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Say It Ain’t So, Ernie

Updated: May 5

The Patriots are losing a good one. After 46 years in the NFL, with a couple breaks to work on Wall Street, including the last 21 here in New England, Patriots football research director Ernie Adams is retiring.


This one hurts. Ernie was an integral part to the Patriots success, he was Bill Belichick’s right hand man and is one of the most important personnel people in franchise history.

I honestly believe there are very few people on the planet that know football like Ernie Adams. There isn’t anybody better at breaking down film, coming up with plays and formations, finding tendencies in teams and players, evaluating players, scouting analysis. He’s the best, he’s one of the greatest football minds we’ve ever seen.


His role in scouting and the draft can not be overstated. As Bill Belichick told us the other day, Ernie basically built the Patriots scouting system. The great drafting of the Patriots over the last 21 years ties right back to Ernie. He had a hand in drafting all of the great Patriots that have come through here over the last 21 years. After hearing the David Givens story, I can’t help but wonder how many other successful late round picks over the years were because of Ernie Adams?


On game days Ernie was basically Bill Belichick’s secret weapon. I loved that he would stand on the 50 yard line, every game and just watch the opposing team warm up. Looking to find anything that would give the Patriots an advantage in the game. He’d look for injuries, play call tendencies, players reps and substitutions. It was fascinating to watch. During the game, whenever Belichick had a question or was questioning himself he would call Ernie. If he wasn’t on the headset, he would have a direct phone-line to Ernie on the sideline. Ernie sat from high above the field watching and evaluated the game like no one else.

We all know the story about Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl interception but it’s worth telling again. Ernie saw Seattle run that formation on the goal line on film and made sure the Patriots practiced it during the last practice before Super Bowl XLIX just in case they needed it. Turns out it became one of the biggest calls and plays in Super Bowl history. Ernie was a film study savant, he could reference plays and formations from 20 years prior and was the go-to film guy for Bill Belichick.


We don’t hear from Ernie too often but when we do it’s captivating. I could listen to Ernie talk for hours. He’s a little peculiar but very interesting. He’s soft spoken but incredibly smart. He’s unique to say the least.

It’s hard to put into words exactly how important Ernie has been to this organization. All I can tell you is he will be missed. There will never be another Ernie Adams, I can say that for sure.


Ernie will one day take his place in the Patriots hall of fame. If you ask me Ernie Adams deserves to be recognized in the Pro Football hall of fame, the work he did with the Giants in the 80’s and the Patriots in the 2000’s and 2010’s. You will not find many personnel/scouting people in the history of the NFL with the success of Ernie Adams. He is a champion, a legend, and undoubtably one of the greatest minds in NFL history.


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