I would like to start this article off by saying that I’ve genuinely held back on writing about this fella for all of 2018. I was too depressed in February to actually talk about the Patriots, especially the reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles. Honestly, I’ve tried my best to refrain from even thinking about the Eagles, even the city of Philadelphia in general, because I get viciously irritable thinking about every second of that shitshow on turf earlier this year.
Now, it’s finally September, a new football season has begun and I feel like I can somewhat stabally, coherently speak about Lane freaking Johnson. LANE. JOHNSON. Yes, veteran Eagles tackle with quite possibly the world’s biggest mouth who also has no logical reason to have the gigantic mouth that he possesses.
Johnson first bashed the Patriots just days after beating New England on the biggest stage in sports in an interview with Pardon My Take. I wouldn’t say that myself nor other diehard Patriots fans “let it slide” perse, but we “let it slide” for the time being because we collectively had minimal will to live at that point in time. As winter turned into spring, Lane Johnson continued flapping his lips. As spring turned into summer, Lane Johnson further flapped his lips. Now, as summer turns into fall, guess who’s still flapping their lips? You guessed it Lane HECKING Johnson. Of all people.
I understand talking victory smack when you’re fresh off your first Super Bowl win, that’s cool. It hurt me because I’m a spoiled Patriots baby, but go ahead. What I don’t understand is his fixation on continuing. Not to get all Bill Belichick on you here, but buddy. That was last season. Eight-plus months ago now. You might want to shift your focus towards, I don’t know, the present? Focus on winning, like, another Super Bowl or something like that.
I would now like to create a little timeline of all of Lane Johnson’s comments towards and/or about the Patriots since February, for multiple reasons. One, to show myself and the rest of you that if you ever feel too clingy or obsessive, at least you’re not Lane Johnson. Two, to recognize just how much real estate New England owns in that man’s head for literally no logical reason. Three, I want to really sit down, analyze and attempt to understand his thinking. Four, it makes me feel better about myself as a Patriots fan. Please accept it.
Let’s go alllllllll the way back to early February, days after the Eagles raised their Lombardi trophy, when Johnson took to Pardon My Take to air out his apparent grievances with the New England Patriots, whom, let me remind you, he just beat in the world championship game:
“I just think that ‘The Patriot Way’ is a fear-based organization. Obviously, do they win? Hell yes, they win. They’ve won for a long time. Do I think people enjoy [it] and can say, ‘I had a lot of fun playing there’? No, I don’t. That’s just the God’s honest truth.
“They’re successful, but when they go to interviews, they act like fucking robots,” Johnson added at the time. “Hey, stop being a dickhead. We can be cordial for a little bit. You only get to do this job one time, so let’s have fun while we’re doing it. Not to be reckless, but I’d much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls.”
While both quotes made MAJOR post-Super Bowl headlines, as you may recall, Tedy Bruschi, former 13-year Patriots linebacker, clapped back and responded to the latter quote in the best possible way:
“Enjoy yourself, but leave the Patriots out of it. Lane Johnson, I don’t know what he’s talking about. I had a lot of fun...there were so many times that we would speak out in meetings. The entire team meeting would erupt in laughter. We were playing music on the team plane. We had so much fun in the ones that I was there. I cannot understand what he’s saying there.” “If you want a relationship and a double-date with your coach, go play with those guys...if you want to learn how to win games and consistently win games throughout your career, you play for Bill Belichick.
“Here’s the problem: The game is over. It’s been a week and he’s still talking about the team he beat. Why are you bringing up the Patriots when all you should be talking about is the celebration of your championship, the celebration of everything you did. Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles; you are world champions, but now we’re talking about the Patriots? This is the first time you’ve won one, and this is a sign when people just don’t know how to regularly win football games. You talk about the other team and talk about who you beat, bringing up other things...let me teach you how to celebrate a world championship. Because when you win back-to-back championships, from a guy who failed trying to do it and that succeeded trying to do it, you need more than planned celebrations, dog masks and trick plays. He will learn that when they try to repeat. He’s bringing up the New England Patriots in a time you shouldn’t be.”
Tedy is forever an icon, but this only further cemented his legacy as an American hero. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Like I said before, get caught up in winning your first championship, whatever. It’s human nature. Speaking about an organization and what they collectively do to successfully run the team when you’ve never stepped foot into their locker room? Wild move, brother. Wild move. You beat them literally a week ago. They took the loss like adults, as true adults do. They didn’t trash talk you guys after the game; they did literally nothing to provoke any sort of verbal attack.
You would think, especially as a veteran NFL player, you would be able to recognize, appreciate and even lust over the Patriots, their dynasty and what they’ve done since the turn of the century. You would think that if you beat them in the Super Bowl, you would speak nothing but highly of them and soak in the fact that you just beat the goddamn PATRIOTS. In the SUPER BOWL. But, nah, apparently relentlessly talking shit thinking that anyone in that building even remotely cares and wasting your breath is apparently a much better use of a grown man’s time. Good to know, I suppose.
About a week after his initial comments on Pardon My Take, Johnson made a second appearance on the podcast and doubled down on his comments, but more important, his headline-grabbing comments, after he realized how moronic he came off and sounded:
"The Patriots, obviously, they've won five Super Bowls, so it's the Patriot way to win the Super Bowl. Does that mean that everybody has to act the same way? Do the same thing? Is that necessarily the guideline to win the Super Bowl?"
...who said that the only way to win a Super Bowl is to follow New England’s “guideline”? There are multiple ways to win multiple Super Bowls, but the other 31 teams are too inept to figure it out. Johnson solidifies that scientific fact, actually. My “guideline” to winning multiple championships is simply to take football more seriously than the Philadelphia Eagles do.
Johnson was asked about the media’s reaction to his comments, specifically to guys like Bruschi and Troy Brown’s comments, impact guys who actually played for the Patriots, and he doubled down even further, again, further making himself look foolish:
“They kept interviewing ex-Patriots players. What do you think they're going to say?" said Johnson. "They're not going to bad-mouth their coach. They're not going to say what they really want to say. Do you think that's gonna happen? Hell no that's not going to happen."
So, people like Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown are liars? Got it. Appreciate the insight.
Can we take a second to discuss the fact that Johnson is absolutely, 110 percent positive that any Patriots player on any of the five Super Bowl teams who won multiple championships would have preferred being in Johnson’s spot, winning one Super Bowl and having fun, compared to winning multiple Super Bowls in a span of a couple years and “being miserable”? Again, WILD. Beyond wild, actually.
Why is “having fun” suddenly a necessity in professional football? Most importantly, where did the whole notion that playing football in Foxboro is a painful experience? Honestly asking. I can think of ten Patriots alums off the top of my head who have sang nothing but praises towards the Patriots organization in every facet. I honestly believe that because Belichick sometimes doesn’t answer the media’s questions, that therefore he treats his players like shit.
Maybe he’s heard from past, short-stint Patriots players that playing for them was difficult, so Johnson’s pea brain automatically assumes that the coaches treats their roster like slaves. W.I.L.D.
Johnson finally took a couple months off of dumping on the Patriots, only to return to his bashing via podcast when he joined Steve Austin’s podcast to pick up right where he left off, this time referring to New England’s arrogance. These quotes, from what I remember, flew under the radar, but here’s a refresher for all of you anyways:
“Here’s what pissed me off. The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach, I respect Bill (Belichick), I respect Tom Brady, but just because the way they won Super Bowls the Patriot Way, is that supposed to be how everybody else 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 shit to our owner. Bill talking shit to our head coach before the game. I’m not gonna say it, but a lot of shit built up to that and I just got tired of hearing about it, man, to be honest. I saw a defense that wasn’t overly talented. It was all really about containing Tom Brady. We had a hard time doing that. He had 505 yards. But that was really it. Going into the game, I’m not going to be shell-shocked by it. That was kind of our thing going in. I think we had the upper hand on that.”
Johnson went on to talk about Malcolm Butler, and somehow directed the conversation towards the whole “robots” shtick again:
“Like I said, they’re robots, they’re told what to do. And if you go out of line, they’ll cut your ass.”
“Everybody is half-assed scared of them, and they’re beat before they get on the field...I ain’t playing Tom Brady, I don’t give a fuck about him.”
Allow me to remind you: this is coming from a grown man, THREE MONTHS (!!!!) after he and his teammates beat them.
Also, I’m still truly curious as to where he heard that both Belichick AND Robert Kraft “talked shit” to their opponent’s counterparts. Did he make it up? Did someone within the Eagles organization make it up? Either way, I’ll go to my grave firmly believing that both Belichick and Kraft were nothing but polite towards their counterparts whenever they did encounter each other during the week leading up to the big game. I would believe this if it were any of the other thirty-one NFL teams because the other thirty-one teams are at least partially collectively braindead. The New England Patriots are the last team to publicly talk down their opponents, let alone privately talk down their opponents directly to their face.
Not to mention, ‘arrogance’? Let me guess...sometimes Belichick doesn’t answer questions so therefore he’s arrogant. That’s my wild guess, folks. He called them arrogant when referring to “The Patriot Way”, his definition of how they win championships. What? They work hard and are polite to their opponents, thus they’re arrogant? *raises hand* Mr. Johnson, can you please explain your reasoning? I’m completely lost.
“If you go out of line, they cut your ass.” I mean, yeah, that’s how a successful and responsible organization of any kind works, pal. If you do something that isn’t allowed, you’re probably not going to survive in an environment like Foxboro. That might not be how it works throughout the rest of the league, but there’s a reason why the Patriots have been to eight Super Bowls and have won five since the year 2001.
As I guarantee you recall, Johnson continued his bizzare Patriots quotes into August, AKA the preseason, as the teams played each other in Week 2. Prior to the teams playing in a meaningless game where starters played a maximum of one half, Johnson noted, “I've been waiting on this ever since the Super Bowl was over with.” Real talk, who the hell waits for a preseason game? While it still wouldn’t make sense, I could see the losing team commenting on facing the team that beat them again, not the team that WON. No team/player should be "excited" for the preseason, let alone facing the team that they beat in the Super Bowl earlier that year, IN the preseason. W I L D.
Following those comments, Johnson pat himself on the back about his immature shit-talking of the Patriots:
“People can discredit it all they want. I think it's why I get so much recognition is because a lot of it is true and they don't want to accept it. At the end of the day, man, I'm over it... it's a totally different year.”
Even HE knows it’s a different year, yet he continues talking about the past…? Makes sense to me! I love how genuinely proud of himself he is, knowing he’s riling people up, like he’s some sort of innovative genius. I strive to reach his level of self-confidence, honestly. I want to proudly spew bullshit to the world that even I know makes zero sense, especially as a full-grown adult.
One of my favorite preseason moments, if that’s even a thing, was when Belichick “responded” to a question about Lane Johnson’s comments in, you guessed it, the most Belichick-ian way possible (I don’t need to insert the quote, do I?). You just know that Johnson was PISSED about it, too. Funny how he didn’t respond to it, though. After talking shit for an entire half a year about the coach and his team, the coach finally responds and he doesn’t even acknowledge it...hm. Interesting. Definitely NOT childish at all.
Well, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, Johnson was “over it” for a total of three weeks. Three weeks! I’m proud of him, personally. The Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons kicked off the 2018-19 season on Thursday night and Philly hit the Falcons with the “Philly Special” (I promise I’ll never type nor say that ever again) (I’ve also just learned that the playcall is actually called “Philly, Philly” now which is that much more cringeworthy, holy shit), which was a trick play featuring tight end Trey Burton throwing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII. They ran it again late Thursday night, this time wide receiver Nelson Agholor tossed a critical first down to Foles once again, after gaining no yards in the first quarter and scoring only three points in the first half.
It was either a blatant gloat about their Super Bowl win, or a nod at Tom Brady dropping the pass thrown by Danny Amendola in the same Super Bowl. Based on none other than Johnson’s comments, I think it was the latter:
“It was the same play the Patriots used. The one that Tom dropped.”
Yeah. I’ve said it a million times in this article and I’ll say it again, WILD. Simply. Wild. It’s nearly mid-September and, well...yeah. Still talking about the Patriots when nobody on the team or within the organization has responded to the dude’s comments. I sincerely want to know why Johnson feels the need to keep talking about the Patriots in general. You’d think that beating the team in the Super Bowl would be satisfying enough, but what do I know.
From the moment he began spewing this incessant bullshit back in February, I wondered what his teammates/coaches/higher ups within the franchise think about his comments. Based on my gut and, well, history, I’d have to guess they don’t give a hoot. Good for them, I guess. It makes me feel better about my favorite team, as a Patriots fan, surely, knowing that as long as Bill Belichick is head coach and Robert Kraft is the owner, that no player would even think about acting the way Lane Johnson does. It is unbelievably childish on a whole other level.
I understand that this was probably a painful, repetitive article to write, but I felt the need to fully document Johnson’s quotes about the Patriots. It’s intentionally repetitive, as his quotes are equally repetitive and officially worn out. I simply cannot wrap my head around him and his “logic”; HE AND HIS TEAM WON THE DAMN SUPER BOWL YET HE TALKS SHIT ABOUT THE TEAM THEY BEAT EVERY SINGLE MONTH AND THINKS IT ISN’T DUMB. Sorry for yelling, but that is my mind right now.
The moral of the story is, if you ever, for some reason, as a Patriots fan, feel uneasy about the state of the team, please remember that they will never collectively amount to what Lane Johnson has managed over the course of the last seven months, lest, during the entirety of the offseason. I firmly believe that he will never refrain from talking about the Patriots or referencing his past quotes about them, which is simply saddening. Again, this is a grown man who plays tackle for the National Football League Philadelphia Eagles.
Lane Johnson is obsessive about the team that he beat to win his own team’s first ever Super Bowl, not to mention, one of the classiest and most successful professional sports teams in professional sports teams history. Let that sink in.