Lane Johnson continued his brigade against The Patriot Way this week.
By now you’ve probably heard the right tackle’s comments he made following his Eagles’ victory over New England in Super Bowl LII calling the Pats a “fear-based organization” that no on likes to play for. Johnson went at the Patriots in other avenues as well and while recently appearing on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast, he explained why.
“Here’s what pissed me off,” Johnson said, via ESPN.com. “The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach, I respect Bill [Belichick], I respect Tom Brady, but just because the way that they won the Super Bowls, the Patriot Way, is that how everybody else is supposed to do the same thing? No, it’s not. And that’s what I got mad at, the arrogance by them.
“There was obviously some stuff behind closed doors. Their owner talking s— to our owner. Bill talking s— to our head coach [Doug Pederson] before the game. I’m not going to say it, but a lot of s— kind (of) built up to that, and I just got tired of hearing about it, man, to be honest.”
A lot to unpack there.
First, it seems really out character for Bill Belichick to be trash talking another coach leading up to the Super Bowl (or any game for that matter). We’re talking about a head coach who would cut a player if he went in to too much detail with reporters about how they take their coffee let alone anything football related.
Heck, this is a guy who benched Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl (!) for reasons that seemingly don’t appear to be too serious. All of sudden he personally is going to go up to Doug Pederson and rib him?
I just don’t buy it.
Could Pederson have taken Belichick’s appearance at the Minnesota Timberwolves game that week as a sign he wasn’t taking the Eagles seriously? That could be spun into some locker room motivation with the right wording, but that’s hardly trash talking as Johnson described.
And if the actual exchange between Pederson and Belichick ever comes to light and it shows that the Hoodie was spewing bulletin board material for Philly, then we’ll have no problem pointing out the hypocrisy. It just doesn’t seem likely.
Finally, it does seem like Johnson is also glossing over exactly what The Patriot Way is. It seems like he doesn’t have the proper definition, which is understandable because, like your’s truly, he was a young teenager when it first came to be.
Johnson seems to describe The Patriot Way as the “how-to” manual to win a Super Bowl, when that’s not technically what it’s about.
It’s sustained success.
There have been plenty of teams that run very counter to how the Patriots operate and still have hoisted a Lombardi Trophy. The Seattle Seahawks are a recent example of team that’s won and contended multiple times with a different culture. So are the Ravens with Joe Flacco and Johnson’s Eagles this year are another.
It’s not an impossible feat by any stretch of the imagination.
But doing it for nearly 20 years, year-in and year-out? That does take something of a militaristic approach.
This Patriots Dynasty is in rarified air so you sometimes have to go beyond the NFL to find a solid comparison, but you can also look at the 49ers with Joe Montana as a buttoned down team during their run. In that spirit of going beyond the football field, most of the great dynasties that have stretched over a long period of time do mirror the Patriots.
The Red Auerbach-led Boston Celtics, the Gregg Popovich-led San Antonio Spurs, the New York Yankees of the mid-1900’s, the Detroit Red Wings and finally the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970’s are all examples of teams that have had to button things up for them to have a long and prosperous run.
Johnson’s Eagles could absolutely buck that trend, but as things stand right now they resemble more of Pete Carrol’s Seattle Seahawks, who just recently had to strip down their castle, than these great dynasties mentioned above.