FOXBORO, Mass. — There are many reasons why the New England Patriots win way more football games than other NFL teams. One reason — the one we’ll be discussing in this article — is they outwork other organizations.
That starts at the top, with Bill Belichick, and goes down through coaches, players, personnel executives and low-level scouts and staffers. The Patriots are playing in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday. It’s their eighth time qualifying for a Super Bowl since Belichick took over as head coach in 2001.
“It’s hard as hell,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “Some people don’t like working hard. That’s just being brutally honest. You either like it or you don’t. If you like winning, then you like it here.”
Safety and defensive captain Duron Harmon has a similar, but slightly different, perspective.Â Harmon has been on the Patriots his entire five-year career, and he chose to return to New England as a free agent this offseason. Van Noy spent two seasons with the Detroit Lions before being traded to the Patriots.
“If you love winning, it’s not hard,” Harmon said. “This is what this place is about: winning. Everything we do, everything we sacrifice for is to win. Coming here as a young guy five years ago, I just saw how competitive this place was, and I just wanted to be a part of it. So I did everything in my power to continue to get better and try to make sure that at the end of training camp, I’m always on this roster, because I just love the idea of winning and being a part of something so special here.”
Linebacker Marquis Flowers knows how hard the Patriots work not only from playing on the team but also against them as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. Flowers played three seasons with the Bengals before requesting, through his agent, a change of scenery. He was traded to the Patriots in the preseason.
“For opposing teams, I played here twice, and I’m definitely 0-2 against the Patriots,” Flowers said. “Not even close. It’s just a tough place to play from the crowd to how disciplined the team is and to how hard they play. You basically have to outplay them for four quarters, and it’s hard to do.
“Now being on this side, I see. I see it’s hard to do, and it still is. It holds true. It’s very hard to come in here to Gillette Stadium and basically outplay the well-coached Patriots team for 60 minutes. I’m just happy to be a part of that well-coached Patriots team, well hard-playing team. It’s a blessing.”
So, what’s so hard?
“It goes into everything from practice to preparation to film study to just really the biggest thing is really preparing and going out there and just going hard, working hard all year,” Flowers said, speaking in generalities.
Cornerback Johnson Bademosi also has experience with different organizations. He played on the Cleveland Browns and Lions before being traded to the Patriots in the preseason.
“It’s certainly not easy to play here,” Bademosi said.
“Winning football games is not easy, so — and we win a lot of football games.”