You know the old saw.
One of the people in the relationship wants it to continue. Maybe they offer to change; maybe they demand an explanation. The person who ended it comes back with, "It's not you, it's me." Simple, effective and impossible to rebut. Things simply aren't working out, and one person has decided to make a change; it's all about what they need.
When the New England Patriots traded Randy Moss last week, I found myself coming back to one theme over and over. I kept telling friends and relatives—really, anyone who'd stand still for two minutes—that Bill Belichick had botched another relationship.
"He's started to believe his own press," I said. "He thinks he wins games, and not the players."
In other words, it's not them, it's him.
Too harsh? Well, yes, probably. Some of the greatest personnel evaluators of all time got there by being willing to discard aging, overpaid, or unhappy veterans and trust their gut when it comes to young talent. Branch Rickey used to do it all the time. Bill Belichick won three Super Bowls by doing it better than anyone.
But my goodness, he sure has had The Talk with a lot of solid veterans over the years, hasn't he? Doesn't there come a time when too many survivors have been thrown out of the lifeboat and the one guy who's left is rowing all by himself? As another cliche goes, "The one constant in all your failed relationships is you."
Well, you and the NFL salary cap. Here's a quick review of some of the more significant relationships Belichick and the Patriots have terminated over the years.