The Internal Power Struggle Between Kraft, Brady and Belichick

Is this the beginning of the end for the New England Patriots?

New England Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On Dec. 3, Tom Brady snapped at offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after a bad play during a game against the Buffalo Bills. In front of everyone on the sidelines, including head coach Bill Belichick, Brady ended the exchange by yelling, “F-ck you!” Video of the scene went viral and it showed the culmination of months of behind-the-scenes frustrations. ESPN writes that for almost 20 years, Belichick has been able to subvert the egos of his best players, his boss and himself for the good of the team, and the Patriots have become a legendary franchise. But this year, the dynamics are different, and the team just haven’t won games and titles. According to interviews with more than a dozen New England staffers, executives, players and league sources with knowledge of the team’s inner workings, Belichick, Brady, and owner Robert Kraft — the three most powerful people in the franchise — have had serious disagreements. They disagree over Brady’s trainer, over the team’s long-term plans at quarterback, over Belichick’s coaching style, and more. ESPN said that many sources described a “palpable sense in the building that this might be the last year together for this group.”

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