The Patriot Way apparently has lost its way.
A 20-year run of excellence arose in part from a stubborn intolerance for excuses. It was a twist on the classic bit of narration from Goodfellas, with each potential reason for not coming up with the week’s envelope (bad business, fire, lightning strike) chased by the pointed and hostile recitation of the refrain, “F–k you, pay me.”
No excuses ever were accepted in New England. Injuries? Next man up. Salary-cap crunch? Make do with what you have. Bad weather? Suck it up and play.
That history makes Bill Belichick’s unprecedented turn at excuse-making even more stunning. And even though he insists he’s not making an excuse, he’s smart enough to know that some will view it that way.
The biggest problem for Belichick comes from the fact that some within the locker room will view it that way, causing players to regard 2020 as a reset year, one in which the usual standards don’t apply. How could they not reach that conclusion, consciously or otherwise? Belichick said, “We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship Game. This year we have less to work with.”
We have less to work with than usual. Thus, less is expected than usual.
Apart from the fact that the excuse is a weak one, it remains an excuse. And it allows players to make excuses for the season not going the way they wanted, abandoning the relentless edge and urgency that all players on all past Patriots teams have shown.
Bill Belichick’s excuse-making could result in players making excuses, too originally appeared on Pro Football Talk