Friday, June 28, 2013


Turns out that Andre Agassi was really off the mark when he proclaimed that "image is
everything" in his commercials for Canon in the early 1990's. Many athletes who carefully
crafted their images into super heroes like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and even Manti'
Teo, didn't exactly turn out to be the people we thought they were, did they?

After the recent murder charge against Aaron Hernandez, you can add the New England Patriots
to the list of those who couldn't measure up to the image they helped create for themselves.

In the early part of the 2000's, the New England Patriots, like Armstrong and Woods, put
together a dominant stretch where they seemed not only unbeatable, but untouchable as well.
From 2001-2004, they went 48-16 and won three Super Bowls. In this day and age where
every streak, gimmick offense, and successful team gets tagged with some kind of name or
phrase, New England's winning formula was the 'Patriots Way.' After all, there had to be
some reason why the Patriots were so much better than everyone else.

They had an owner in Robert Kraft who seems to be a stand-up and morally strong type
of guy. He even looks like a really sweet person. (Not sure the state of Connecticut thinks
that way after Kraft used and abused them to get a new stadium in Foxborough)

And who better to be the face of the franchise than Tom Brady, the All-American boy
who says all the right things and has the supermodel on his arm. There were high-character
people in the locker room like Willie McGinnest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Matt Light,
and a host of others. There was the perception the team drafted and signed only those players
of high-moral fiber and great character. Life was certainly good for the Patriots.

During their incredible run, where they established themselves as a dynasty and a model
NFL franchise, few, if any players, got in trouble with the law. Was every player squeaky-clean
during that amazing era? I highly doubt it. When you're the New England Patriots, who have
just filled up the trophy case with three silver items with the name, Lombardi, on them, winning,
as Tiger Woods likes to say, takes care of everything.

Bill Belichick brought in players like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, two high-profile
malcontents, with shady pasts that included police mug shots, to help fortify the roster and
make Super Bowl runs. Dillon and Moss were perceived as bad guys and 'locker room cancers',
but the 'Patriots  Way' would make them fall in line with the program. Both of them contributed greatly to the Patriots, but their true colors eventually came out and Belichick got rid of them
before they poisoned everybody else.

The fact is, the Patriots are no different than any other team in the NFL They can do background
checks, talk to coaches, and even follow them around, but the bottom line is, drafting and
signing players is a crap shoot and you have to be extreme lucky. Nodody could've foreseen
Javon Belcher  pumping nine bullets into his girlfriend and then killing himself. After all, he was given  psychological tests before the NFL draft. How could that possibly happen? It's life. bad
things happen to the nicest people everyday.

Scouts fell in love with JaMarcus Russell's arm, but they failed to recognize he had a ten-cent
head. General managers admired Ryan Leaf as a quarterback in college, but nobody saw what
he was really made of until it was too late. Talent, not character rules the NFL. Teams thought
the rocket arm of Russell could hide his bad work ethic and attitude. It didn't.

The Patriots are a smart organization from top to bottom, but they simply got lucky drafting
players who didn't show up on the police blotter during their incredible run. The perception
of their franchise was they did everything right because they were smarter than everyone else.
That was false. They just got a little bit luckier.

How come nobody talks about the New York Giants and their so-called, "Way"? They beat
the Patriots in two Super Bowls and are a very well-run organization. Oh, I guess, Plaxico
Burress ruined their image by shooting himself in a nightclub which led him to spending
two years in a federal prison.

The Patriots, like Armstrong and Woods, aren't the people we thought they were. Do people
forget about SpyGate? The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and took away a first-round draft
pick because they caught got filming other teams signals, which is illegal.

And Belichick is a sore loser who often exhibits poor sportsmanship at the end of games
he doesn't win. Is that the 'Patriots Way.'?

Tom Brady left his pregnant girlfriend for a super model. Some would say that shows poor
character and judgment. Is that the 'Patriots Way'?

Rodney Harrison tested positive for PED's during his career in New England. Is that part
of the 'Patriots Way'?

The Patriots knew about the shady side of Aaron Hernandez when they drafted him.
Belichick is the smartest man in the NFL and he knows everything about everyone. He
wanted Hernandez because he was an incredibly talented and versatile player with great
'upside.' The Hoodie hadn't won a Super Bowl since 2005 and the window with Brady is
closing pretty fast. He felt the 'Patriots Way' would keep Hernandez in line. Man, was he
ever wrong.

The Patriots took a chance on Hernandez, just as they did with Albert Haynesworth and
Chad Ochocino, who didn't exactly fit the mold of the "Patriots Way." But their luck ran
out and it hit them hard. After Hernandez got arrested, the team followed the 'Patriots Way'
and cut  him, essentially washing their hands of him.

This stain will be on the Patriots for a long time and it just may have proved that the
 'Patriots Way', like the image of Armstrong and Woods, was just a creation that got
exposed and brought down because people are what they are: human and capable of making
catastrophic mistakes.

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