A couple of days ago I brought you this post about Danny Amendola going on "First Things First" and saying, "When you see the 'Patriot Way' in the dictionary, it’s got Tom Brady’s picture next to it. None of those coaches caught any passes. … Tom Brady is the 'Patriot Way.' That’s why he’s in the Super Bowl & the Patriots aren’t."
And while it's been widely reported that he was teabagging the team he won two Super Bowls with - and I have buddies who feel the same way, I didn't have major problems with what he said. Lost in the translation was his point that the Patriots coaches have always put in the work and the film study to give the team a competitive advantage, but it's the players who execute the game plan. A take so shocking, controversial and inflammatory that Bill Belichick has said it himself a trillion times.
So you'll have to forgive me if I'm not all worked up about the incendiary nature of Danny Playoffs remarks. Remarks he sort of clarified to Colin Cowherd. Because when a former player appears to be getting salty toward Belichick, he can get booked onto any show he wants.
If you didn't have the 3:42 to listen to the whole clip, let me paraphrase by saying that Amendola appreciated playing for Coach Bill, but had a hard time with GM Bill. Again, not an unfair criticism at all. It can't be easy to spend late July to (hopefully) early February with a guy who spends every minute of every day trying to squeeze every last drop of effort out of you, only to spend the offseason having that same guy try to squeeze every last dollar out of you. A dynamic that's been around pro football since Curley Lambeau. It's that old "North Dallas 40," "Every time I call it a game, you call it a business. And every time I call it a business, you call it a game" thing. And you can't blame him, since like he said he took paycuts for three straight years. In fact, I said at the time that I believed Belichick fixed him up with Olivia Culpo, because there's no greater leverage for motivating a player to stay than him dating a Miss Universe who lives 20 minutes from the practice field. There are things more important than money.
Though to be fair to GM Bill, it should be pointed out that the reason Amendola was brought to New England in the first place was to replace Wes Welker, who had priced himself out of town. As a Pats beat writer once put it to me, "Bill loved Welker at $3 million, and hated him at $9 million." Amendola got a five year, $28.5 million deal, with $10 million of it guaranteed in 2013 to be a cheaper Welker. Just as Welker was brought in in 2007 to replace Deion Branch, who held out before he got big money in Seattle. And virtually every, single one of the Boston radio buffoons who are cheering Amendola because he's finally exposing the evil fraud that is Belichick were furious GM Bill ever signed him. Because they considered him to be fragile and overpaid and, above all else, not Wes Welker.
The point being that the reason this Dynasty endured for 20 years is that the guy in charge will not let his personal feelings get in the way of roster-building business decisions. I don't for one hot second blame any player who's gone through the process to resent it. But there are six banners hanging opposite the lighthouse at Gillette that can attest to the fact it's been - stop me if you've heard this before - in the best interest of the football team.
Which brings me to Matt Light earlier today on Dan Patrick:
Again, if you don't have time to watch the clip, here's part of what Light said:
“I mean it kinda sounded a bit like an angry elf, right? One of those South Pole elves. Maybe he was trying to make a point there about something and (it) seems to be working.
A live look at Amendola:
… before Light goes on to pretty much agree with him:
"Look, when I was there, in my 11 seasons with Bill, it was kind of a roller coaster of emotions. There were days when you didn't want to hear it from Bill. You didn't want to hear the early morning, 'Look, you guys were terrible. We're never gonna win a game if you guys keep playing like this. This is the worst football I've ever seen. Here, let's watch Light 700 times screwing up a block.'
"It can get really old. And it can get really personal. Especially when you're mixing in contract talk, right? Especially when guys give up the ability to potentially make more money elsewhere.
"So, is it personal with [Amendola]? At this point right now it sure seems like it. But, I think there's some truth in what he says, though. You know, if somebody asks me, who embodies and who is the face of The Patriots Way, it's kind of hard to argue the point that it's Tom Brady."
Some harsh words there, maybe. But spoken with the authority of a member of the Three Ring Club as well as a three time Pro Bowler and member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. As well as one of the great ballbusters in franchise history who has nothing left to prove to anyone and even fewer fucks left to give.
But I say what I said when Amendola talked about Brady personifying The Patriot Way: He can have it. It's all his, if he wants. Belichick has never spoken the phrase. Other than to spit it back at any reporter who uses it in a question and remind them he's never used and and has no idea what it's supposed to mean. That Brady has been central to all the success in Foxboro is a fact not in dispute. And the key to putting an end this narrative (even from former Patriots) that it was all Brady and not at all the coaching, is for the coaches to dig their way out of the 7-9 hole they're in. To win without him the way he is without them. Prove that 2020 was just a necessary reset. A Taint Year between Super Bowl contending seasons.
So I don't mind guys like Amendola and Light taking this time to say that Coach Bill is hard to play for, GM Bill is even harder to negotiate with, and Brady was great. I'll stop them when they say something that isn't true.