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
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…