Philadelphia columnist writes hottest Patriots take about Aaron Hernandez

We’ve officially reached the point in the Super Bowl coverage where we’ve run out of topics to discuss, because one Philadelphia columnist really reached to snag this hot take from the fiery depths of hell.

If Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Brookover was looking to stir the pot, he sure succeeded, because his latest column headlined, “Maybe it’s no coincidence that Aaron Hernandez tragedy happened to Patriots,” certainly has folks stewing. There are so many things wrong with that premise — not the least of which is the fact that the Aaron Hernandez tragedy didn’t happen to the Patriots.

It happened to Odin Lloyd and maybe more murder victims of the former New England tight end.

Who was Aaron Hernandez? Violent timeline shows fall of NFL player's stardom
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Who was Aaron Hernandez? Violent timeline shows fall of NFL player's stardom

College years: 2007-2010

After an impressive high school football career, Hernandez was recruited to the University of Florida, where he would become one the Gators' star players on the football team while also he playing alongside Tim Tebow.

During this time, however, Hernandez was rumored to have several run-ins with the law, including use of marijuana, fighting in bars, and would later become a person of interest in shooting case in 2007.


Hernandez was drafted by the New England Patriots and became the youngest player in the league in 2010.

The following year he would make his first Super Bowl appearance in 2011.


Police were called to his home in Hermosa Beach after reports of domestic abuse and an alleged fight between him and his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins.

No arrests were reported.


Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, in June. He would immediately be cut by the Patriots and indicted by a grand jury in August of 2013.


While behind bars, Hernandez faced accusations of threatening to kill a jail guard.

He would later receive a write up over the incident. 


Hernandez was convicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd in April, and was later reported to have been found with a shank while in prison.


Hernandez was acquitted of the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in April

He committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell on April 19, 2017.


But maybe whoever wrote the headline undermined a more cogent column. Let’s give Brookover the benefit of the doubt and run through some of his points, just to make sure it’s not all hot garbage …

In addition to being adept at winning games and championships, the Patriots are also great at avoiding the things they want swept out of sight.

So true. Nobody talks about Spygate and Deflategate anymore. Except for everybody.

Spygate and Deflategate fall into those categories, but the one subject they want to skirt more than any other is the violent and tragic career of the late Aaron Hernandez.

I can’t imagine why the Patriots wouldn’t want to talk about Hernandez. Maybe it has something to do with him being a convicted murderer who committed suicide in prison and last played football in 2012.

Perhaps that’s because Hernandez’s draft selection, despite bright red flags everywhere, is a reflection of how winning means everything to the Patriots and no cost is too high.

Surely, the Patriots have the “Minority Report” technology to foresee murders. We should probably point out now that New England cut Hernandez immediately after his arrest. And, just a guess here, the Patriots might not have given him a $40 million deal if they thought he was murdering people.

They have not commented any day since then either. At One Patriot Way in Foxborough, Mass., it is as if Aaron Hernandez never existed.

Yeah, I can’t believe there’s not a shrine to the guy in the Patriots Hall of Fame.

The shame of the matter is that the Patriots, and specifically coach Bill Belichick, acted as if they could not possibly know something so awful would ever happen despite the fact that Hernandez had a troubled past at the University of Florida and in his hometown of Bristol, Conn.

Wait, did Brookover just imply that Bill Belichick should’ve had a check mark next to “potential murderer” on his scouting report of Hernandez? He’s good, but I don’t know if Belichick is that good.

“I don’t know about the brain findings, but there is something to be learned from his life,” former NFL coach and current NBC commentator Tony Dungy said Tuesday. “My mother used to say it all the time. It was her favorite Bible verse: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if you lose your soul? We can focus on the Super Bowl and what’s going on with the players on the field and zero in on winning this game and losing this game, but lives and character is much more important than who holds up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the day. To me, that’s what we should learn from Aaron Hernandez.”

First of all, I have no idea what Dungy just said. Second of all, “I don’t know about the brain findings”? I get that life is more important than football. We didn’t need Hernandez to teach us that. But maybe we shouldn’t just ignore the fact that Hernandez was a textbook psychopath or the scientific evidence that showed he suffered from severe Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. There are lessons there, too.

The Patriots or Urban Meyer, who was the coach at the University of Florida when Hernandez played there, should have done more when they saw the signs of trouble. What Hernandez did was horrible, but you get the feeling the only reason Meyer and the Patriots cared about him in the first place was because he could play football.

Yeah, I can’t believe football coaches prioritize football. Hey, did you know Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested twice in Miami in October 2016 — once with a loaded gun at the airport and again for allegedly beating a hotel worker who was “taking too long” to set up a beach umbrella?

Maybe violence in football isn’t a Patriots problem. Maybe it’s an NFL problem. And maybe don’t boil your arguments down to: The Patriots win a lot. The Patriots employed convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots win a lot because they employed convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez.

Once he no longer could help them, it became a sin to even speak the name Aaron Hernandez. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the NFL team that has had the most success in this century also had to deal with the league’s greatest tragedy.

You’d think Belichick, who is so forthright with the media, would be constantly praising Aaron Hernandez and telling us how much he wishes the guy was still on the team. It’s almost as if the Patriots would prefer if Hernandez never played for them, and I just can’t seem to figure out why.

This is the point where we have to tell you the Patriots never won a Super Bowl with Hernandez, which is not something I ever thought I would write, but this column really brings the worst out of all of us.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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