Remember the ESPN bombshell story about feuding at the top of the New England Patriots?
Remember all of the concerns that the acrimony between owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady would derail the Patriots’ efforts to win back-to-back Super Bowls?
‘Just going to ignore the noise’
All of that seemed like a distant memory after the Pats took care of business with last Saturday night’s 35-14 divisional-round playoff pounding of the Tennessee Titans that caused them to advance to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s fair to say that the players gave a collective shrug to the so-called distractions and simply played football.
“Just going to ignore the noise, keep on working inside the building,” tight end Rob Gronkowski told Zig Fracassi and Geoff Schwartz on Late Hits. “Every time we come in, we’re just trying to get better. Work as a team, get the chemistry down and I think it showed (Saturday night). Everyone played well together, defense played well, offense. Everyone was making plays, so it was a great game overall.”
‘Whatever’s put out there, you can’t control that’
And it really shouldn’t have come as a shock. The Patriots have dealt with controversy before. Once again, they simply prevented it from becoming the big deal on the inside that it was on the outside.
“It’s the same thing we do every single week,” Gronkowski said. “We’re just trying to prepare as best as possible for our opponent. We’re coming into the building to get work done, to get better, if it’s in meetings or if it’s out on the field. But whatever’s put out there, you can’t control that. You can only control what you can control.”