Rock ‘n’ roll folklore holds that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles, just as Svengali Dr. Eugene Landy took Brian Wilson away from the Beach Boys.
And now here in Boston we have faux doctor Alex “Yoko” Guerrero (thank you, Greg Bedard, Boston Sports Journal) threatening the longstanding ties that bind the world champion Patriots.
I exaggerate, of course. That’s what we do here in the toy department. Still, it’s a mistake to follow the lead of the formidable New England Patriots media cartel (where most everyone either works for the team or is afraid of the team) and insist that the presence of Tom Brady’s guru Guerrero is no threat to break up the band at Gillette.
We know that Brady and Bill Belichick are not as close as they once were. We know that Brady has to be miffed that his binkie Guerrero was abruptly taken off the team airplane and sideline in the middle of this season. We have a pretty fair sense that Belichick hates it when other Patriots players reject team training methods on the advice of Guerrero. We know that Bob Kraft thinks of Brady as his fifth son and puts loyalty to Tom above everything — even if it perhaps means trading Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round draft pick over the objections of Belichick.
Patriot Place this year is like Peyton Place, without the steamy sex. It’s a place where feelings are bruised and territories are threatened and the balance of power has been tested in a season that will probably wind up with the Pats in yet another Super Bowl. It’s a place where Patriots players go to work every day. And it’s a place where Brady and Guerrero operate a storefront promoting alternative training methods.
Little of the tension from this cohabitation has reared its head on the football field this season. The AFC East already is in the bag and the Patriots are favorites to win another Super Bowl. Still playing great at age 40 — evidently impervious to all injury thanks to Yoko-Landy-Guerrero — Brady should be the league MVP.
But there are storm clouds over Gillette.
Tom is the greatest of all time. But he is increasingly vested in the power and promotion of TB12 and all things Guerrero.
Bill is the greatest coach of all time and has dictator-like power over Patriot Nation. But he did not get his way with Garoppolo back in October (no way Belichick wanted to trade the kid) and — in a move that may or may not be related — clearly doesn’t want the rest of his team under the spell of Guerrero.
It’s hard to blame Belichick on this one. Of course he wants Tom to be happy. Putting up with Guerrero has been relatively harmless until now. But now some players are saying they’d rather do what Alex says than follow the instructions of the Patriots training staff. Almost half of the Patriots players are now working out on their own time with Guerrero.
No one wants to address the pliable elephant in the room. In a Sunday Sports Hub pregame interview that triggered polygraph explosions across New England, Jonathan Kraft said, “I haven’t heard anything from the coaching staff, or Alex, about either one being upset with each other . . . I don’t know anything about that.’’
Belichick declined to discuss the issue in his WEEI interview Monday and was barely asked about it at his press conference Wednesday. When asked if there’d been any change in his relationship with Brady this year, the coach mumbled, “Well, every year is different.’’
Brady — who it should be noted threw five interceptions in the four games since this went down — came closest to admitting the truth on WEEI Monday. Asked about reports of the rift, Brady answered, “I don’t have any comment on that” (translation: “yes, there is a rift”), then launched into yet another passionate homage to Alex.
When Tom defends Alex, he always sounds like Wilson defending Landy in the 1970s.
“Gene taught me how to run and swim,’’ said the Beach Boy. “He taught me how to eat rice and chicken instead of steaks. He helped me lose 130 pounds.’’
In exchange, Landy received a quarter of Wilson’s songwriting income until he was eventually fired, sued, and stripped of his license.
Unfortunately for Brady and Guerrero, every time their relationship makes news we take another lingering look at Guerrero’s shady résumé. We are reminded that Guerrero has been spanked by federal regulators for passing himself off as a doctor (he is not). He has been sanctioned for deceptively promoting nutritional supplements. He has been investigated for practicing physical therapy without a license. The FTC shut down Guerrero’s “NeuroSafe,” a beverage endorsed by Brady that was promoted as a treatment to heal and even prevent concussions. In 2003, the FTC sanctioned Guerrero for marketing a beverage he falsely claimed could prevent or cure cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
This is the man your quarterback has chosen as his business partner and medical guru. Guerrero also is the godfather of Brady’s son.
If it works for Tom, that’s great. But Belichick is wise to put some space between the Patriots and the cult of Alex Guerrero.
We all love QB12, but Tom Brady is becoming Tom Cruise right in front of our eyes. It’s only a matter of time before he jumps on the couch with Oprah in defense of Alex Guerrero. Go back to last year’s Brady interview on WEEI about the perils of Western medicine, and last summer’s bottom-feeder appearance with Tony Robbins.
Who among us can help from holding our nose at the nonstop promotion of the TB12 Method and its message that Alex’s way is the only way and it’ll make all of you bulletproof just like Tom.
Put me down on Belichick’s side on this one. Big time.
It’ll be great if the Pats win another Super Bowl this season, but as we watch Jimmy G morphing into Aaron Rodgers on the left coast, I can only wonder if Kraft’s loyalty to Tom, and Tom’s loyalty to Alex, conspired to make things worse for the long-term health of this wildly successful franchise.