The "Patriot Way" is a popular term used to describe the impressive levels of winning, accountability and team-first culture involving the New England Patriots franchise since head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady came to the team in 2000.
Belichick was asked during a Tuesday conference call about his team's culture, and he doesn't have his own definition for what the "Patriot Way" actually means. Here's the exchange:
Question: We hear a lot about the Patriot Way. How do you define your culture and what you've tried to establish up there in New England?
Belichick: "Yeah, I don't know that I've ever used that term. I'm not really sure what that is either. I appreciate you asking about it though, but I don't know. It's a good question."
Whenever veteran players who have caused distractions or drama on other teams come to New England, people typically assume they'll fall in line and abide by the "Patriot Way."
This term has come up quite a bit since Saturday when reports surfaced of the Patriots signing elite wide receiver Antonio Brown -- a move that became official Monday.
The veteran wideout didn't appear to be the best teammate on his previous teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. He now has an opportunity to buy into the Patriots' team-first culture and potentially win his first Super Bowl title. If he is a distraction, Belichick could just release Brown and rid the team of any issues caused by his presence. The Patriots certainly don't need Brown to be successful offensively -- just look at their 33-3 Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The addition of Brown is no doubt a risk. His antics in Pittsburgh and Oakland are cause for concern. However, New England's winning culture, and the leadership Belichick and Brady provide the team, have been enough to take players who were trouble elsewhere and turn them into valuable members of a winning team. Brown is perhaps the Patriots' biggest challenge yet, though.
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