Former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli doesn’t expect the Patriots to fall far in 2020.
Perhaps the single biggest storyline for the National Football League’s 2020 season is how the league’s greatest-ever dynasty is going to look when the most heralded quarterback of all time is separated from arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history.
For Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, their days of ruling the NFL together are over since Brady took his talents to South… well, Tampa Bay to play for the Buccaneers. Now Belichick is going to try to extend his legacy with a new face under center—likely Jarrett Stidham—while Brady hopes for similar results with Bruce Arians as his coach.
Most NFL analysts remain believers in Belichick to keep the Patriots competitive but their days as contenders for the Lombardi Trophy alongside the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs is really not a strong consideration at this point. Yet former Patriots executive (and former Chiefs general manager) Scott Pioli recently warned against doubting his former employer too quickly.
In a recent interview on Sky Sports podcast In The Huddle, Pioli talked about the transition currently under way in Foxborough. His belief: the change is real but the drop-off will not be steep.
"“I certainly don’t expect a significant or dramatic drop off. I’ve heard what some other people are saying, some people are just saying it because they want to be heard and want something bombastic to say … Is it going to be different? Absolutely it’s going to be different. But I don’t believe it’s going to be as significant a drop off as some people are saying.”"
Some media outlets have the Patriots falling back to the middle of the pack, a fringe playoff contender who could benefit from the league adding a new postseason spot in each conference (for a total of seven from each). At ESPN’s power rankings, the Patriots are currently at No. 15 in the offseason, the same place they occupy at the NFL’s official site. However, the doubters aren’t hard to find. Bleacher Report has the Patriots at No. 20 overall, while Peter King ranked them at No. 21 in his most recent power rankings.
One year from now it could seem really weird to see the Patriots picking in the top 10 of an NFL draft, but by that point, it would be just another oddity to see in a year that should be filled with them. When Brady takes a snap in a Bucs uniform or when Belichick sends out Stidham for the first time, it will usher in a new reality for the NFL.
The pecking order at the top has officially changed. The Chiefs aren’t just defending Super Bowl champs, but the long-standing dynasty that has defined the NFL for nearly two decades has crumbled. In that space is room for a new one to emerge.