When most people reflect upon the Patriots' dynasty, they often use the term "The Patriot Way" a lot, especially when discussing Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It was a phrase seemingly coined by the media who believed it was the mantra the team lived by because things were done differently in New England, hence their unbelievable success over such a long period.
But "The Patriot Way" was not necessarily something the players lived by, as it was a narrative created by those outside the locker room. And according to Tom Brady, he never uttered those words, nor did most of the guys he played or worked with in Foxboro.
It's almost shocking to hear that because, based on how often you hear it repeated, you assume it was something plastered all over the locker room. However, the legendary quarterback spoke about the now iconic expression during a recent appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," detailing what it truly meant to the guys who suited up for the team every Sunday.
"I've never used that term in my entire life. I think when people say 'The Patriot Way', I'm always like, 'What's the Patriot Way'? It sounds like the title of a book.
I think what we tried to do was, we tried to do things the right way. I think we tried to practice the right way and prepare the right way. What happened on game day was ultimately a reflection of what we practiced.
I thought we had great leadership from our coaches, and it filtered down to the guys that really drove the culture. We had so many guys that I played with over the course of a lot of years that really understood that: 'Okay I'm going to care about my teammates and I'm going to care about helping the team win,' and whatever personal agenda you had, individual success and individual awards-- I don't want to make those insignificant, but they weren't as significant as what we were trying to accomplish as a team."
The most significant difference between the Patriots and every other team in the league was always their focus on doing what needed to be done for the team and not for themselves. Of course, as Brady said, hitting career milestones and whatnot was not ignored, but it wasn't at the forefront like it would be for other teams.
It was always about the team working together and accomplishing the same goal: getting another win. That's the real definition of "The Patriot Way" and why they were able to perfect it, and others could only attempt to replicate it.