June 21, 2024


It is unprecedented to see the New England Patriots come into Thursday night’s contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 2-10 record and owning the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. 

From 2001-2022, Patriots future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick owned just one season under .500. It came in 2020 when the Patriots finished 7-9. This, however, is a completely different story, but it is one that some believe would not last long given Belichick’s track history.

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Bill Belichick walks off the field

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks off the field after losing to the Los Angeles Chargers 6-0 at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 3, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Former Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Tasker believes that something more is going on in New England. 

“We lived through 20 years of it here, where everything that happened seemed to work out for them,” Tasker said on OutKick’s “Hot Mic.” “Certainly with Brady, little did we know how far it was going to fall without Tom Brady.

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“We in Buffalo and western New York and the AFC East, the Jets and the Dolphins, we all have this dark specter thought about what it’s like in New England and what’s going on up there. The conspiracy theories fly everywhere, so you have a hard time going around that and saying, ‘Yeah, this is all constructed, and they’re going to stink this year, they’re going to get one of the top three quarterbacks and go right back to the top with Bill Belichick.’”

“Who knows if that’s the case, but certainly the record speaks to a tank.”

Tasker, who played 12 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Bills from 1986-1997, has the same mindset of others that have been beaten down by the Patriots over the years. Belichick and Brady owned the AFC, let alone the AFC East, for well over a decade. 

Brady’s departure has led New England to bring in Mac Jones as their hopeful next franchise quarterback. However, that has not worked out, as he has struggled this season and got benched for his backup, Bailey Zappe. 

Steve Tasker close-up

CBS broadcaster and former Buffalo Bills player Steve Tasker walks on the field before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders at New Era Field on Oct. 29, 2017 in Orchard Park, New York. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

All signs point to the Patriots, then, taking a quarterback if they remain high in the draft. USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. are just some of the top-rated quarterbacks who are expected to be considered high in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

Of course, tanking is something that is frowned upon by the league, making Tasker’s claim a big one. However, considering Belichick’s coaching history, this putrid season is one that makes Patriots enemies think hard about what the future might hold with a better quarterback in place. 

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For one, the Patriots’ defense has been a solid group with good, young players that have produced despite the team’s record. 

Is a consistent, young quarterback what this team needs to get back to greatness? 

It is a tough division to play in with Josh Allen and the Bills, Aaron Rodgers and the Jets, Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins all expected to be under center next season. 

Steve Tasker looks on field pregame

CBS broadcaster and former Buffalo Bills player Steve Tasker walks on the field before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders at New Era Field on Oct. 29, 2017 in Orchard Park, New York. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

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However, if the Super Bowl rings say anything, it is that the Patriots are a winning franchise that hates losing, especially under Belichick, and losing is not what they want to do moving forward.



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