By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There has long been an ongoing narrative about the “Patriot Way” and how much of an advantage that philosophy gives Bill Belichick over other head coaches. There are some well-known phrases that have emanated from Gillette Stadium as offshoots of this supposed “Patriot Way” … “Do Your Job.” “Ignore The Noise.” “It is what is.”
Those aforementioned phrases are clean, fat-free ways to describe Belichick and the “Patriot Way.” Except that whole narrative has always been something of a myth – mainly because it’s never been something Belichick himself ever said.
A Broncos writer asked Belichick during the coach’s conference call with the Denver media what the term “Patriot Way” means to him. This person may have been banking on Belichick to launch into a detailed dissertation on what constitutes his “way” and how it influences his team. The writer was probably pumped to finally get the eloquent centerpiece quote from the “Patriot Way’s” principal architect that the story needed.
Belichick would have none of it, simply replying, “I’ve never used that term so I don’t know.”
Aaand conference call over.
The truth about the “Patriot Way” is that it has mainly been a media creation and not something that’s a real aspect of the Patriots’ dealings at Gillette Stadium. There are a lot of different philosophies and practices that encompass the Belichick vision, but there’s no official document that’s handed out to players and specifically outlines the “Patriot Way.” The overriding term is just not a real thing.
No disrespect to whomever asked the question, but even cursory research on the “Patriot Way” would have shown that the idea has been done before. There’s a video about it on the Patriots’ official website. If Belichick had nothing to say for that, what’s he going to tell some beat writer out in Denver over the phone?
The Patriots win a lot because of two main reasons: 1. They have the greatest quarterback who ever played, and 2. They have Bill Belichick coaching the team. There are many other, smaller reasons why they’ve been so consistently successful, like their ability to focus on football and block out external noise or their fearlessness in moving on from players before they decline on Belichick’s watch. But there’s no singular “Patriot Way,” and Belichick just proved that with today’s response.
Hopefully, that Denver writer had some kind of “Plan B,” because Belichick commenting on the Patriot Way – even if it did exist – was never going to happen.
UPDATE: The media member in question who asked Belichick about the “Patriot Way” was actually Darren McKee, a Denver-area radio host who has been a guest on Toucher & Rich and is not a “writer” by trade. So McKee’s goal was certainly not to write an article about the question but talk about it on his radio show. Belichick may not have ruined his story, but he may not have given him what he wanted for his next hot take.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.