Opinion: Winning the right way (The Patriot Way) in sports doesn’t exist

Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, left, and former wide receiver, Randy Moss, right, are posterchilds those who say the Pats "lost their way" by signing questionable characters. Credit: Getty Images
Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, left, and former wide receiver, Randy Moss, right, are posterchilds those who say the Pats “lost their way” by signing questionable characters. Credit: Getty Images

Subjectivity is complicated. What food tastes good to me, may be disgusting to you. That’s a given. But, in other instances, a quality believed as fact may actually be subjective. For example, the way I see the color blue and the way it looks through your eyes is inherently different. We both know the color, but are aware the hue is slightly changed in its appearance from one person to the next.

While consuming commentary about Aaron Hernandez’s murder trial, Alfonzo Dennard’s arrest, and the Tim Tebow signing, I’ve realized the way fans and media perceive “The Patriot Way” is just like the color blue – distinctively altered from person to person. What I’m interested in is why this is the case.
Look, I never believed in “The Patriot Way” as it was presented to us by – yup, you guessed it – the media (Hmm. The same folks taking unseemly pleasure in mocking the term in light of recent events). Robert Kraft is no Robin Hood. The Patriots weren’t winning game after game as part of an altruistic mission for the poor. Nor is Bill Belichick a deity of sport. Truth is, the Pats have always taken chances on players in order to win football games.

That seemed silly to clarify. But retrospectively speaking, it does make complete sense — the timing for the adulation was perfect. The Patriots succeeded in an understated manner – predicated not on saying the wrong thing, but rather saying nothing at all. Meanwhile, Terrell Owens, Joey Porter, Chad Johnson (yeesh!), Rex Ryan, and the rest of the NFL promulgated boisterous personas, ultimately making their downfalls easier to celebrate. Juxtaposing these two styles – and the degrees of success – created a specious tenet: “The Patriot Way.”


But if forced to subscribe, to me, “The Patriot Way” is – and always was –as much about Rodney Harrison, Randy Moss, and Aqib Talib as it is about Troy Brown, Tom Terrific, and the rest of the outstanding citizens to come through Patriot Place this last decade-plus. The utopian concept really just boils down to simple underlying themes: “Making the Smart Football Play,” “Humble Pie,” “It Is What It Is,” “Do Your Job,” and “Mental Toughness.” In other words, the same platitudes the players fed the media.

And if there was a dark side to “The Patriot Way,” like the aforementioned players with checkered pasts, SpyGate, and a passive aggressive penchant for running up the score, then fine. The Patriots are successful year after year, to the tune of seven AFC Championship Game appearances, five trips to the Super Bowl and three championships. I learned long before Odin Lloyd’s body was found that winning the “right way” in professional sports doesn’t exist. There’s just winning.

 

Follow Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.