Grab your pets, frequently used electronics, and any loved ones you can still carry, for the end is nigh: The Patriot Way is back. Just last week, Greg Garber at ESPN wrote a long piece on The Patriot Way, the very concept of which should have been rejected by any editor within a 100-mile radius. With another AFC Championship Game appearance aided by cast-offs and replacement players, we're sure to hear more on the subject. (If you're unfamiliar with why this is such a ridiculous concept, Drew Magary has written expertly about it.) Hide under the largest available rock.
Even worse, the disease is spreading. In an effort to justify hiring Jay Gruden, Redskins GM Bruce Allen began talking about "The Redskins Way" (apparently sans irony) during an interview. Perhaps this is a clue as to how to vanquish this horrible plague. A team's "way" is shorthand for something many believe to be unique about that team. If we find each team's "way," then it's no longer unique, and we can never talk about it ever again.
In an effort to rid ourselves of this once and for all, I've compiled a list of each NFL team's "way." Let's hope this works.
Arizona Cardinals: Continue operating on flimsy year-by-year rebuilding plans and drafting terrible quarterbacks until you accidentally stumble upon a competent veteran quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons: Overcompensate for a former player's vicious criminal past by creating the blandest roster ever assembled.
Baltimore Ravens: Pretend football is a reenactment of the Crusades.
Buffalo Bills: Be a disappointment to everybody except your opponents. Give your fans a justification for plentiful imbibing.
Carolina Panthers: Fight everyone.
Chicago Bears: The sole criteria for being a good football player is whether you can survive a brick being hurled at your face.
Cincinnati Bengals: Believe the length of a player's criminal record is positively correlated with on-field performance.
Cleveland Browns: Lose.
Dallas Cowboys: Ride faded glory for decades while manufacturing an aura of inflated self-importance.
Denver Broncos: Wait for the best quarterbacks in NFL history to become available.
Detroit Lions: Basic probability dictates that if you take a wide receiver in every single draft, one of them is bound to be good eventually.
Green Bay Packers: Love Thy Fullback.
Houston Texans: Remain steadfast in your dedication to overall mediocrity.
Indianapolis Colts: Ignore every position except quarterback and pass rusher.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Every aspect of your franchise should reflect your lack of desire to be taken seriously.
Kansas City Chiefs: Ensure that the stadium will always be the best thing about your franchise.
Miami Dolphins: Consistently reduce the quality of your quarterbacking such that Dan Marino will always be a viable alternative.
Minnesota Vikings: Let Adrian Peterson be the organizational Band-Aid for everything else you can't get right.
New England Patriots: Use the financial might of the organization to practice revisionist history and pretend bad things never happened.
New Orleans Saints: Wait for a horrific natural disaster that cripples your city to become a great football team so nobody resents your success.
New York Giants: Sit tight until Eli wakes up from his afternoon nap.
New York Jets: Do whatever's necessary to make your respectable fans ashamed to identify themselves.
Oakland Raiders: Do the stupid thing.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sign players with names people recognize.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Hold only your expendable players to the highest standard of wholesome Midwestern values.
San Diego Chargers: Squander talent with poor coaching.
San Francisco 49ers: Everything you do is important for football even though you were terrible for a decade.
Seattle Seahawks: It doesn't matter if you win or lose as long as you set the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium.
St. Louis Rams: Very quietly assert there was a time when you mattered.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Never hire a better coach/quarterback tandem than Jon Gruden/Brad Johnson.
Tennessee Titans: Hide in the corner while everybody else fights hoping to be the last man standing. Flip off people who point out that's not how sports work.
Washington Redskins: Enrage everybody.