Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have been the model of consistency over the past 18 years, with the team winning five Super Bowl titles and appearing in another three.
The Patriot Way has been bashed by some as a “fear-based” approach that wears players down, but two former Patriots explained Thursday why New England’s culture is the reason behind their success.
Chad Johnson, who played one season in New England, and Martellus Bennett, who was part of the Super Bowl LI championship team two seasons ago, discussed their time in Camp Belichick on Yahoo! Sports’ pregame show with James Davis and Ben Lyons.
The two former Pats explained how New England’s culture is so different from the other places they have played, and why it’s a reason for the Patriots’ success.
“After being there for a short, short time, you understand not just why (Tom Brady) is still there but why the organization itself is consistently so good year in and year out,” Johnson said. “You know, I came from Cincinnati so I only knew one thing, you know, the way we operated and the way we did things. So going (to New England) it was fascinating. Very, very militant in a sense. You know, I’ve never been to the Army, never been to the Navy, but if I had to take a guess on what it was like, it would be like no different than playing for the Patriots, as far as from a discipline standpoint. I enjoyed it.”
Bennett, who retired from the NFL after the 2017 season, noted the culture is what separates the successful franchises from the bottom-feeders.
“But there’s not a lot of franchises built to win Super Bowls,” Bennett said. “That’s why the same franchises win because they start upstairs, and the way they run the business with the Patriots was — when I got there they gave me an employee handbook. I was just like, ‘What the (expletive) is this? I came here to play football.’ They were like, ‘Make sure you get an employee number and everything.’ I’m like, ‘I’m employee No. 00-88,’ you know what I’m saying? This (expletive) is crazy.”
Johnson agreed that the culture is what puts New England above the rest of the league.
“It’s funny when you walk in, you just know,” Johson said. “Like when you get there, it’s just in the atmosphere. Nobody has to say anything. You know, the whole Patriot Way is just, weird, you know. Especially where I came from, it’s night and day. And like (Martellus Bennett) said, it starts at the top. Like anything that you do, in business, look at the companies that thrive, you know, Apple, it just starts from the top and trickles its way down.”
There’s a reason the Patriots have been one of the most successful franchises in sports over the last 20 years, and as Johnson said, it starts at the top.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images