THE PATRIOT WAY(S)
The advantage the Patriots have over all other teams: The Patriot Way.
Belichick’s Patriots are so business-oriented that they themselves rarely even talk about The Patriot Way. The phrase is mainly the outside world’s way of explaining the culture of this very successful organization.
“The Patriots Way” is the embodiment of every cliché known in sports: no “I” in team; let your play do the talking; one step at a time; just trying to get better, doing whatever it takes to win. It’s pretty straightforward stuff that trickles down from the owner Robert Kraft to Coach Bill Belichick to everyone else.
“The Patriot Way” is valuing character over performance. It was invented by the late Myra Kraft in 1996 when she learned of the sexual assault convictions of University of Nebraska defensive tackle Christian Peter. It was the first time a drafted player was waived before the start of training camp. “I don’t want thugs and hoodlums here,” Kraft reportedly told Parcells. But Myra Kraft was the first to take a stand on the issue.
“The Patriot Way,” Bledsoe said, smiling, in a bittersweet kind of way. “Is that simply no one player or group of players is bigger than the team or the organization. I was a prime example – maybe Example A of that. “I had just signed a big contract with the Patriots and looked like I was going to finish my career there. All of a sudden I got hurt, this Brady kid stepped in, and next thing you know, I was doing the Buffalo Shuffle.”
“The Patriot Way” is mental toughness, doing the right thing for the team, when everything isn’t perfect. It’s a special brand of toughness that is a must for Patriots players. It’s not just an intrinsic trait that some players walk in with; it is hardened and reinforced every day. Either you develop it, or you won’t be wearing a Patriots uniform for very long.
“The Patriot Way” “Is motivation by fear,” “Fear of losing your job. Fear of not being the starter week in and week out. If you don’t play up to snuff you will get benched. That’s how it is. Nobody gets a free pass here. I don’t care what you accomplished, or what type of fanfare you come in with. You have to produce at a high level or they will find someone else. It creates this tension and this uneasiness but it creates a very competitive environment.
In short the Patriot Way is about winning and the other teams in the division have created their own “Ways” that just don’t measure up.
Miami Dolphins Way: Consistently reduce the quality of your quarterbacking such that Dan Marino will always be a viable alternative.
New York Jets Way: Do whatever’s necessary to make your respectable fans ashamed to identify themselves.
Buffalo Bills Way: Be a disappointment to everybody except your opponents. Give your fans a justification for plentiful imbibing with promises of results next year.