New England Patriots: A Thank-You note to the great Lane Johnson

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 05: Fans display signs during the New England Patriots Super Bowl Victory Parade on February 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 05: Fans display signs during the New England Patriots Super Bowl Victory Parade on February 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots greatest victory on Sunday was not only winning Super Bowl LII but shutting the mouth of Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson.

It’s easy to criticize how a franchise is run when you beat them in the biggest game.  A year ago at this time, the NFL world got to know Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson who, basking in all his glory, spent more time taking shots at the New England Patriots than kissing the Lombardi Trophy.

He said it wasn’t fun to play in New England.  To Mr. Johnson, having a great time while winning was so much greater than winning multiple Super Bowl champions on the model of consistency, hard work and discipline.

He called players like Willie McGinest and Tedy Bruschi company men for defending the Patriot Way.  He basically called the Bill Belichick method a dictatorship, a fear-based organization that had players afraid to make mistakes.  Above all he said he rather win one Super Bowl than “be miserable and win five Super Bowls.”

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Well, how about six?

You see Lane Johnson, as New England Patriots fans we thank you.  Without you dedicating your entire victorious offseason to bashing a team that has been on top of the league for two decades, perhaps Belichick wouldn’t have softened.  Perhaps newcomers like Cordarrelle Patterson and Jason McCourty wouldn’t have had so much fun…working hard and winning football games.

If it wasn’t for you Lane Johnson, a rookie running back like Sony Michel wouldn’t have fought hard to overcome a knee injury to make history in the postseason as a rookie rushing for six touchdowns.  Maybe, just maybe Tom Brady wouldn’t have found another ounce of youth in that old, pretty boy 42-year-old body.

Oh, and all that celebrating the team did after wins against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams wouldn’t have been possible without you Lane Johnson.  Then again, you got to watch that from your couch.  It’s hard work to repeat in the NFL.  It’s hard to even make the playoffs over and over again.

Yes, yes, you are being given too much credit or even acknowledgement.  Then again, that’s the fun part of six Super Bowl championships in nine appearances since 2001.  Take a shot at the New England Patriots, even when they seem vulnerable, usually results in the organization having the last laugh.

Players like Duron Harmon, Rex Burkhead and Jason McCourty, with big smiles on their faces, got to clap back at you a year later.  They appreciate the fun in winning.  They appreciate the fun when it results from hard work and dedication.  In your eyes, they may be “robots,” but they are certainly shining just a couple days after winning Super Bowl LIII.

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While you will never see the New England Patriots organizing touchdown celebrations or trash talking other teams in public, the “fun” you said doesn’t happen in the Patriot Way has taken on a new definition.  They have been looser this year perhaps because of your words, but the “f” in fun doesn’t happen with that thing called focus.

To you Lane Johnson, any team can catch lightning in a bottle and win a Super Bowl.  Now, you realize what it takes to defend that Super Bowl.

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So, next season at this time, if it is you and the Philadelphia Eagles celebrating another championship, spend more time enjoying the moment and preparing to defend that title than taking shots at a team that has been defending championships since you were in grade school.

As Bill Belichick would say…we’re now on to the 2019 NFL offseason.