FOXBORO — When the Patriots punched in for work Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, there was no talk of Tom Brady’s relationship with Bill Belichick, or Belichick’s relationship with Robert Kraft, or Kraft’s relationship with Brady, or Brady’s relationship with . . . well, you get the idea.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Patriots over the years, there’s yet to be an off-the-field distraction that can afford a ticket to get inside Gillette Stadium on game day. And so it was for the divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.
Not a word about the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. Nothing about Alex Guerrero. No questions about Brady’s birth certificate.
It was all about the football. It was the Pats, 13-3 during the regular season, taking on a Tennessee outfit that went a pedestrian 9-7 during the regular season and then made it to Foxboro on the strength of a 22-21 comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs during wild card weekend.
Pity the poor Titans. They don’t have much shared history with the Pats beyond a Jan. 10, 2004, divisional showdown at frigid Gillette Stadium (New England won 17-14), so there aren’t a lot of old scores to settle. And, anyway, with all the backstage drama going on with the Pats, who had time to talk about the Titans?
But know this, Pats fans: While your favorite football team is able to block out the distractions, ignore the noise, not listen to the talk shows, etc,. there will be, must be, a day of reckoning when this is all over.
OK, so maybe “day of reckoning” is too strong. Then again, maybe not. An interesting item appeared on Twitter Saturday that suggests there really is something to all this Brady-Belichick-Kraft drama. Ian Rapoport, who writes for NFL.com and tweets under the handle @RapSheet, had this to say about the ongoing soap opera: “The #Patriots triumvirate plans to meet after the season to relieve the tension and hash out their issues.”
Hmmm. Tension? Hash out the issues? What issues?
In case you’ve forgotten, on Friday, Jan. 5, the Patriots released this joint statement from Kraft, Belichick and Brady:
“For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship. In recent days, there have been multiple media reports that have speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat out inaccurate. The three of us share a common goal. We look forward to the enormous challenge of competing in…