The New England Patriots are the perfect example of a dynasty. Winning 6 Super Bowls, and making 9 Super Bowl appearances with bye weeks year after year in a span of 19 seasons. It’s difficult enough to make a Super Bowl in a span of 10 years, but making 9 in 19 is unimaginable. Many credit this success to the Patriot Way.
The Patriot Way is often considered the impressive levels of winning, accountability and team-first culture. This ‘way of life’, began when New England appointed Bill Belichick as coach, and quarterback Tom Brady made his name known. Normally, sports teams rely on star power to drive them to success. The Patriots, year after year, showcase a different style of success.
Belichick is both the coach and general manager of the Pats, and his ideology is different from many others. Regardless, if you’re a first-rounder or seventh-rounder in the NFL Draft, he believes that he can turn you into a solid rotational piece and contributor. This is exemplified by the Patriots love to trade down in the draft. They’ve consistently traded out of the first round, since the Belichick era. If fact, New England have traded down in the draft 29 times; compared to a measly 11 times trading up. Just this past draft in the first round, the Patriots traded their first round pick to the Chargers, receiving a second and a third round pick.
The Pats rarely care if you turn into a star or a superstar, Belichick believes that anyone and everyone is replaceable. Examples such as Chandler Jones, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Logan Markins, Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy, and Adam Vinatieri were let go, despite having extremely productive seasons prior. Although many teams don’t use this philosophy, it has shown to work given New England’s playoff resume.
There are many examples of players confiding into the Patriot way, and turning there careers around. Welker is a perfect example. He went undrafted and unsigned by other teams, but Belichick took a chance on him and he became a 5 time Pro Bowler along with making 2 First-Team All-Pros and 2 Second-Team All-Pros. Another example is Julian Edelman, a player who came out of college as a quarterback. Belichick drafted him in the sixth round and converted him to a wide receiver. Now he’s one of the most reliable wideouts in the league.
There are countless other examples of the Patriots finding hidden gems deep in the draft. Asante Samuel Sr, Ted Bruschi, Trey Flowers, and Dan Koppen, all of whom became solid players. The most famous draft steal the Patriots have had is Tom Brady. Brady who many consider the GOAT or Greatest of All Time, was drafted in the sixth round by the Pats in the 2000 NFL Draft. Despite running an abysmal 5.28-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, and being passed on 198 times, Brady embodied the Patriot Way for 19 seasons. He 6 Super Bowls, 4 of them which he won MVP, along with winning 3 NFL MVPs, and making 14 Pro Bowls.
Although the Patriot Way may have worked for so many years, there is evidence that Belichick’s influence on the team’s success may be overrated. Recently with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski moving to Tampa Bay, its time to reconsider how much of the Pat’s success was due to Bill Belichick’s culture. How much success was on the of his coaching genius; and how much was due to the play Brady? When Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, there is clear evidence that players were more enticed to play with the “GOAT” rather than to go to New England; embodying the Patriot Way. It was reported that Bill Belichick did not even offer Brady a contract.
With the season upcoming, it will be revealed whether the Patriots’ success was due more to Brady’s excellence, or Belichick’s philosophy… The Patriot Way.