Even if you’re sick of seeing them win, every football fan knows about the New England Patriots’ recent success. Between 1960 and 2000, the club made the playoffs 10 times; since Bill Belichick took over, the Patriots have become a fixture in the postseason, winning six Super Bowls. From the outside, it seems like New England has found some sort of secret formula, allowing them to succeed year in and year out.
According to Lamar Miller, though, things are actually pretty simple. As a new arrival in New England, the veteran running back confirmed that, while the Patriots do things a bit differently, their key to success could actually be quite simple.
Bill Belichick has turned the New England Patriots into a dynasty
Every sports fan hopes that their team hires the right head coach, drafts a franchise quarterback, and develops into a dynasty. In New England, the Patriots have made that dream a reality.
As mentioned above, the franchise didn’t have the most awe-inspiring history; barring a losing trip to the Super Bowl in 1985 and another in 1996, the Patriots simply didn’t go deep into playoffs. Two men, however, would change all that.
In 2000, Bill Belichick took over as the team’s head coach and de facto general manager. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, he changed New England’s culture. Thanks to ‘the Patriot Way’ and a mantra of ‘do your job,’ the club developed into an efficient football machine; no matter which player left in the offseason, it never seemed to affect their performance.
Belichick, however, did get an assist from Tom Brady; building a dynasty becomes easier when you have the same star quarterback running the offense for two decades.
Lamar Miller says the Patriots take conditioning incredibly seriously
As an outside observer, it’s easy to let your mind wander imagining Bill Belichick’s secret to success. According to Lamar Miller, who signed with the New England Patriots in August, things are actually pretty simple in Foxborough.
According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, the veteran running back was asked about the differences between the Patriots and his previous teams. Miller pointed to one thing: conditioning.
“I’d say the conditioning part,” he explained. “Since I’ve been in the league, I’ve never ran that much. It was just different for me. They make sure you’re in top, great shape. That’s something I haven’t experienced.”
In might seem simple, but focusing on conditioning is peak Bill Belichick
After reading Lamar Miller’s quote, you might be wondering how an NFL player can think it’s unusual to be in great shape. The answer, however, is peak Bill Belichick.
If we know one thing about the long-time Patriots coach, he focuses on the little things; those small efforts ultimately set the stage for larger successes. While conditioning might seem like a no-brainer, Belichick isn’t simply happy with getting his players into decent shape; as detailed by Phil Perry of NBC Sports, there’s an expectation that every Patriot pushes himself to the limit, usually by running the hills near Gillette Stadium’s practice fields.
“That hill’s great,” director of player personnel Nick Caserio told Sirius XM Radio, according to Perry. “That hill gets them in shape pretty quickly. Those guys don’t like it, but they’ll probably in the fourth quarter realize it’s worthwhile.” While it’s impossible to say, that conditioning could have helped the Patriots mount their famous Super Bowl comeback against the Atlanta Falcons.
We’ve all heard talk of ‘the Patriot Way’ and the team mantra of ‘do your job,’ but Lamar Miller’s quotes help place things into a larger context. While there’s something to be said for organizational stability, Bill Belichick hasn’t turned the Patriots into a dynasty thanks to Tom Brady and some black magic. Instead, his focus on easily overlooked details, like conditioning and pregame preparation, ensures that his team always has the best chance of success.
Running hills and doing conditioning work might not be exciting or innovative, but, based on Lamar Miller’s insights, it’s a key element of how Bill Belichick turned the New England Patriots into a dynasty.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference