One of the points that has been made a lot over the last few weeks with Tom Brady is how he covered a multitude of weaknesses that the Patriots had as a team and as an organization.
In addition to not having to fill the QB position for two decades when you have the single best Quarterback in the history of the game and said quarterback’s primary skills are not dependent on extraordinary physical attributes and thus less subject to physical decline over the years you find wonderful things happening.
First your defense is not on the field as much as said player is not giving up the ball due to mistakes, so if you have a player who still has juice in the 4th quarter who might not have had it otherwise while the opposite is taking place for your opponents.
Furthermore with an extraordinary QB your receivers are upgraded. A poor receiver might appear merely just below average, an average receiver good, a good receiver great (Amendola) a great receiver (Edelman) spectacular and spectacular receiver ungodly (think Randy Moss).
Moreover a player who might need an extra year to develop might put up good enough numbers to stay in the lineup to improve with the best of all time throwing to him as well.
Bill Belichick had all these advantages for two decades but now look what happens when you no longer have the wiggle room that having Tom Brady.
Suddenly your defense is on a field a lot more meaning the fellow who seemed to have plenty of wind at the end of the game the previous season doesn’t have it anymore while the other side is more rested than they once were.
Suddenly your receivers find that they have to run a little faster or reach a little farther to catch a pass that might have been right in their hands before and those defending them realize that they have an extra step or two to cover them.
In short every single one of your players who can’t up their game find that what was good enough to win games or get by before just isn’t good enough anymore.
And that brings us to Donald Trump.
The Donald Trump years were extraordinary in terms of growth, in terms of unemployment and in terms of success for ordinary Americans and American business. Getting out of the way of the people who make the country work meant that people thrived and all of that meant tax revenues pouring into the states.
That meant that if you had a state that was already well managed it will not only thrive it will roar.
But it also meant that if you had a state that was not well managed, say one that decided to push a $15 minimum wage, or had huge union contracts or a pension plan out of control or a set of rules that made it harder for people do business the costs of those bad decision were hidden by the prosperity generated by the Trump boom. The warehouse that might have moved to a different state was bringing in enough that it could absolve the costs you imposed on it. The tax burden that you put on individual citizens might be a pain but because that good job was still there they can hold out. The pension bubble that might be ready to burst can hold on just a bit longer. The charity that services the poor not only has fewer poor to service but more people with extra money kicking in to keep it afloat.
And even the most easily agitated or angry might be just comfortable enough to keep the pot from boiling over.
But what happens when for whatever reason the Trump boom ends.
Well if you have a state that is well run and well managed that took advantage of the boom of the Trump years they might be in a position to ride it out.
But if you have a state that has undermines business, that rewarded idleness or the connected. That made decisions based on a quick or easy political reward or punished those who produced, guess what happens.
Suddenly there isn’t the tax revenue to cover all those costs, all those pensions all those social problems and more importantly the business that decided they could handle all those additional burdens you had put on them decides that the costs involved in relocating to a more welcoming state aren’t all that prohibitive, particularly when those states, also seeing less revenue decide to roll out the carpet to make up for their own losses.
Thanks to the fecklessness of the legislatures of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York California, Illinois, Colorado and Washington are facing the end of the Trump boom four years earlier than expected, just like Patriots fans are dealing with the end of the Brady Era two to three years before its time.
Fortunately for the Patriots Bill Belichick being a competent coach is capable of raising his game enough over the next three years to soften the blow. He may or may not manage to do it but there is a chance that the Patriots while unlikely to rise to the level of the Brady years can one again become an above .500 playoff team.
Given their history and the competence level of management of those blue states I suspect they won’t be so fortunate.