New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona (49) during warm ups prior to an NFL Super Bowl LI football game against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston. (Associated Press/Perry Knotts)
ATLANTA — Dante Scarnecchia, former Marine Sergeant, places a high value on respect for authority.
He just can't stand the phrase universally used to express it.
"Guys come in and all they ever say is, 'Yes, sir,' which I hate," Scarnecchia says.
There's a mini-rant coming.
"That's kind of a reflective phrase that says, 'Please don't yell at me anymore because I'm saying Yes, sir to you,'" Scarnecchia says. "So I tell them, 'Don't say Yes, sir.' Just say, 'OK, I got it.'"
"Don't even say that because I hate that worse," Scarnecchia says. "Just shake your head. It drives me nuts."
Scarnecchia, the Patriots' legendary 70-year-old offensive line coach, might have trouble getting his players to break this habit. It's been ingrained in many of them.
The Patriots have assembled a roster with an unusually high number of players coming from families with parents working in military or law enforcement.
"Rob Gronkowski." Go ahead. Say it to your girlfriend. Even I, a congenital Patriots-hater, must grudgingly admit that Gronk, the hard-headed, able-bodied tight end, is a tough sumbitch on the field — and a favorite with the ladies.
The skills that Navy Reserve Lt. Jesse E. Iwuji learned during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy and on active duty in became critical when he decided to pursue his true passion: becoming a professional NASCAR driver.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a five-time Super Bowl champion and an idol to virtually every God-fearing Pats fan in America. If I were a football fan, I would adore the affable Brady and envy Gisele Bündchen with every atom in my body — but even I have to laugh at the mental image of the star QB getting his leg torn up by a military working dog that clearly got a whiff of something she didn’t like.
When Joe Cardona came over to the collected media after Monday's practice outside of Gillette Stadium, he walked over in full uniform. This was not his Patriots uniform, however. This was what he wears to his other job.