The New England Patriots season begins Sunday afternoon with a game against the Houston Texans. As with every NFL season, there is a lot to be optimistic about, and a lot that should concern Patriots fans.

Office politics at Gillette Stadium should not be on that list of Pats fans concerns.

The Patriots offseason had more pointless drama than a season of your favorite soap opera. Tom Brady is mad because Bill Belichick banned Alex Guerrero — his trainer, self-help guru, and BFF — from Gillette Stadium and team flights. Rob Gronkowski is mad at Belichick because he wants a new contract. Robert Kraft is mad because Belichick told him he needs a haircut or something. It’s all ludicrous and it’s hard to keep track of it all.

It’s all so childish, you’d think the Patriots highlights would be on Nickelodeon, not ESPN.

There’s no reason to think most of the gossip coming out of Foxborough isn’t true. There’s also no reason to give any of it more than a casual glance.

Right now, in your workplace, there’s probably a coworker or a boss you don’t get along with all the time, or at all. You need to work out issues both serious and petty, but you also need to get work done and keep the line moving. You don’t need to be friends with everybody in the office, or even friendly. You do your best to not let any personal issues affect your work, because you are an adult and a pro and that’s part of life.

Why would anybody think the Patriots are any different? Until whatever grievances Brady, Belichick, or anybody else in the team hierarchy manifest themselves as roadblocks to what happens on the field, they are nothing more than trivial gossip. It’s high school without a Homecoming dance.

For the most part, empires don’t fade away. They buckle under their own weight before collapsing. Nothing is left standing but memories. The Patriots dynasty is nearing the end, but it’s not there yet. Enjoy it, so you can share the memories with the next generation of fans who won’t get to witness this. If you’re older than 35, you remember what it was like before this run began. Maybe that’s why so many people can’t enjoy it. They’re haunted by the ghosts of Rod Rust and Hugh Millen.

There’s a large segment of fans and football pundits who can’t wait to say they were the first to see the cracks. When the Patriots dynasty is over, they want to be able to tell you they knew it wouldn’t last. See? Tom Brady gets old like every quarterback! See? Bill Belichick’s management style is mental sandpaper! The man is 40 grit!

They forget that everybody knows it’s not going to last. Everything ends. Everything dies. They also forget looking forward to the end makes you forget the good things and enjoy the now. They’re too caught up in their future schadenfreude to appreciate what they’ve witnessed.

If you want something to keep you awake at night when you think of the 2018 Patriots, here’s a list: Just who will step up as a reliable receiver while Julian Edelman serves his four-game suspension? Will rookie running back Sony Michel’s knee hold up to the pounding of an NFL season? Can a relatively untested group of pass rushers manufacture enough of a pass rush? Is Trent Brown an adequate replacement for Nate Solder at left tackle? Is Eric Rowe really a starting corner? Can Dont’a Hightower stay healthy? Can Gronkowski stay healthy? Can this defense keep Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in check this week?

There. That gives you plenty to think about that doesn’t involve whether or not Alex Guerrero is on the team plane to Jacksonville next week.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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