It takes a certain mentality to abide by Bill Belichick’s “Patriot Way.”
The New England Patriots coach is well known for being second-to-none in preparation and the first to make a roster move if someone can’t handle the culture, but according to Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman, Belichick has gotten softer in recent years.
Edelman said New England was a difficult place to play on “Pardon My Take,” admitting that it’s “mentally, physically and emotionally draining to play for the Patriots.”
However, he did stress that things have changed a bit since he was drafted by the Patriots in 2009.
“I think (Bill) is the same guy when it comes to preparation, discipline and all that,” Edelman said. “He’s probably one of the best evolvers in the league and yes, honestly it has gotten softer from when I first got there.”
Edelman said that, while players think their practice regiment is difficult now, it’s nothing compared to the early years when they held two-a-days for seven to eight days straight. He credits how Belichick has adapted his methods to fit the types of players that are coming into the league.
According to Edelman, his coaching style is almost impossible to replicate.
“There’s only one guy that’s Bill,” Edelman said. “He’s been in the league for 40 years. He started his career with the Baltimore Colts. This guy, you can’t just go and harp like you’re Bill Belichick because he’s got a respect level that everyone knows about, so I don’t know. I have fun.”
An example of that fun was when the Patriots opted to play paintball instead of practice during OTAs earlier this month. Edelman described the experience as “amazing,” and said that though there’s parts of the process he doesn’t like doing, they do fun team-building activities and go on field trips.
“It was pretty fun walking by and seeing Bill crawl,” Edelman said of the paintball outing. “I swear to God, I think he got hit like four times and didn’t get up and people were hitting him. It was hilarious.”
Whether the fun part is playing for the Patriots or actually winning champions in unknown, but Edelman is content working harder than anyone else if it means being part of championship parades and going to Disneyland.