TJ Houshmandzadeh: Bill Belichick runs the Patriots like a ‘dictatorship’

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TJ Houshmandzadeh and Ray Lewis join Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to discuss whether Bill Belichick is losing a grip on the Patriots' locker room.

- Whitlock, are you concerned about the Patriots culture and locker room?

- Yes. And Tom Kern, who follows the team, said that there needs to be a major clearing of the air in the Patriots locker room. And I agree with it. I think this Super Bowl loss is going to haunt this team. There's been one team to lose the Super Bowl and come back and win it the next year. The '71 Dolphins turned into the '72 Dolphins. Other than that, when you lose that Super Bowl, and then I think when you lose it in the fashion that they did where there's all these questions about Malcolm Butler, there's a stench in that locker room.

Gronk has now said-- we debated this two or three weeks ago-- is it fun to play for the New England Patriots? The guy from-- Lance Johnson or someone from-- the offensive lineman from the Philadelphia Eagles said, more fun over here. Lane Johnson. And so yeah, I think they have a festering problem in New England that Bill Belichick needs to address.

COLIN COWHERD: Well, the Patriots aren't player-driven. The Steelers are. New England beats them. Seattle is. Went into the tank. The Cowboys are. New England's not.

Everybody can have their own sort of culture. Baltimore was led by defense, I mean, just always. Seattle--

- And led by the players.

- --led by defense. Not every culture has to be player-driven. New England-- by the way, Gronk's made a lot of money. Football's hard. Maybe he's just done with it. Some guys just-- he's had a lot of injuries.

- Players will snatch that steering wheel at some point if they don't like the way you're driving.

- In New England?

- Anywhere. If they don't like the way you're driving, eventually, the players will snatch that steering wheel. And Bill Belichick, I'm telling you, it could happen to him.

- I think every team is player-driven. Every team is player-driven. They're just kind of fed up.

I was watching football this past fall. And it just tripped me out when I'm watching Patriots playing Miami Dolphins. And then I see a Gronkowski interview. I couldn't believe it. He's, oh, I want to talk about the celebration I did. But I'm scared that Bill's going to get mad at me. I really want to talk about it. But I guess, I can't. I'm scared.

You never hear players talk like that. Normally, hey, man, we talked about this celebration. This is what we going to do. We just having fun. They are completely scared of Bill. It's a dictatorship in New England. And things are going to have to change or he's going to lose a team.

- He did get to the Super Bowl.

- No, I know!

- Well, in today's time, him getting to the Super Bowl, that's just something they do. They--

TJ HOUSHMANDZADEH: Soon as Brady leave, let's see if they keep getting to the Super Bowl.

- Because that's going to be the question. When Tom Brady leaves New England, what happens? But when you start to see the things that's starting to happen, whether it's Malcolm Butler, whether it's Gronk, whether it's Brady, Kraft, and Belichick, you ask yourself a real question, right?

Anybody can make a house look like a home. But the only thing that makes a home a home is open communication. And it's not open communication right now.

There's a lot of whispers. There's a lot of whispers, what you talking about, TJ, what Gronk wants to say, what he really wants to do, what Brady really thinks, what Malcolm Butler now thinks. So you got all these whispers coming from New England. And then you ask yourself, wow, is this house really folding? Are New England on their way down?

What I will tell you this. If I know anything about this team, they will use this again. And possibly if somebody in the AFC does not change it, they will be represent the Super Bowl again next year.

- I will say, we do have a little bit of a precedent. Bob Knight's brilliant.


- My high school ran the Bob Knight offense.

RAY LEWIS: Mm-hmm.


- Almost every high school ran the motion offense.


- Bob didn't evolve. That is the one thing I worry about, because Bob Knight and Belichick are friends, is that sometimes people in power get older, and they get less patient, and they don't evolve with technology. Like my wife and I--

TJ HOUSHMANDZADEH: They ain't changing.

- And that's the problem. My wife and I always talk about that. We better learn technology, because our kids know it.

- Yeah.

- Is Bill getting old and cranky?

- Look, you're hitting a beautiful point. This past weekend, Steve Lavin and I were talking about the NCAA. And he gave me this great saying. If there's no evolution, there will be revolution. That's what's going to happen--


- --I think, with the Patriots.

Again, I'm from Indiana. I saw it happen with Bobby Knight. There was no evolution. And a revolution came and took him out in a heartbeat, just like that. And again, I just think Bill Belichick has some issues here in his locker room. Guys are making so much money. There's so much more mobility and freedom to move around. And his way isn't perfect.

This Malcolm Butler thing leaves a stench. Guys in that locker room, they don't have a-- again, this lack of communication that Ray's talking about, we just want to understand.


- We got to the ultimate game.

- Right.

- And a guy that played 98% of the snaps leading up to the Super Bowl got none in the Super Bowl. I need a explanation.

- Yeah, because-- and I'm just being honest. In Baltimore, that ain't happening. If he can help us win this, we'll deal with whatever that issue is after this game over.

TJ HOUSHMANDZADEH: That's exactly what I said.

- There's no way our best corner-- our best cover man are not playing in the biggest game of the year. There's no need to keep playing.

COLIN COWHERD: Well, if Belichick throws a chair this year, then we know for sure he's turned into Bobby Knight.