Five days after the Patriots’ season came to an end, Felger and Mazz welcomed superfan/comedian/blogger Jerry Thornton from Barstool Sports to the program.
Despite the sadness that always comes with the end of a season, Thornton said this year wasn’t quite as painful as others. Well, except for one thing.
“The worst part of it for me is that the conversation has suddenly shifted to ‘Now Peyton Manning is Mr. Clutch,’ and you know how much I hate the big thumb-headed goober,” Thornton said. “And ‘Tom Brady is now a disappointment, a shell of himself, and he’s now a big choke artist.’ That’s the thing that’s really hard for me to deal with right now.”
Though the Patriots ultimately fell short, Thornton said Bill Belichick’s strategy of building depth proved to salvage the season amid a series of would-be devastating injuries.
“If anything, this year validated to me their approach,” Thornton said. “When Belichick first arrived, the first thing he said that this team needed was to improve their depth. Now this is before I knew what I had in this man, before I knew he was the Messiah, and I thought he was out of his cotton-picking mind. I mean, this was a team that had gone from the Super Bowl to eight wins in like three years.
“But this validates his approach to me, I think. They lost all this talent, they lost all this money off the cap, they lost all these Pro Bowl seasons collectively out of their guys, and they still made it to the final four. I think that speaks to the fact that they build this team around a strong middle class. They don’t throw a ton of money at a handful of guys and the rest of the roster is garbage.”
Thornton also said he heard on good authority, technically off the record, that the team had lower expectations heading into this year.
“This was the youngest team they’ve had by far in the Belichick era. I think it was the youngest defense by a full year. And I think this was as close to a rebuild as they have in Foxboro, and even with all those injuries, they put themselves in a position [to reach the Super Bowl].”
Thornton also predicts a bright future for Tom Brady — scratch that, President Brady.