As the Patriot Way with McDaniels, Belichick, and Garoppolo fades, we understand that it was always The Brady Way.

We witnessed the NFL's answer to the Soviet Union collapse into an unavoidable end in a 24-hour period between Sunday and Monday.

On an Instagram Live session in Las Vegas, Raiders players were smoking cigars and celebrating a 30-6 win over the New York Giants,

jovially puffing smoke into a camera lens, as if the Berlin Wall had just collapsed straight over sacked head coach Josh McDaniels.

Across the country, the New England Patriots had already lost at home to the Washington Commanders earlier in the day,

and head coach Bill Belichick was getting ready for a Monday press conference that would be dominated by questions about his job security. 

Belichick would keep a stiff chin and general contempt for it all, but the conversations had the feel of a once-powerful tyrant who may be ousted at any time.

And somewhere between these two coaches, benched Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo glided softly beneath it all, signifying one final mothballed relic of a vanishing New England mentality.

This felt like the end of The Patriot Way, the best and most poorly imitated corporate doctrine in NFL history, which was now simply rusty paint.

We periodically wondered what the downfall of a joyless but extraordinarily successful philosophy might look like throughout the six titles and decades of domination. 

Now we know: It would come with one more franchisee failing; the quarterback who never replicated Tom Brady's magic surrendering; 

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