The Patriots Way. That’s the phrase. We’ve heard it over and over and over. Whether you thought the last two decades of New England Patriots football were entertaining and impressive or infuriating and controversial, you haven’t been able to escape that phrase. The Patriots way.
The truth is, though, the Patriots Way is an ever-changing concept in the eyes of the public. It has a certain meaning inside the building with Bill Belichick and his staff and players. But to fans of the NFL, it has been perceived differently based on the point in history.
After the Patriots beat the high-powered St. Louis Rams for their first Super Bowl every, nubbie football dad in America was running up and down their neighborhood bragging about how they don’t have superstars, they’re just a great team. No egos or Hollywood personas out there, just a great bunch of guys who like to work hard. That was the message. The reality was, looking back on it, there were a whole bunch of superstars on that team; we just didn’t realize they were superstars yet.
This is how it’s gone for years. The Pats do their thing and fans, and other organizations perceive it in the moment and use that information accordingly. How many times have we had to watch dorky coaches like Brad Childress stand up at a press conference and try to be Bill Belichick? How many coaches from the Patriot tree have we watched try to go to another city and run an organization the Patriot Way, only to fail miserably?
So what the hell does this have to do with the Minnesota Vikings?
Well, it wasn’t just coaches trying to imitate Belichick. Tom Brady‘s influence on the league and the quarterbacks within it is vast. He’s the GOAT. And his attention to detail and preparation is the stuff of legends.
For 20 years, Tom Brady was basically a no-nonsense, buttoned-up, focused football individual.
It’s almost as though when Kirk Cousins was a kid, the only thing anyone ever gave him to read was books about Tom Brady. I know this doesn’t make sense from an age standpoint, but just go with me. Kirk is a football robot. He has a schedule that would make the strictest secretary on the planet uncomfortable and a personal discipline that goes far beyond normal. Whether it’s intentional or not, it seems like Kirk has built his mentality in a very Tom Brady way.
At least what we thought was the Tom Brady way.
In the last six months, we’ve seen a very different side of Tom Brady. We’ve seen him drunkenly heave the Lombardi Trophy across a body of water, go on a celebrity golf match and shit talk Aaron Rodgers about his situation, and go to the White House and crack jokes at the podium.
And now we have some new comments made during a Sirius XM interview with Jim Gray.
Everyone is familiar with the motherf*cker comment wherein Brady references a team that chose to pass on him in the 2020 off-season. Well, now he has elaborated on it:
“There’s private things for me that are going to remain motivational for me,” Brady said to Gray. “They know who they are, it’s fine. Everyone has a choice to choose. I think what you realize is, there’s not as many smart people as you think. That’s just the reality. I think it’d be a no-brainer if you said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a chance to get Wayne Gretzky on your team, or you got a chance to have Michael Jordan on your team.’ . . . ‘Oh, we don’t need him, no thanks. We’re good.’
“In my mind, I’m kind of thinking, ‘OK, let me go show those teams what they’re missing.’ At the same time, let me go prove to the team that did bet on me, and the team that really showed they really wanted me, and committed to me, that I’m not going to let them down.”
We have always known the ego and mentality it takes to be one of the greatest ever to do something. But man, it is really on display here — just a guy putting himself in the same category as Gretzky and Jordan. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to be there; he absolutely does. It’s just amazing to see. You’re getting the same “f-you” attitude that we saw from Michael Jordan in The Last Dance. You’re seeing exactly what makes all-time competitors all-time competitors.
Here is where Kirk can learn. Do I want cousins to go out and list himself as a peer of Wayne Gretzky? No. But I do want to see the buttoned-up Kirk develop a little bit of motherf*cker. I want to see him put a couple of big chips on his shoulder. And not chips that he scheduled out in his planner. Real, screw you motivational chips.
All the fans in Minnesota that don’t believe in him? Screw you. The coaching staff for even considering drafting a replacement? Screw you. The national media who won’t stop talking about his clutch record? Screw you. Booger McFarland? Definitely screw you. This is what Kirk needs. It’s what he’s always needed. For a guy who seems to have modeled so much after Tom Brady, he would be wise to pay attention, listen, and follow suit here.
With the roster currently assembled around him and an extremely divided fanbase, it’s reasonable to believe that there isn’t much time left on the prove-it clock for Kirk. This is his season. This is his opportunity. He needs to go out there and play like people have wronged him.