For years, teams across the NFL envied what was called the “Patriot Way” that allegedly contributed to historic success for two decades. It was a short phrase that seemed to embody the entire organizational structure that was the New England Patriots.
For years, the Patriots were one of the very best teams in all of sports, not just football. From 2001-2021, the team had just one losing record and only two seasons with less than double digit wins. During this time, the team went to a whopping nine Super Bowls, winning six of them.
They only missed the playoffs twice during this entire time period, too. Many just assumed that the Patriot Way entailed something along the lines of a disciplined team who was well coached, well run, had a rock solid team and organizational culture, and was able to consistently put it all together on the field.
Over the past few seasons, that way of operation that so many other teams envied and tried to replicate, has deteriorated into a shell of its former self. It’s led many to ask what the Patriot Way even meant in the first place?
Was is simply because of one player in Tom Brady who was hyper-accountable and hyper-obsessed with performance? Was it because of Josh McDaniels and his ability to consistently craft and call elite offenses?
Was it a mixture of both of them? Where did Bill Belichick fall into this? Whatever the true case may be, it’s clear that what allegedly propelled the Patriots to greatness all of those years has been stomped on and thrown in the trash.
The offense can’t move the ball, the team continually shoots themselves in the foot, and the defense seems to fall on their face sometimes. The team is now hovering in perhaps the worst possible situation imaginable.
They clearly aren’t good enough to make the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl, and the complete other side of that is a team who is trying to rebuild their squad from the ground up and aren’t going to be competitive anyway.
The Patriots are smack in the middle of that. They aren’t rebuilding and aren’t good enough to make the playoffs, so where does the team go from here? Do they part with what was thought to be the main driver of the Patriot Way, or do they try and “retool” and push forward in 2023?