The NFL is a ferris wheel. Everyone is tied to the same system, and that system is designed to push some segments down as others rise, only for the risers and fallers to alternate the with the next turn of the gear. The New England Patriots have found a way out of this system.

I know you think you know the two reasons why: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The most successful quarterback-head coach combination in NFL history have put together 16 consecutive winning seasons with 14 playoff trips in that span — including a season in which the Pats sustained a season-ending injury to Brady, posted an 11-5 record and somehow still missed the playoffs — seven AFC championships and five Super Bowl victories.

But there is another reason beyond those two guys. As we know, it takes more than a head coach and a quarterback to build a winning football program. Belichick and Brady provide the framework for the most important aspect of the Patriots’ culture: a culture of accountability and professionalism.

Julian Edelman explains below.

“There’s an accountability factor that both sides of the ball have for each other. Each day in practice, we — and we practice hard, now, there’s fights going on all the time — but if I look at the guy across from me… he’s going to make me better. And when he makes me better, when I’m giving my best it’s going to make him better.”