Morning sports update: Rob Ninkovich was asked about Danny Amendola’s comments on Bill Belichick, ‘Patriot Way’

"Look, the way Bill coaches is the Patriot Way. And for 20 years, they had Tom Brady to embody that philosophy perfectly."

Rob Ninkovich
Rob Ninkovich in 2016. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

The Celtics defeated the Warriors 111-107 for an “ugly” win on Tuesday night. Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with 27 points.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Celtics, who play again tonight against the Kings at 10 p.m.

Also tonight, the Bruins face the Flyers at 8 p.m.

Rob Ninkovich’s take on Danny Amendola: Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola drew attention earlier this week when he made a fairly provocative statement about the legacy of the “Patriot Way.”

“When you see the ‘Patriot Way’ in the dictionary, it’s going to have Tom Brady’s picture next to it,” Amendola said on FS1’s “First Things First” during a Monday interview. “None of those coaches threw any passes, none of those coaches caught any passes, none of those coaches made any tackles. They got guys in the right position because they watched a lot of film and they spent all their time at the facility. But Tom Brady is the ‘Patriot Way,’ and that’s the reason why he’s in the Super Bowl and the Patriots aren’t.”


Amendola, 35, played with the Patriots from 2013-2017, helping New England win two Super Bowls.

A day later, he clarified that he’s not “anti-Bill” (in reference to Bill Belichick), and “loved” playing for the longtime Patriots coach. Still, he took issue with some of Belichick’s negotiating tactics.

“I had to negotiate my contract with him three years in a row by myself and take pay cuts to help him and put rings on his fingers. It kind of wore me the wrong way,” Amendola said to FS1 host Colin Cowherd. “So I felt like it was in the best interest for me to move on.”

On Wednesday, one of Amendola’s former Patriots teammates, Rob Ninkovich (now an ESPN analyst), was asked about the wide receiver’s comments.

“Well I talked to Danny Amendola yesterday,” Ninkovich began. “Danny lives by the seat of his pants, he lives a certain way.

“Look, the way Bill coaches is the Patriot Way,” Ninkovich continued. “And for 20 years, they had Tom Brady to embody that philosophy perfectly. The way that Bill coaches his team to be putting the team first, not selfish, doing what’s best for the team, putting the team’s goals in front of your own personal goals. That was Tom Brady. He was able to do that for 20 years.


“I get players sometimes, they start to lose the concepts of look, ‘We’re the ones out here making the catches and the tackles and all the things that win you the football game,’ but the way Bill coaches the team is the Patriot Way,” said Ninkovich. “Tom was a great, great Patriot for 20 years and he was what everyone came into that building to see this is how you do it, this is Tom Brady, I’m looking up to that guy. Oh, he’s a Super Bowl champ, he’s an MVP, that’s the way I do it. That’s the way I go to work. That’s the way I go to meetings, [those] are the notes I take. That’s how Tom was able to be such a leader in that locker room.

“Bill and Tom together, they created that,” Ninkovich concluded.

As far as interpreting Amendola’s intent, Ninkovich concurred that Belichick can be difficult to deal with on contract issues.

“I don’t think he was trying to take a shot at Bill the coach,” Ninkovich explained. “I think that there could be some issues there, when you’re negotiating your own contract with Bill, he looks at you and says, ‘Well you’re kind of old, and you’re slow,’ I mean sometimes that hurts you. It hits you a certain way.


“I’m sure Danny was feeling a type of way, he was feeling a type of way in that interview, so he decided to, you know, shots fired, right?” Ninkovich added. “So at the end of the day, Danny Amendola has done so much for the Patriots organization in the playoffs. We all know what Bill has done for the Patriots, and that collective work together has made that run so magical. I got two rings for it, so guess what? Thanks Danny for catching that ball in the Super Bowl to give us a two-point conversion twice, and Bill thanks for all the time and effort, because the guy sleeps in the building three nights a week.”

Trivia: Rob Ninkovich was selected by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL draft. What two-time All-Pro (and four-time Pro Bowler) did the Patriots take a few picks earlier in the fourth round of that year’s draft?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He played his college football at Memphis, and was still in the NFL as of the 2020 season.

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Former UMass Hobey Baker Award winner Cale Makar: The former fourth overall pick has been showing off some quality moves in the last week, even if it didn’t result in a goal on this occasion.

On this day: In 2002, the Patriots won the Super Bowl for the first time in team history thanks to a last-minute drive from Tom Brady and the New England offense. The 20-17 win over the Rams was seen at the time as one of the greatest upsets in modern history.


“That’s the way you should win a Super Bowl,” concluded John Madden, who famously doubted the initial decision to let Brady try to put a drive together. The legend, and the dynasty, was born.

Daily highlight: Texas forward Greg Brown — currently listed in extremely early NBA draft projections as a possible Celtics pick — threw down a tremendous dunk on Baylor. Unfortunately for Brown, his enthusiasm was a little too much, and he was given a technical foul.

Trivia answer: Stephen Gostkowski

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