Are the New England Patriots and "The Patriot Way" on the verge of collapsing into some dysfunctional mess?
There have been plenty of reports over the last eight months regarding the Patriots' supposed problems among the longstanding top tier of their hierarchy, but whatever those problems might be, it hasn't affected the team's impressive run of success.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who won a Super Bowl title with the Patriots in February 2017, believes any issues the Patriots are dealing with must be minor since it hasn't relegated them from among the NFL's elite.
"I just think any NFL team, any NFL locker room under a lot of stress over a year period, there are going to be storylines people can choose to kind of blow out of proportion or not pay attention to," Long told The Big Lead. "I think everyone's going to pay attention sometimes to really small issues. Whatever people are alluding to going on up there hasn't affected their play, it hasn't affected their bottom line. It hasn't affected how they executed on Sundays."
"It took everything for us to beat them," Long said. "It took a heroic performance by Nick Foles and we had to play our best game. So while everybody likes to always point to the Patriots as being under duress or there's some drama in the locker room, there's drama in every locker room that you could blow out of proportion. They're just on top and those stories sell because they've been so great."
There will come a time when Tom Brady will no longer play for the Patriots, Bill Belichick will no longer be their coach and the franchise won't be among the perennial favorites for the Super Bowl. That time, however, hasn't come yet.