HOUSTON — Losers don’t sell, and Martellus Bennett knows it.
“Everybody wants to be associated with winners,” Bennett said. “You try to get endorsements, it’s easier when you’re on a winning team because everybody wants to be associated with winners. They don’t do commercials like, ‘We got the five-time non-playoff guy on the TV screen but he’s great, you should wear the shoes that he’s wearing.’
“They don’t do that, you know? Oh, go eat where he eats! He’s definitely a loser! So it’s like, everybody wants to pitch winners because winners sell better, so I think there is something to be said about that.”
Why are Bennett’s thoughts on marketing himself as a winner important? His contract is up at the end of this season. Whether the Patriots re-sign him remains to be seen, but Bennett has never been shy about saying he thinks he deserves to be paid.
Maybe not, however, if Bennett recognizes the value of being a Patriot off the field. He’s certainly aware that more attention has come his way this season, when he made his first appearance in the Super Bowl.
“[Expletive] yeah!” he said. “Even like, this year, I feel like I’ve been awesome for a really long time. Like, I didn’t just become myself this year. I’ve been the same guy for a long time but like, when you’re winning it’s like you’re more awesome. It’s like that cake, that’s really good, but now it has icing on that cake and everybody wants a piece of the cake.”
Bennett said he’d like to come back as a Patriot next season, and why not? He became a champion for the first time after the Patriots stunned the Falcons, 34-28, in overtime. Bennett had five catches for 62 yards.
“I mean, yeah, if it works out. I like it here,” he said before the game.
“I’ve been on other teams where they threw me the ball a lot more, but I think it’s a bigger spotlight. People see those games and they see those moments and they see you as a player.”
The spotlight is magnified by the passionate nature of sports fans in Boston, Bennett said. He said he’s found the fans to be better informed than those in other places he’s played — Dallas, Chicago, and New York.
“They’re one of the best fan [bases] because they understand football a little bit better than everybody cause they’re like true fans of the game. There have been games where people have been like, ‘Oh, you caught one ball, but we loved the way you blocked tonight.’ ’’
At the beginning of the season, it seemed fair to wonder if Bennett’s outsized personality would fit into the Patriots mild clubhouse. It hasn’t been a problem.
Bennett said he’s become close with quarterback Tom Brady, whom he pranked from behind a curtain while Brady was giving a news conference during Super Bowl week. Bennett said the two love to talk about their shared interest in interior decorating.
It’s not just Brady, though. Bennett said the Patriots gave him the nickname of “Everybody’s BFF.”
Still, Bennett did not say he’d be willing to take a hometown discount. He said he’ll look at any contract after this season and weigh the pros and cons the same way he always has.
“You do the math,” Bennett said. “There’s a number that every guy has to hit because you only get so many opportunities to actually get paid in the NFL.
“So you want to make as much money as you can while you’re doing it because this game is not guaranteed, so every guy needs to get paid and every guy probably feels like they should get paid more and I would agree with them.”
“But, it’s like, what is your motives right now? Is it championships or is it the place where you can build your legacy to do things after football? It’s like this is the brand I want to build. Is this where I want to be in four years? Can I do that in Jacksonville? Probably not.
“You know, so it’s just kind of like, a bunch of things. Family, schools, so much [expletive] goes into it. It’s crazy, it’s tough.”