Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater among former Patriots unhappy with ‘The Dynasty’s’ portrayal of Bill Belichick

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The docuseries “The Dynasty” was proclaimed at its release to be an in-depth look at the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2002 as the team won six Super Bowls, was chased by controversies and was spearheaded by a complicated relationship between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

But it’s Belichick’s portrayal throughout the series that has drawn the most critique from those who spent time around him. Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater, cornerstone leaders on the Patriots’ three most recent Super Bowl teams, took umbrage with how their comments were used to paint an anti-Belichick picture.

On Edelman’s podcast, “Games With Names,” Slater said he wants people to see that there were multiple sides of Belichick’s coaching style, not just the demanding presence emphasized in the series.

“It’s tough because I feel like he’s being portrayed in a certain light. And we’re painting a picture, but we’re only showing people part of the picture,” Slater said.

“With coach, it’s very complex. And there are things that, you know, were tough, and I’m sure we all feel like, ‘Hey, maybe we wish we had done things this way.’ But let’s make sure none of us forget the fact that the dynasty is not even being talked about without Bill Belichick. And the things that he did were with intentionality and purpose, and I think he got the best out of all of us.”

Edelman, the Patriots’ Super Bowl MVP in 2019, echoed that Belichick’s tough love style was what the team needed and the coach’s demanding preparation tactics set them up for a chance to win any game they played.

The legendary slot receiver also took issue with comments made in the docuseries by Wes Welker, the Patriots’ former slot receiver who Edelman eventually replaced. Edelman accused Welker of fabricating stories regarding Belichick’s lack of punishment for Aaron Hernandez’s antics in practice.

While the series skipped over entire Super Bowl runs by the team, it spent an entire episode covering Hernandez’s troubles as the former tight end was cut after being charged with murder. He was convicted two years later and sentenced to life in prison, where he died by suicide in 2017.

“Welker’s out here saying like Aaron Hernandez got away with murder, figuratively speaking, at practice, that’s not even true,” Edelman said on the podcast. “Welker painted the picture (Hernandez) was like the king, like he got to do anything. I remember Bill motherf—— Aaron all the time. Come on, Welk. Trying to make up stories. We know you don’t like Bill.”

Slater’s and Edelman’s frustrations align with recent comments made by team owner Robert Kraft and fellow Super Bowl champions Devin McCourty and Rodney Harrison.

In a recorded conversation posted by NBC Sports, McCourty told Harrison he felt “duped” by how few of his positive sentiments were used in the series, and instead “they only hit anything that was negative.”

“I watched and I was just like, man, only things I said that could come across as negative to Bill was the only thing (used),” McCourty said. “I had different kinds of quick sentences on things, but the longest thing I talked about was 2016 with Trump … and I thought that was probably the worst part. That everything that we all gave to the 20 years that it encompassed, they only hit anything that was negative.”

Harrison added that he stopped watching early in the series after many of the storylines he thought were important were excluded.

“I interviewed for five or six hours I was in New York, and all they had me saying was, ‘(Bleep) ‘em all. (Bleep) ‘em all.’ Like, that’s it” Harrison said. “That’s all I saw myself say. Like, I have a lot of input into Tom and how these guys treated me and the things that happened that led to me signing here. That was a big deal … I wasn’t a big fan of it.”

The series’ final two episodes were released on March 15 and focused on the crumbling final years of the Patriots’ two-decade run and some of Belichick’s questionable personnel decisions.

Kraft said he was disappointed by the negative emphasis and the hours of interviews that were discarded. But when asked about Belichick’s portrayal, the owner avoided addressing the series content directly.

“Yeah well look, I’ll state this clearly: I feel so privileged that we had Bill here and, you know, we hope when he’s finished that we’re gonna have a chance to honor him the way we will do with Tom Brady this year,” Kraft said. “You know, we did this little ceremony at halftime of the Eagles game, but it was not adequate. And we look forward to being able to celebrate putting him into the Patriots Hall of Fame, 6-12-24. And I look forward to the privilege of putting Bill into the Patriots Hall of Fame one day in the future.”

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(Photo: Kevin Sabitus / Getty Images)

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