Danny Amendola: Unsung Hero for the Patriots

In every championship a team captures, while there always needs to be a combination of skill and luck, the attribute that is most important is for players who didn’t have stellar seasons to step up. The championship run for the New England Patriots (where they captured their fourth Super Bowl trophy in 10 years) is the encapsulation of all those factors. It was one full of great memories that will go down in Patriots’ lore for generations to come, moments such as the Butler interception to seal their 4th title, the two 14 point comebacks against the Ravens, and the entire DeflateGate controversy, among many others. Each player did their job and all worked together to reach a common goal. Notable players, such as Brady, Gronk and Edelman, made their presence felt in the entire postseason, but there were many more who stepped up, and one player that stands out to mind is Danny Amendola.

Danny Amendola became a New England Patriot in 2013, soon after Wes Welker left the team. Originally thought to be his replacement, his role was given instead to Julian Edelman (who clearly outperformed him), another talented slot receiver. As time went by, Amendola’s role on offense quickly diminished, and he was soon just another complimentary player. His 2014 season was his worse since his rookie season (he played only one game in his 2011 season), only racking up 27 receptions for 200 yards and just one mere touchdown. As the Patriots were once again going to the postseason, Amendola’s contributions were thought to be at a minimum.

A key factor in New England’s postseason runs has always been wide receiver drastically improving their performances when in the postseason. Players like Troy Brown, Dion Branch, and David Givens are prime examples, and now, Danny Amendola has joined that group. In the postseason, Amendola caught 11 receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns, two more than what he had all regular season and tying him with Rob Gronkowski with the most by a Patriot in the postseason. Without his performance against the Ravens, one could argue the Patriots wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl, which included a 51 yard touchdown throw by Edelman, in one of the all time plays in Patriots history.

During the offseason, Amendola was facing the uncertainty of whether he was going to get cut, due to his level of productivity not exceeding his contract. What instead happen, was the restructuring of his contract from $5.7 million to $3.1 million in order for him to stay on the team. This move by Amendola tells you a lot about his character and mentality. He clearly wants to win more than anything, and is willing to go to the lengths of taking less money to do this instead of leaving for a team that would’ve surely given him the money he wished.

The regular season has already kicked off in full gear on Thursday night, where we saw the same old Amendola, grabbing only two catches for 24 yards. There may be stretches around the season where Amendola will perform at a high level and maybe rack up more than 50 yards receiving in a game and perhaps even 100, but as of right now his performance against the Steelers, barring any sort of injury to Edelman or new play calls that benefit him, will be what’s expected out of his production caliber. Amendola’s best trait in a Patriots uniform will be his reliability in times of much difficulty, as it was the case last postseason. It is a new season, however, and it will be very hard to determine what Amendola will do once the playoffs arrive, as each year something different occurs and other players step up, but one thing is very clear, he will be there whenever the team needs him to be.