Danny Amendola was one of Bill Belichick's very few big investments from the free agent pool, signing a five-year deal worth $28.5 million back in the 2013 offseason. He turned into a favorite target of Tom Brady and played a big part in three Super Bowl runs in his five seasons with the franchise. He even earned a "Playoff Danny" moniker among fans.
Amendola departed after the 2017 season and has bounced around in Miami and Detroit. He's an unrestricted free agent this offseason and could very well retire. He's 35-years-old with two rings and won't be looking at anything more than a one-year deal for cheap after playing 14 games and catching 46 passes for 602 yards and no touchdowns last year.
With that in mind, Amendola might be trying to jump-start a career in media with a great soundbite today. Appearing on First Things First, Amendola shared his thoughts on the Brady/Belichick dynamic and declared that the Patriot Way is about playing with Tom Brady, not playing for Bill Belichick.
"The Patriot Way" was an overused trope five years ago and remains the same today. No one individual factor can be pointed to as the reason New England became the greatest dynasty in sports history. Yes, Brady was a very big factor, but it's unlikely his success would be as outlandish if he were paired with anyone other than Belichick in his rookie season. Similarly, all of Belichick's football acumen would have been for naught many years without the greatness of Brady. Recipes of any type need every ingredient to create the ideal outcome. Calling the whole strategy "the Patriot Way" is just a simplified way of explaining the absurd run the team went on for two decades while including defining characteristics like a constant stream of cookie-cutter media answers and attention to the most minute of details.
But Amendola is speaking from a player's perspective, which makes it more interesting. It is probably more true in football than any other sport that great players can overcome bad coaching, but great coaching cannot overcome bad players. His sentiment also gives more credence to Rex Ryan's declaration from last week that the Patriots are going to struggle to attract free agents now because guys were signing up to play with Brady, not to work for Belichick.
It should also be noted that Amendola is definitely a Brady guy and goes to the Kentucky Derby with him. So the chances of him saying anything other than this in a public forum are slim to none.