No Longer the Wizards Of Oz: Why the New England Patriots Suddenly Look Ordinary

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IDecember 12, 2009

All the talk lately has been about the state of the New England Patriots, which have struggled in the latter half of the season.

The Patriots have lost to the Saints, Colts, and division rival Dolphins.  The Colts and Saints are undefeated, so those losses are understandable, while the Dolphins only squeaked out a win, thus the media and fans have declared that the sky is falling.

The Patriots decided to plan ahead after Tedy Bruschi retired and clean house of its veterans, so that younger defensive players are compelled to eventually develop into leaders, such as Jerod Mayo, Brandon Meriweather, and Vince Wilfork.

None of whom has done so, while one of the most veteran defensive players on the team, Adalius Thomas, has shot back at the tactics of coach Belichick to keep everyone under his thumb.

Unlike years past though, in which we were force fed the idea that the Patriots locker room is filled with rainbows, sunshine, magic frogs with funny little hats and that a troll kept watch for the gates to Oz at the end of a yellow brick road to the NFL promised land.

Instead, the Patriots locker room is in revolt.  Had the Patriots been named the "Raiders" Thomas would be named Charles Woodson, and ESPN would have already declared an insurrection a-brewing in Beantown.

Belichick, however, is not the "Dumbest Coach in America" as was Bill Callahan in 2003.

Some have questioned whether this is the beginning of the end for the Patriots from perennial contention.  Maybe so.  Tom Brady has been banged-up, and has not been the "Tom Terrific" that has led 28 fourth quarter comebacks. 

Instead, the Patriots have buckled under in crunch time, and have been unable to orchestrate the gutsy plays we have come to expect from the Patriots.

People point to the defense, but more importantly, Brady has "willed" the Patriots back in years past, even when the defense struggled, but that has not been the case.

And the question is, why?  Is it age, the injuries, no more Spygate, or that his teammates like Randy Moss have given up?

Probably a combination of all of the above, which is the complete opposite of what we've been force fed to believe in years past.  Even though the defense is rebuilding, I do believe that these times are not ordinary for the Patriots, because it is evident to me that the Patriots have been unlike the team that stayed "cool" under pressure.

We have learned that behind the smoke and mirrors of the Patriots legacy, is really just a group of mostly the ordinary that somehow were able to ride a gravy train since 2001 that has come to a sudden and abrupt stop.

In other words, we are now seeing the truth that has always been the truth.