Re: The Draw Of Playing In New England
- From: Mattu <gocism@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 17:24:40 -0700 (PDT)
On Mar 18, 2:29 pm, Smithee <ssmith2...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
The Draw Of Playing In New England
What is the attraction with Foxborough, Mass.? And why does it seem
that every offseason, high-profile free agents are drawn to play for
Bill Belichick and the Patriots? Today, we try to answer these
questions and show that the Patriots are indeed the ultimate
destination for NFL players who want to win championships.
The New England Patriots are the team that every other club in the NFL
wants to be — whether they admit it or not.
When I was still playing, that’s who we wanted to be, and whom we
wanted to beat — on every team that I played. In Buffalo, all we
talked about was finding a way to beat New England.
In Washington, under Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame coach, former
Patriots wide receiver David Patten was on our roster. Gibbs asked
Patton to bring in his Super Bowl rings to show to the rest of the
players during one of Gibbs’ team meetings. Why? Because they were the
team we wanted to be. Forget about the three rings Gibbs had from his
three championships. He wanted Patten to show us the rings from New
England (and they were pretty nice, I might add). Gibbs, like us, knew
that the Patriots, not the “Hogs,” were the team we needed to resemble
if we wanted to become champions.
So David brought them in and we all held them in our hands —
speechless. Because Super Bowl rings are impressive up close.
In the film room, whenever a Patriots tape was on — even if it was
against a team we were preparing to play that Sunday — the
conversation always shifted to New England. Why are they so good? What
do they do that makes them better than everyone else? Is it the scheme
or the players? Why do they get whomever they want in free agency?
Sure, we would sit in those cold chairs in the dark of the film room
and throw out criticisms of their players every so often, but we would
be kidding ourselves if it wasn’t out of pure, unfiltered jealousy.
On Monday, NFL.com ran a story linking Carolina defensive end Julius
Peppers to New England. Hey, why not? Why wouldn’t Peppers want to
make a ton of money playing for the Patriots? I can’t find a better
spot for him in the league. He knows that by going up there he’ll get
his money, and he’ll get a chance to win a ring.
Sounds pretty simple to me.
And that’s echoed throughout the league from coaches and players alike
— because we all, at one point or another in our careers, wanted to
wear that Patriots uniform and put that ring on our fingers.
I know I did. Sure, all of the teams I played on brought something to
the table in my seven-year career, but I would be lying if I said that
I wouldn’t swap out a couple of those years for two of those rings.
The Real Appeal
The Patriots are the USC of pro football.
Yes, USC has the beach, the blondes in bikinis and the oceanside beer
parties. Oh yeah, it also wins national titles and sends guys to the
NFL via the first round of the draft.
Sorry, Michigan and Nebraska, but I think if I were an 18-year-old
kid, I’d chose the girl on the surfboard, the BCS bowl game and first-
round money over Ann Arbor or Lincoln.
Why am I talking about this? Because the Patriots are the same thing
to free agents in the NFL, especially veteran players.
Look at Shawn Springs and Joey Galloway, both of whom signed free-
agent deals with the Pats in the last week. These guys might be at the
end of their careers, and maybe aren’t the players they used to be,
but they know that by going to New England, Belichick will find a way
to get the absolute best out of their ability.
Why did Junior Seau come out of retirement after a great career to
play in New England? For starters, he knew Belichick would put him in
position to make plays on Sundays, but also because Seau knew he had a
chance to go to the Super Bowl.
Veteran players understand that going to New England gives them a
chance to extend their careers, and Belichick will make that possible
by putting them in different packages — on both sides of the ball —
that use their skills for the betterment of the team. Sure, they might
not play on third downs anymore, but there will be at least five
different blitz packages in the game plan that allow them to get on
the field and make some plays — while they chew up the competition
along the way.
I’m sorry if you’re a fan of the Bengals or the Jaguars, but the
players in today’s NFL are looking for two things — money and rings.
If there’s a chance they can get even comparable money by going to New
England over Cincy, it’s a done deal.
Plus, the Patriots own the national spotlight when it comes to ESPN
SportsCenter, Monday night games, NFL Network coverage and the Sunday
night slot on NBC. And we’d be kidding ourselves if we don’t think
players want to be in the spotlight.
Guys who play under the lights are talked about, and they make more
money in the end.
The Respect Factor
This might be the most important factor when it comes to the Patriots’
Do you think the garbage going on in Denver right now would happen in
New England? No way, and as I wrote Monday, Broncos coach Josh
McDaniels is trying to be the new Belichick in Denver — but he’s
lacking that certain “respect factor” we’re talking about now.
Tell me a time when a player went to the podium after a game or during
interviews after practice and criticized the way things are done in
New England. Because I can’t find one.
These players would do anything to win — and that comes from
Belichick. Sure, I make fun of the guy on Fridays because he looks
like a homeless man standing on the sidelines, but I’d be lying if I
didn’t say that I would have loved to play for him during my career.
He has this going for him because the Patriots’ biggest star, Tom
Brady, endorses him, as does Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Rodney Harrison
and so on. Players notice this, folks, and they buy into the idea that
Belichick is a great coach before they even meet him.
Before you throw “Spygate” at me, let’s be honest. Every team in the
league does it. I played on teams that had a guy go through the
visiting team’s hotel after they checked out to look for any type of
game plan material that was “mistakenly” left behind. So please, don’t
The guy can coach football, my friends, and if we sit here and tell
ourselves that he cheats, or that the Patriots don’t play by the
rules, well, then someone better tell the players in the NFL this
news, because they don’t seem to care.
The Bottom Line
Before you start to call me a Belichick supporter, or someone who’s
trying to put down the rest of the AFC East, look at the facts because
that’s all I’m doing,
I’ve been in locker rooms, and in film rooms across the league, and I
can tell you that every player wants to run out of the tunnel in the
Super Bowl. We have to realize that veteran players look to one place
for that to happen when they’re picking teams, and that place is
settled between Boston and Providence.
Players are drawn to New England because of the coach, the wins, the
“team” idea that seems to exist there compared to every other
dysfunctional NFL franchise.
I despised the Patriots when I played because every January, when I
was home after an early exit from the playoffs, or if my team didn’t
even make the postseason, they were still playing. I used to ask
myself why they were so good, just as I used to ask myself why their
press conferences were so flat-out dull.
But I would have driven up there in a second if they had offered me a
I'm certain all the trolls we get from other teams are secretly
wishing they were Patriot fans instead of a (insert inferior team
here) f@*tard. I pity them.
- The Draw Of Playing In New England
- From: Smithee
- The Draw Of Playing In New England
- Prev by Date: Re: OT: Poll Question
- Next by Date: Re: OT: Poll Question
- Previous by thread: The Draw Of Playing In New England
- Next by thread: Re: The Draw Of Playing In New England