The New England Patriots are the most successful pro football team of the 21st century, in big part because of their willingness to target value and show financial restraint if need be. This approach to the business-side of the game has helped the franchise win six Super Bowls and stay atop the NFL for almost two decades now. However, it seems as if it also turned New England into a polarizing destination among the league’s free agents.
Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko recently polled 15 of the league’s top agents asking them which teams they would rank as the most and least desirable for their clients to play for. The reigning world champions, true to their form as one of the hotly-debated sports franchises in the United States, find themselves on both lists: New England received three votes in each of the two categories.
“New England is polarizing. Some guys really want to be there, others definitely want to stay away,” one of the agents asked for the story said about the Patriots. Together with the Green Bay Packers, New England is the only team to win a Super Bowl within the last decade to find itself in the top-10 of least desirable destinations. One of the agents, concluded this result as follows: “I couldn’t decide which list those two belong in.”
The reasons for the Patriots’ status among free agents are not hard to find. On the one hand, the team has a proven track record of excellence. On the other however, it drives as hard a bargain as any in the league. Furthermore, New England has proven itself one of the toughest places to play for with high standards that contributed to its run of success since head coach Bill Belichick took over in 2000.
All this combined has turned the Patriots into the best-run club in football, but one that does not always end up being viewed favorable among players on the open market. Safe to say, however, that they are not exactly bothered by this in any way.