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View from Above: Still Here - and the meaning behind the mantras

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Those marketing taglines you hear, you see and often repeat on social media – kinda memorable, right? Some are popular, and some probably not-so-popular with fans outside of New England. 

It’s not so much a catch-phrase, however, as it has been a way of life for many of the players, coaches and employees within the Patriots’ organization through this unprecedented run of success. One has begat another. 

And another, and another. But they’re all related, and repeated – every season, if not every day.  They’re words and phrases that have value in meaning, sure. But also in execution. 

Do Your Job. 

This was catchy. It was something Bill Belichick repeatedly told his team to do, whenever film and television cameras caught him “in the act” of sideline instruction. During the 2014 run to the Super Bowl, it was a mantra that repeatedly worked its way into the mindset of Patriot players and fans alike; if everyone held up their own end and performed their duties to the best of their abilities, everyone could achieve success.

It also helped, maybe just a little bit, to have doubt come aboard and drive the bus to the very end – starting with the Kansas City debacle in late September of that season and last until the very end, even when it appeared the Seattle Seahawks might just take one away from New England.

They didn’t, as history tells us today. Just do your job, the rest takes care of itself.

No Days Off. 

I’m not entirely certain there has ever been a true day off while the Belichick-era has reigned supreme in Foxboro. Perhaps that’s what makes the Patriots “the Patriots” through their historical run that began in 2001 and has led to the current reality of three straight Super Bowls and appearances in four of the past five championship games.

Sure, ‘do your job’ applies here, but professionalism, work ethic, leadership and drive also are a part of this mantra. This feeling, this presence – this attitude – is one thing that can be handed down from one season to the next, from veteran to veteran, or veteran to rookie. 

It’s the way we’ve always done things here, and it’s the way we’ll continue to do things here.

“I think everyone here is just committed to winning and really doing whatever it takes to win whether that’s Julian (Edelman) moving from quarterback to receiver,” Tom Brady told the media before departing for Atlanta, adding “whether that’s Mike Vrabel playing tight end for us or defensive players lead-blocking on the goal line or Troy Brown or Julian playing DB at different times – everyone just kind of does whatever it takes and that’s a great place to be.”

The Patriot Way? Sure, taking the attitude of “no days off” means there’s always something you can be doing to make yourself a better player, or a better person.

That Coach Belichick led the victory parade two years ago with a “No Days Off!” chant to hundreds of thousands of fans only too eager to join him, increases the significance of its meaning.

Bill said it, so it must be true?

One More. 

This has swagger to it. It has a braggadocious nature, which is perhaps one of the reasons why the Patriots can conjure up their “us against the world” mentality that appears to work so well. 

No one else likes it. Obnoxious, perhaps. But then again, no one else has really stopped them in the quest for one more, either.

Two simple, ingenious words. Two words that are creative and resourceful, but also incredibly shrewd. Let’s face it – you put quite a bit of pressure on yourself when sticking your neck out to boast about an accomplishment, an achievement or a goal. 

Need an edge? This is self-made. We expect one more. We’re going to get one more. You’re tired of the Patriots playing in one more? You want to win one more.

Sheesh. You’re inviting all kinds of criticism and ‘haterade’ out there to come barreling toward you with one more. But no one has ever accused this organization of shying away from a challenge or a boast – self-made or otherwise.

Not Done. 

See Above. The implication is obvious. The Patriots have had success, but they’re not done yet. Not done getting back to the Big One. Not done competing. Not done winning. 

Of course, it ultimately means there’s more to come, if these Patriots have any say in the matter.  “I don’t take anything for granted, I really don’t,” Brady said.  “I enjoy it. I think we all work hard at it but to get to this point is really exceptional.  I’m proud of the guys for making the commitment and it’s certainly not easy.”

“It’s been a mentally, physically, emotionally exhausting year,” Edelman explained.  “You put all that effort into overcoming (that) for this game.  It’s been a heck of a year to get to go out and play with your teammates and see how this thing’s evolved out.”

Everything We Got.

Introduced this season, this phrase does have a bit of a grammatical challenge to it. But it should also be self-explanatory, for the effort put in to achieve the current result.

“The guys in that locker room, we know how hard we’ve worked to get to this point,” defensive back Jason McCourty said last week.  And as someone who hasn’t previously experienced this kind of winning tradition, he added, “you’re just excited for this opportunity.  You’re blessed, you’re grateful for it.  

“For me, it’s easy, but for all of us in that locker room you try not to take it for granted,” McCourty added.  “You try to enjoy each and every moment of this process and remembering the journey throughout this season, what it took to get here.”

Shaq Mason explains what Everything We Got means and putting in all the work this way. “We go through everything together.  Off-season, we’re all together.  There’s a lot of long days and you’ve got to love somebody else who’s putting in that same work as you each and every day. You know you’re not the only one going through it.  You can depend on those guys and your brothers to help you push through.”

Or, maybe Patrick Chung put it best? “You’re playing for your family,” he explained.  “If someone takes a cheap shot at somebody, we don’t take cheap shots, but you remember it.  It’s like someone trying to get your brother.  If you’ve got a brother or sister, I hope you go fight for them.  If not, then you guys suck.”

It is, what it is.

Still Here.

Trending within the social media maze, popularized by an Instagram post from Brady and Rob Gronkowski in the past week, as an answer to the many who have wondered about an ability for this team to ‘do it’ again. 

Teams, organizations, companies that have success on a repeated basis are always going to face a certain amount of doubt. Can you do it again? Can you keep it up? There’s a natural amount of disbelief that comes with the question. 

“That doesn’t go just for football,” according to McCourty.  “That’s anything you’re doing in life.  You’re always going to have somebody that’s saying something about you in a negative form or fashion.  I think for each and every individual you try to use that to push you, to motivate you whether it really meant something to you, whether it didn’t.

“It’s still something that you’ve heard, something that you’ve read, and I think it may be a little bit of extra motivation,” he added.  

So I guess, doubt if you must. Or, perhaps you can celebrate another memorable run. Whichever side of the fence you’re leaning on, it’s apparent the Patriots have found some real meaning behind these catch-phrases as a part of their bigger picture.  

Or their primary mantra.

And that’s to win.  Just.  Win. And if they don’t win, they’ll pick right up where they left off again next year.

Which means, of course – they’re still here.

John Rooke, an author and award-winning broadcaster, is concluding his 26th season as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Patriots.com Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for more than 30 years and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and RI's Words Unlimited Hall of Fame.

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