to take one last dive, so that he might purge the weakness from their hearts and propel one of his favorite players to greatness. Everyone was in on it, including coach Harbaugh of the Ravens. In the post game handshake that eventually caused a whirlwind of criticism towards BB, he was reported to have said "finish it" to John Harbaugh. Bill knew the outcome before the coin was tossed, he allowed his team to learn from their defeat and for one of the most admired players in the league to get a ring with his team.
Silly, outlandish, and makes Belichick look like he's conquering the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros -- I like it! There's not much I enjoy more than a good conspiracy theory (other than the username, which is a fantastic tribute to a stellar Steely Dan track), and this one fits the bill. Naturally, this is Reddit we're talking about here, so it's not like it's a serious theory anyway -- it's all in jest.
Of course, there are a few holes. Belichick was only named Jets coach in 1997 to get around Parcells' contract with the Pats, and Parcells was hired in New York after then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue brokered a deal between both teams. McDaniels headed out to Denver in 2009, rather than 2006. The relationship between Belichick and Mangini isn't as cordial, it's been severed since Spygate in 2007. But why let facts get in the way of a silly theory, right?
The most plausible theory is just that Belichick is quite excellent as his job, which we can all agree on at this point. If nothing else, a story like what u/Deacon_Blues presents is damn good storytelling. Stay woke, my friends!