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Viewpoint: ​Patriots victory mirrors the larger winning culture in Boston

Published in Press, Other

Boston Business Journal

February 9, 2017

The New England Patriots Super Bowl victory, while miraculous itself, has meaning that goes far deeper than the greatness of this team. The victory speaks to the very heart of a local culture that is producing a record number of triumphs well beyond the playing field — into the fields of business, medical, life science, biotechnology and innovation.

While the connection between the Patriots' success and the success of Boston as a whole may seem tenuous, it is actually quite direct.

When one stops to analyze how a single sports team that uses the same number of players as its competition, puts to use approximately the same number of dollars, in roughly the same size stadium, yet produces such disproportionate success, one has to wonder why?

Yes, we have a gifted and age-defying quarterback, a brilliant field general as a coach, and exceptional ownership. However, there is far more to the Patriots' record of success than pure talent. It is a team that is the product of a culture that rewards discipline, focus, hard work and intelligence — and punishes showmanship, ignorance and bad behavior. These attributes mirror the culture of Boston itself and it is more than coincidence that the “New England” in the New England Patriots has a deep influence on the extraordinary record of this team.

The same tenets behind the Patriots Super Bowl victory mirrors the tenets behind the remarkable winning streak we are now witnessing in Greater Boston as a whole. While it may seem provincial, we have a value system in this area that goes to the heart of success. It is no accident that at a time when our home teams are winning championship after championship, we have scored GE’s corporate headquarters, we have tackled Amazon and potentially others as major area tenants, we have become the life sciences capital of the world, and have seen our medical, cultural and educational institutions set the standard around the globe.

The success of everything Boston is not a case of a culture obsessed with winning, but rather winning being a byproduct of our culture. It is not a new story that educated populations outperform those that are not but it is becoming increasingly clear that our deep rooted and long standing tradition of acquiring knowledge in combination with a traditional set of values that promotes hard work, team play, honesty and civility is creating victories like no time in our history. While Boston from its very beginnings has been known for its revolutionary thinking and remarkable lists of firsts — ranging from the invention of the telephone to the creation of the internet — there has been a transformation in this area more recently that is almost palpable.

We are seeing population growth when it had been long predicted that our census would shrink due to an aging population moving to the Sun Belt. We are seeing industries such as robotics, 3-D printing, genomics and nanotechnology pop up, seemingly overnight. Some have described our biotechnology sector in terms of Rome — where all roads lead to Kendall Square. All of this success has a common thread in a society whose priorities start with education and respect for traditional values.

The Patriots victory represents more than just a spectacular evening of entertainment. From Julian Edelman’s immaculate reception, to Danny Amendola’s end-zone heroics, to Tom Brady’s laser-like resolve, the Patriots performance was the ultimate demonstration of a culture that is winning.

Bruce A. Percelay is chairman of the Boston-based Mount Vernon Co.

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