Few people have had as significant an impact on the New England Patriots dynasty as former Director of Football Research Ernie Adams. Often dubbed the Patriots dynasty's "secret weapon," Adams was known for his combination of mystique and football genius.
Super Bowl LIII
After an extended stint with New England from 2000 to 2020, the Massachusetts native retired following the 2021 NFL Draft. Despite staying out of the limelight since retirement, Adams made his first broad appearance on the night of the 2022 NFL schedule release.
Adams, who spent the first decade or so of the Patriots dynasty operating behind the scenes, became a household name in New England following the airing of the 2015 documentary "Do Your Job," which detailed the journey of the Super Bowl-winning 2014-15 Patriots.
In a now-iconic scene from the documentary, Adams went into some detail about how the defense would prepare for various concepts commonly employed by the opposing offense; he showed various play cards, including one that specifically defended against the pick-slant combination that the Seattle Seahawks tried to run in Super Bowl XLIX on the goal-line at the end of the game.
Notably, it was the thoroughness of Adams' planning that allowed for the most iconic interception in Super Bowl history to actually happen. Undrafted free agent and rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was thrust into Super Bowl XLIX in the middle of the fourth quarter, was actually beat by the pick-slant combination in practice when the team was practicing leading up to the Super Bowl. Thanks to that practice, however, Butler and cornerback Brandon Browner recognized the concept coming in the game and were able to stop it.
The Patriots won all six of their Super Bowls during Adams' stint with the team, likely due to this detailed approach to preparation. While he may not be with the team anymore, his impact on the greatest dynasty in sports history is something that will continue to be felt years into the future.