Patriots embrace team concept

Teams from the NFL level on down should pay close attention to how the Patriots were put together.

Updated: February 15, 2005, 11:41 AM ET
By Merril Hoge | ESPN Insider
The Super Bowl always comes down to the team that's more disciplined and unselfish. A team must be committed to itself and nothing else to taste the spoils of victory, and the New England Patriots have embraced that thought process. They've been this way since the 2001 season, when they entered the field at Super Bowl XXXVI as a team instead of being introduced individually.

That gesture showed how important the accomplishments of the team ranked over the individual. I bet that to a man this team doesn't care about the personal accolades that can come with playing football as much as winning. It shows in the players' dedication to film study and in their willingness to move around and change their roles.

Former NFL fullback Merril Hoge is an analyst for a wide variety of NFL programs on television and ESPN Radio. An eight-year NFL veteran, Hoge spent 1987-93 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and joined ESPN in 1996.