The famed “Patriot Way” is not about the culture cultivated by longtime Patriots coach Bill Belichick. It was built by Tom Brady, and New England has lost its way.
So says Danny Amendola, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots who caught passes from Brady and was coached by Belichick for five seasons before he signed with the Dolphins in 2018.
“When you see ‘Patriot Way’ in the dictionary, it’s gonna have Tom Brady’s name next to it,” Amendola said on FS1’s “First Things First” Monday morning. “None of those coaches threw any passes; none of those coaches caught any passes; none of those coaches made any tackles. They got guys in the right position because they watch a lot of film and spend all their time at the facility, but Tom Brady is the ‘Patriot Way,’ and that’s the reason Tom Brady’s in the Super Bowl right now and the Patriots aren’t.”
Brady, 43, has indeed looked like the early winner in his high-profile divorce from Belichick. The Patriots went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, while Brady has led the Buccaneers to seven straight victories entering Super Bowl 2021, including three road wins in the NFL playoffs.
The comments from the 35-year-old Amendola, who played the last two seasons with the Lions, are the latest from people in NFL circles that take some of the glow off Belichick’s reign in Foxborough.
Rex Ryan, the ex-Jets coach whose opinion must be taken with that context, recently said on ESPN that “nobody wanted to go to New England to be coached by Bill Belichick. They wanted to play with Tom Brady. I mean, part of it’s Belichick, but to play with Tom Brady. Why? That’s why you’re gonna win. No quarterback was wanting to go to New England, I can assure you that.”
To Ryan’s point, Matthew Stafford reportedly was willing to have the Lions trade him anywhere except the Patriots. Stafford ending up being dealt to the Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-rounder.