HOUSTON -- In that show, “The Practice,” there’s this really profound moment between two of the show’s main characters, Jimmy and Eugene, in one of the later seasons. Coworkers and close friends at their law firm, something happens and the two have a falling out. Can’t remember what it was; show was on forever ago.
Anyway, the profound moment comes when Jimmy speaks up and says something real. He tells Eugene that he considers him a loved one, and it’s rather touching, because, as Jimmy notes (I think; really struggling remembering this scene), big tough men are often afraid to say that outside of family and/or romantic relationships. But Jimmy loves Eugene and he tells him that.
Now that you’ve gotten through that completely butchered reference, it sounds like the Patriots have a lot of that going on.
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It was fascinating to hear Josh McDaniels bring it up Wednesday when asked about the fabric of championship teams. Though football can be foolishly macho at times, McDaniels said the bonds between members of the organization are extremely strong.
The question posed to McDaniels was about Hall of Famer Jackie Slater (and father of Matthew Slater; people forget that) apparently saying you know it’s a championship-caliber team when every member of the roster knows every other member of the roster’s story. McDaniels strongly agreed and noted that the Patriots have cultivated such a group by treating everyone equally.
“I think our guys have a tremendous feeling for the other guys that are in there together because we made it. We went through OTAs together, we went through training camp together,” McDaniels said. “We made the roster together, we made the staff together. To be able to understand what that person went through — where’s he from, what’s his family story outside of football -- I just think that makes our bond even stronger.
“This group, we use the word ‘love’ a lot in our building and we don’t have any shame in saying it because there’s a lot of people that feel that way about one another. There’s a lot of people that go to different -- whether it’s a bible study or a family dinner, whatever it is -- we’re all in this together and trying to do the right thing.”
McDaniels called the Patriots a “unique circle of people,” noting that players regularly express their love for one another.
“I think that happens in our building, on our practice field, whatever it is,” he said. “That’s the way guys feel about each other. The best part about it is our leaders and the guys, they’re not afraid to show that.
"They’re not afraid to express that, and then the young guys feel, ‘It’s OK for me to tell this guy how I feel about him as a person. I just think it’s a unique circle of people, and we’re happy to be here, we’re happy to have an opportunity to compete together on Sunday night. It will be fun.”
In case you need any proof that such a dynamic exists, just look back to Super Bowl XLIX, when a maybe-not-completely-non-concussed Julian Edelman repeatedly shared that sentiment with Tom Brady and his teammates.