ATLANTA — Beyond Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, one of the biggest reasons for the New England Patriots’ unprecedented lengthy success is loyalty and continuity.

The Patriots are set to play in their ninth Super Bowl since 2001 when they take on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Belichick and Brady both joined the organization in 2000. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, running backs coach Ivan Fears, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and director of player personnel Nick Caserio also have been with the team since at least 2001. Linebackers coach Brian Flores joined the organization in 2003.

So, what’s the key to that loyalty?

“Ultimately, every relationship is built on respect and trust — any long-term relationship,” Belichick said Tuesday in a pre-Super Bowl LIII news conference. “You might be a short-term relationship for other reasons, but long-term, it’s trust and respect. I’d say the people that have been with me for a long time, that there’s a mutual level of trust and respect.

“In some situations, when people have opportunities that are better than the ones I can provide, which is the case from time to time, then I certainly would not try to impede those people from advancing their careers as players or coaches when they have a better opportunity that I can’t compete with. I understand that. I’ve been in that situation myself, and I think that’s fundamentally just the right thing to do.”

Flores is set to become the Miami Dolphins’ head coach after Super Bowl LIII. McDaniels left the Patriots from 2009 to 2011 but returned in 2012.

Other coaches, like Scarnecchia and Brian Daboll, also have left then rejoined the Patriots.

The 2018 Patriots squad is chock-full of players with Super Bowl experience because of that same loyalty.

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images