The Patriots have the equation for success...
The NFL has changed dramatically in the last quarter-century, but the Patriots are closing in on a reign of dominance that equals the Steelers'. And yet these aren't the same Patriots as the ones who shocked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI — in fact, 25 players on this year's roster weren't even on the Patriots' most recent championship team. If the Patriots win the title this year, 10 players will get their fourth Super Bowl ring, but more than twice as many will get their first.
I've heard a lot of theories about how the Patriots have done it, but too often those theories include words like "heart," "desire," or "swagger." I was interested in something more quantifiable, so I called James Lavin, a Ph.D. economist who wrote the book "Management Secrets of the New England Patriots."
In talking to Lavin and reading his book, I found it striking how wrong the media-driven notion that the Patriots are cheap is. The Patriots aren't unwilling to pay their players, as so many commentators said about them when they traded receiver Deion Branch rather than giving him the money he wanted, and when they sent veteran defensive backs Lawyer Milloy and Ty Law packing. The Patriots are willing to pay plenty for the right players.
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