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Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

‘The Dynasty: New England Patriots’ immortalizes the Pats’ glory days

Courtesy+of+Shannon+Foley
Courtesy of Shannon Foley

If you’re a devastated New England Patriots fan lamenting the team’s glory days, especially after Head Coach Bill Belichick’s departure, get ready to immerse yourself in Apple TV+’s “The Dynasty: New England Patriots.” You’ll be blinded by nostalgia throughout the 10-part documentary series.

Director Matthew Hamachek’s “The Dynasty” takes a deeper look into the inner workings of the first NFL dynasty of the 21st century from 2000 to 2020. The series highlights the Pats’ triumphant rise, turmoil along the way, and devastating fall, heavily relating to quarterback Tom Brady, owner Robert Kraft, and Belichick. 

The first two episodes of “The Dynasty”—released on Feb. 16—are exclusively available on Apple TV+, and two new episodes will debut every Friday for the next four weeks.

If any sports team deserves a series spanning 10 episodes, it’s the Patriots. With six Super Bowl wins, multiple cheating scandals, internal strife, and overall secrecy, it’s no wonder Hamachek chose to televise the Brady-Belichick era.

However, creating a compelling sports documentary is no easy feat. We’ve entered a new age of sports documentaries. The 2020 release of “The Last Dance,” focusing on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, changed the trajectory of the sports documentary landscape, which has led to an onslaught of sports stories. As a result, it’s become harder for sports documentaries to set themselves apart, but “The Dynasty,” thus far, has succeeded.

A couple of things stand out to me when it comes to watching a good sports documentary. One is never-before-seen footage, and within the first two episodes, “The Dynasty” doesn’t skimp. Tuning in for the old camcorder footage of Brady drunk while playing pool alone is worthwhile.

Something else that stands out is the interviews with Belichick, Kraft, Brady, and several other players. Under Belichick, the Patriots were one of the most secretive teams in the NFL, so to hear accounts from the most prominent figures involved in the dynasty is a pleasant surprise.

Episode 1: “Backup Plan” kicks off with a montage showcasing exhilarating wins and celebrations, tense locker room moments, and scandals. After setting the stage, the episode begins by praising Drew Bledsoe, the All-American quarterback who served as a beacon of hope for a bleak Patriots team in 2000. After suffering from a near-fatal injury during a game against the New York Jets on Sep. 23, 2001, the Patriots needed a “Backup Plan.” Enter Brady, their fourth-string quarterback.

Brady wasn’t the GOAT just yet. He hadn’t made a name for himself, and his teammates described him as a “nobody.” 

The first episode does a great job of describing the series of events that led to Brady’s uprising. The episode features interviews from Brady, his former teammates, Kraft, and Belichick as they reflect on how the team recovered and improved from Bledsoe’s absence, and how the team moved forward when he returned.  

The interviews are authentic and uncensored, bluntly illustrating everyone’s personalities, especially the back-and-forth between cornerback Ty Law and Brady, in which Law claimed that Brady owed him 150,000 dollars. Brady immediately exclaims that he’s “full of shit.”

Episode 2: “The Snow Bowl” focuses on Brady’s origin story and the titular Snow Bowl, the snowy and controversial January 2002 AFC Divisional Playoff game vs. the Oakland Raiders.

The episode starts with footage of the 2000 NFL Draft, followed by accounts from Brady and his family members as they describe their feelings while watching the Draft. Alongside, there is footage of the Patriots’ draft room and an interview from Scott Piolo, Vice President of Player Personnel, explaining that the Patriots weren’t seeking a quarterback that year, but they finally picked Brady in the sixth round.

Within the first couple of minutes of Episode 2, you become immersed in the Draft, from following the journey through Brady and his family’s words to then entering the room where it happened.

The second half of episode 2 retells the story of the Snow Bowl, something that many Patriots fans know all too well. However, the presentation of the event encapsulated the importance of this big game, and how it ignited a new era for the Patriots, who went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

Down 13-3 in the fourth quarter, the Patriots were doomed. With the season on the line, Brady’s efforts brought the score to 13-10 with seven minutes and 57 seconds remaining. In the final two minutes, Brady was thought to have fumbled, though the officials ruled that he didn’t. 

Two decades later, Brady expressed another notable quote: “It felt like a fumble to me, and it looked like a fumble to basically anyone else. Except that’s not the way the rule was written. So, we didn’t write the fucking rule!”

Placekicker Adam Vinatieri was able to force the game into overtime with a 45-yard field goal and secured the win with a 23-yard field goal to send the Patriots to the AFC Championship Game.

“Thank God for Adam Vinatieri,” Law expressed. “They should bronze his damn foot … put Adam Vinatieri’s foot on top of your damn car, like it’s a Rolls-Royce.”

Episode 2 ends on a cliffhanger, showing Brady getting injured in Pittsburgh during the AFC Championship Game.

There is still a lot of ground to cover in the next eight episodes. After the events that the documentary covers in the first two segments, the Pats made 13 conference championship games and nine Super Bowls, along with Brady’s growing stardom and conflicts with Belichick. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the series plays out.

Within the first two episodes, “The Dynasty” takes you on the road to the Patriots’ greatness, showing you the good, the bad, and the ugly. While the initial episodes don’t delve into the more gruesome parts of the team’s history, viewers should be prepared to witness darker events in the coming weeks like Spygate, Deflategate, and the murder conviction of Aaron Hernandez. Episodes 3 and 4 will be available on Feb. 23.

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About the Contributor
Rumsha Siddiqui, Sports Editor
Rumsha Siddiqui (she/her) is a journalism major from upstate New York. She currently serves as the Sports Editor and previously served as Staff Writer and Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. Rumsha is passionate about writing about the Boston Celtics and offering commentary and criticism on film, television, and music.

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