"Do your job."
It may become the new "We're on to Cincinnati."
Patriotphiles know that's been Bill Belichick's mantra for as long the Patriots have been a dynastic presence under his reign.
But it's made a comeback of sorts this week.
It's all over Patriot Nation these days, from the Ducks at the Public Garden, to the statue of Sam Adams next to Faneuil Hall, to the top of Red Auerbach's head at Quincy Marketplace.
Red might not appreciate being used as a photo prop for a "Do Your Job" Patriots hat. But it's very likely he'd approve of Belichick's success, methods, and mantras.
"Spy Gate? Ha," Red would scoff between cigar puffs while sitting in his loge seat courtside at Eternal Paradise Garden. "When the Knicks came to Boston, we'd pay the hotel clerks to pull the fire alarms at 3 a.m. Then we'd shut off the hot water in their locker room."
The Patriots are trying to have some fun with this whole "Do Your Job" thing.
Anyone can get one of these.
It's a "Do Your Job" Statement of Work.
Among the vows:
* I will make my best efforts to wear my Patriots colors whereever and whenever, taking full advantage of casual Fridays. . .
* I will accomplish all my chores and errands before kickoff making sure to let everyone know that gameday hours are not to be interrupted.
* I will hold my head up high with whomever I interact, knowing I represent on of the greatest sports franchises on earth.
There's no mention of you should interact when the name "Aaron Hernandez" or the phrase "18-1" come up in conversation.
There's something very appealing, and very common-sensical about this whole "Do Your Job" thing.
Before this past week, its most notable incarnation in the Belichickian Universe came during the 2007 postseason in the divisional playoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The score was tied 14-14 at the half and the Hoodie wasn't happy.
"Do your job. That's what the problem is right here," Belichick said. "Take care of your responsibility and just do it right. For once."
At that time, the Patriots were 16-0.
The Patriots would win that game and go all the way to the Super Bowl, in Glendale, Ariz., before they failed to do their jobs against the New York Giants.
Belichick was at it again last Saturday against the Ravens. The Patriots had just fallen behind by 14 points for the second time in the game, down 28-14 in the third quarter. New England's return trip to Glendale teetered on the brink of cancellation.
Belichick, virtually in the same spot and in the same pose as he was on the same playoff weekend seven years earlier, game nearly an identical speech.
"Listen fellas, it's about doing our jobs. Just cover your man. Do what you're supposed to do," Belichick said. "We're trying to make too big many plays, and we're not doing what we're supposed to do. Playing the under-thrown ball. Tackling. Jamming the receivers. Just play the defense. That's all we've got to do. They're not giving us anything we haven't seen before. There are no scheme plays. It's just disciplined football. Come on, fellas, we've got 25 minutes left. We've got to get that play."
It worked. The Ravens would only score three points in the final 25:22 of the game.
"Do Your Job" is a great catch-all for life. I've used it on my son more times than he wishes to re-call. "Do Your Job" allows you to simply focus on what your responsibilities are without fretting over whether or not the guy in the next cubicle is on the phone dealing with clients or playing Clash of Clans on his iPhone.
Focusing on yourself and your own responsibilities, and not worrying about how the other guy is doing his job, frees up an incredible among of time and energy. This means you can even perform better at your job.
In much of life, and football, not much good happens when you don't do your job.
Pick the job, or the profession.
If the nurse doesn't do their job, the patient isn't going to make it no matter how successful the surgery. If the dispatcher doesn't do their job, firefighters and paramedics won't know where to go or what to expect. If the mechanic doesn't do their job, the plane is probably going to eventually crash, if it's able to take off in the first place.
So many of us fail to see the purpose, or importance of our work. In some cases, it doesn't mean much. [Yes, I know that feeling.]
For many, what they do has real value even if it isn't self-evident.
Teachers, parents, coaches. That's all obvious. If the guy making the burgers at Wendy's doesn't do his job, for instance, someone's lunch is going to be wrecked and the rest of their day is probably going to suck.
I expect my Dunks coffee to be perfect every day. And it is. And, yes, I always say "please" and "thank you."
In football, the play of the offensive line and defensive fronts often determines the outcome. In each of these clips cited above, Belichick is railing against his defense. When you're not a "skill" player, it's easy to get lost sometimes during a game that's not going well.
"Why did No. 12 throw that [expletive] interception!?!?"
Meanwhile, you're getting toasted by Steve Smith ., and Justin Forsett.
Brady's play on Saturday against the Ravens was both ballsy and brilliant. His success resulted in no small part from the fact that he got sufficient time to throw from an offensive line without Bryan Stork. That offensive line had to pass block on 51 plays, give or take a few when they had help from Julian Edleman and Shane Vereen. New England ran the ball only 13 times for 14 yards, with their four attempts in the second half all coming courtesy of No. 12.
On the defense, Duron Harmon did his job in picking off Joe Flacco on the Ravens final drive, before their Failed Mary pass at the end of the game.
Those Patriots "Do Your Job" certificates won't be worth the pixels they're printed on if the Patriots don't do their job on Sunday against the Colts. That is very unlikely. New England flattened Indianapolis earlier this season. Then-third-string running back Jonas Gray woke up on time that Sunday. He rushed for a career-high 199 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 42-20 rout.
The Patriots have lost intra-season AFC championship game rematches in the past, including last year against Denver.
This year will be different. The Patriots limped into Denver last January. Brady was left throwing to Edelman, Austin Collie and Aaron Dobson as his primary targets. They were, as Belichick no doubt said at the time, dominated in all phases of the game.
The Patriots played their best game, at least I think so, of the season last week. It was not because the defense gave up 31 points, or the fact that the offense once again sputtered early. But rather because the team played through the 60th minute and came up with a way to overcome dual 14-point deficits in a way no one expected.
All of this occurred in the playoffs against a team that had eliminated them twice since the end of the 2009 season.
This week, New England boasts a fully-healthy Rob Gronkowski for the first time ever in an AFC title game. He appears on the verge of tossing the entire Colts' secondary out of the club. Brady also has a "secret weapon" of sorts in Brandon LaFell. He caught Brady's Joe Montana-Record-Breaking 46th TD playoff pass to cinch Saturday's win. He has quietly and without much fan-fare stretched the field in a way the Patriots haven't seen since Randy Moss.
This season, the Patriots have gone from 2-2, utter chaos, turmoil, and cries for "Jimmy G. " to 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl. An evolution from "Whose job is it anyway?" to "Do Your Job," and "Doing Our Jobs." All that stands in their way is a little Luck, the rest of the Indianapolis Colts, and, of course, themselves.
The plan is simple, as always.
"Do Your Job."
Everything else will take care of itself.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Bill has reported for ESPN, CBSSports.Com, and was a sports/deputy sports editor at the Orlando Sentinel, Denver Post, and several other newspapers. Reach Bill on the OBF Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
OBF email Address. Thanks always for reading.
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