Danny Amendola kicked off Super Bowl LV week with some explosive comments about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, saying the star quarterback “is the Patriot Way.”
Darius Butler disagrees.
Butler, a second-round Patriots draft pick in 2009 who spent two seasons in New England, offered his thoughts on Amendola’s remarks and the Brady vs. Belichick debate Wednesday in a video posted on his Twitter account.
The retired defensive back said he “respect(s) the hell out of” Amendola but that the wide receiver’s “comments were way out of there.”
“Brother, you put who’s more important, Belichick or Brady, at 1A is whoever you choose,” Butler said. “The other one’s got to be right at 1B. But when you talk about the Patriot Way, it’s Belichick. He’s 1A undoubtedly. It starts with him.
“Not only what goes on on the field, but off the field — you know, how interviews are managed, how injuries are talked about. Just the standard, the culture around the building — the standard is the standard in New England, right? That starts with the coach, obviously the GM (also Belichick) and then (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft getting out of the way basically and letting the football guy handle the football stuff, obviously giving him all the tools that he needs to be successful.
“And then, contrary to popular belief, games — especially championships — are won by teams. There’s a lot of other players who are responsible for cultivating that culture within that team, within that organization over the last two decades.”
Butler rattled off a list of key Patriots contributors to the team’s dynastic run, naming Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, Lawyer Milloy, Asante Samuel, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Adam Vinatieri, Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Patrick Chung, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich and Dont’a Hightower.
“(Expletive), Danny Amendola would even be on that list, in my opinion,” he added.
Singling out Brady as “the Patriot Way” is unfair to these other players, said Butler, who noted many other Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks didn’t have nearly as much team success as Brady has.
“There’s just so many people responsible for quote-unquote the Patriot Way in those two decades of dominance,” Butler said. “We’ve had a lot of great quarterbacks come through the NFL, whether it’s Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning. None of these guys appeared in nine Super Bowls. It’s not because they weren’t that good.
“If you look at them head-to-head, man-to-man, quarterback-to-quarterback to Tom Brady — in my opinion, Tom Brady’s the GOAT, but is he just that much better than those guys? In my opinion, no. There’s a lot of things that went on around Tom Brady that allowed him to be the GOAT.
“So I think (Amendola’s) comments were kind of off. Maybe Danny’s salty with Belichick the GM for personal reasons, which I completely understand. But overall, the comments, out of pocket, in my opinion.”
Amendola acknowledged that final point in a subsequent interview, saying he loved playing for Belichick during his five seasons with the Patriots but clashed with the coach over contractual matters.
Brady is preparing to play in his 10th Super Bowl in his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Butler said comparing Brady’s success in Tampa Bay to the Patriots’ 7-9 season without him is a “moot point” because of the talent on the teams’ respective rosters.
“Saying, ‘Oh, look at where Brady is now. Brady’s in the Super Bowl. Patriots sucked this year’ — a lot of (Patriots players) opted out this year,” Butler said. “Brady went to a pretty good roster already in Tampa, and then it got obviously much better when he joined and the other guys joined. A lot of people going into this season expected Brady and the Buccaneers to be in, let’s say, the (NFC) Championship Game. Probably nobody expected the Patriots to be in it Championship Sunday.”