In the days following Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII victory over New England, Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson caused a bit of a stir when he criticized the Patriots, calling Bill Belichick’s team a “fear-based organization.”
More than three months have past since the thrilling 41-33 Eagles win, but time hasn’t altered Johnson’s opinions about the Patriots. The right tackle backed up February’s comments in a recent interview on retired pro wrestler Steve Austin’s podcast, pointing to New England’s “arrogance” as his biggest issue with their Super Bowl opponents.
“Here’s what pissed me off. The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach, I respect Bill, I respect Tom Brady,” Johnson said on The Steve Austin Show. “But just because the way they won the Super Bowls, ‘The Patriot Way’, is that how everybody is supposed to do the same thing? No, it’s not. And that’s what I got mad at, the arrogance by them.”
“There was obviously some stuff behind closed doors. Their owner talking (expletive) to our owner. Bill talk (expletive) to our head coach. I’m not going to say it, but a lot of (expletive) kinda built up to that, and I just got tired of hearing about it, man.”
The Patriots have won five Super Bowls and eight AFC championship games in the Belichick-Brady era, and their team-first approach to the game has been deemed ‘The Patriot Way’ — as Kevin Faulk put it in The Players’ Tribune in 2017, “The Patriot Way ain’t about nothing but winning, man.”
The edict has fuelled New England’s success over the last two decades, but has also drawn the ire of opponents, like Johnson, across the NFL.
However, cracks appear to have formed in New England’s foundation as a January ESPN report outlined divisions forming between Belichick and Brady, while speculation into the playing future of the latter continued deep into the off-season.
Unfortunately for fans of the Eagles and Patriots, Johnson won’t get the chance to back up his words in the 2018 regular season as the two teams would only face off in a Super Bowl rematch.