Yesterday the New England Patriots acquired two of the National Football League's most notorious misfits in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco.
Had any of the thirty-one other teams in the league picked up one, let alone both of these guys, people would be calling for that teams head coach to have his head examined. But in New England with Bill Belichick, things are perceived totally differently, and for good reason.
|Photo by: Matt Campbell|
By "these type of guys," I mean players with immense talent, but loads of baggage as well.
The model is Randy Moss in 2007. He had a history of being a pain during his days with the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, yet Belichick took a chance on him. In the Patriot's team-first oriented locker room, Moss was nothing short of spectacular. He finished the year with 98 catches, 23 of them for touchdowns, and New England went 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42, a game that still makes me sick to my stomach just mentioning.
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That's just how things work in New England. They have one goal every season: Win the Super Bowl. Not just make the playoffs or win the division, they expect to win it all, period. When you go there, you either follow the team guidelines and perform, or they ship you off and replace you with someone that will do the job just as well as you did it. No one man is bigger than the team (Tom Brady excluded of course).
Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco are no different. The antics they've pulled with previous teams won't fly with the Patriots. Either they'll perform at or close to their former Pro Bowl levels, or they'll be dumped faster than you can say Rex Ryan is a beached whale.
|Photo from: sportsillustrated.cnn.com|