Every once in a while a small controversy - and even sometimes a true nontroversy - will land at exactly the right moment and take on a life of its own. When the atmosphere is just right, the topography is in the ideal condition, small sparks from a gender reveal party can catch fire, spread to the horizon and scorch the Earth. That is more or less what's been happening this week ever since Danny Amendola said "The Patriot Way" was never about the coaches, it was about Tom Brady.
And a lot of former Patriots - Amendola's teammates and guys who predated him in New England, have been asked to weigh in.
Super Bowl Week with Brady in the game while Patriots coaches have been sitting at home watching TV for a month was exactly the kind of drought conditions to turn this spark into a wildfire. And it can consume everything in its path if you don't remember that Bill Belichick himself thinks the term is meaningless and has never used it. In fact, has gone out of his way to remind everyone that it's the players who win games.
So again, this is a nontroversy. And I'd just as soon give it a good leaving alone. But before I do, it's worth noting what Devin McCourty said about the whole matter today. Because his take is nothing less than the definitive word.
“I think Dola is trying to let people know Tom’s greatness. I don’t think that came out the correct way at all. I think what he said about the coaches is true. Like, that’s what coaching is. It’s watching film and putting guys in the best position. When I think about ‘The Patriot Way’ though, I think about a team. Whether you want to call Tom the best player on ‘The Patriot Way’ and the leader of it, no doubt about it.
“But you can’t tell me in all of those games and all of these years throughout that the defense and other guys haven’t had something to do with that. That’s all guys believing in that. We’ve had great players across the board. We’ve had guys like Darrelle Revis, Vince Wilfork, the Tedy Bruschis, the Willie McGinests, the Ty Laws. Like, Ty Law is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. He is ‘The Patriot Way’ also. So I think whether you want to call Tom the leader of ‘The Patriot Way,’ because I think a lot does trickle down from him. But I think that was a little bit of a slap in the face to all of the other guys that are not Tom Brady. The Julian Edelmans, the Gronks.
“But I don’t know if — I don’t think he meant it that way. I think he wanted to really push Tom Brady’s greatness and what Tom Brady is, because everybody puts us in this Brady vs. (Bill) Belichick kind of arena. I think Dola was really trying to tell people Tom is a great player.
“For me, I don’t think you have to defend (Brady’s greatness). Turn on the film. Turn on this year. If you thought Tom Brady was a system quarterback you probably need to go dive in the snow if you’re in the Northeast right now. Head first. Because he’s shown every bit of him,” McCourty said. “He can go win anywhere and really at any moment. The guy is 43 years old. He’s playing in another Super Bowl. His tenth. So his greatness is definitely out there.”
And there you have it. That's the blog. Nothing more needs to be said. Other than this is yet another reason why Devin McCourty is my pick for the second best Patriot of the Dynasty Era. When you consider longevity, productivity, success, durability:
… and leadership, he ranks ahead of even all those guys he mentioned. These are the words of a captain acting like a captain.
And finally, because this didn't quite reach the level of deserving its own separate blog, McCourty added this bit of great news that will long outlast the Great Patriot Way Debate of February, 2021:
Oh hell, yeah. Maybe this is Step One toward righting this ship once and for all. Every time Devin McCourty speaks, there's a reason to feel good about the future.