The cauldron of NFL coverage has turned out its share of icky clichés. That’s the nature of a league which has the shortest and most intensely scrutinized season, yet there’s a need — no, a thirst — for more after the Super Bowl in early February. We need more speculation, more narrative, more controversy, and more conjecture. Mostly, we need a football item to discuss, and anything will do.
This is how the code commonly known as the “Patriot Way” was born, and it’s now used colloquially. What exactly it means depends on who you’re speaking to, and your geographic location. Some may think it refers simply to not just winning, but winning regardless of who’s on the field. Even if, say, your star quarterback breaks his leg and Matt Cassel has to start for nearly an entire season. Onwards and upwards.
More commonly, the Patriot Way is known as a complete intolerance for any inappropriate conduct and malcontent behavior. Oh, there’s been exceptions (some briefly), but when Albert Haynesworth began reverting to his natural tendencies while not producing, he was released. And when Chad Ochocinco/Johnson was utterly unproductive, he was marginalized and discarded.
Randy Moss wasn’t able to shut up, and then he was told to talk somewhere else that isn’t the patriots dressing room. Then earlier this offseason there was the cold treatment of defensive tackle Kyle Long, who was cut after being diagnosed with diabetes. There are two core requirements to march in Belichick’s line: produce, and behave (and apparently the lesser known stipulation about not contracting a disease).
Not meeting one can result in an abrupt termination. Aaron Hernandez become the latest case study today when he was released hours after his arrest in connection with the death of Odin Lloyd.