Let me first say that I love Randy Moss, I knew those who were writing his football obituary were wrong, I knew he was going to blow up the league this year, and I’m glad he had a record year, broke Jerry Rice‘s record, and will get to play in the Super Bowl.
That said, with the exception of Moss, I cannot stand the New England Patriots. The Sporting News had an article some months back that quoted Joe Montana‘s wife, as the 49ers approached their third Super Bowl title, complaining that everyone now hated San Francisco. Everyone used to love the 49ers but now that they were going for, and likely to win, a three-peat everyone was against them. It was in this context that the article tried to explain the animosity many now feel against the Patriots.
Dynasty fatigue certainly explains part of my loathing for the Pats but it’s much more than that. I haven’t felt this way about the Patriots until this year but now I think they are a bunch of punks. Here’s why:
First and most obviously, the Patriots are cheaters. They are documented cheaters. They got caught red-handed cheating. And now there are reports that they cheated before their first Super Bowl victory by taping a St. Louis Rams walk through before the game. If you know what your opponent plans to do beforehand, it is clearly a huge advantage.
Patriots apologists–mostly the NFL talking heads and broadcasters who are supposed to be impartial as they call games–dismiss the cheating by saying that now that they’ve been fined and their documents have been turned into the league, they are no longer cheating and besides, they are superior team anyway, which their undefeated season proves and can’t we put this behind us finally and forever and declare Tom Brady God?
Well, I don’t know that the Patriots haven’t continued to cheat. How can I? Roger Goodell destroyed all the evidence? There is only one reason you destroy evidence; because it is damning. So I’m not buying that the Patriots are that good and that they no longer benefit from their years, it turns out, of cheating.
A less talented and less athletic team can vastly outplay a superior team if they know what their opponent is going to do. I know this first-hand from playing football myself by peaking into the opponents’ huddle and watching the quarterback diagram a play. When it works, it works beautifully because I know exactly what the team is going to do and can put myself in position to defeat the play.
Because the evidence has been destroyed, I don’t know how good Tom Brady. I don’t know that he hasn’t simply benefited from the Patriots’ cheating.
The Patriot Way = Arrogance
From Head Cheater Bill Belichick on down, the Patriots are breathtakingly arrogant. And it’s Belichick who sets the tone. LaDainian Tomlinson expressed his disdain for the classlessness of the Patriots in general and Belichick in particular last year after the Patriots rubbed the Chargers‘ nose in the dirt following their playoff victory:
After Mangini exposed the Patriots cheating ways, the Patriots made a point of running up the score on their opponents. Bush league. And I mean that in both the traditional and presidential sense (or, perhaps they’re one and the same).
Perhaps the biggest joke of the year was Tom Brady being named Sportsman of the Year.
There is a team in my touch football league that is extremely talented and they play very smart football. They nearly always wain the championship. Winning is so important to them that they pay people to play with them so they have the best talent. Pretty lame in my book for a touch football league, but there you go. They are fun to play with and friendly and good sports…when they are winning. When they are losing, they turn into a bunch of whiny pricks who try and knock you over and complain to the refs about every play. They turn into ***holes.
The Patriots behaved exactly like them toward the end of the year when they had been in close games and were losing.
The only good thing to come out of the Patriots this season is that we will finally shut the 1972 Dolphins the hell up:
So that’s my indictment against the Patriots. I my mind, they will forever be associated with Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and they’re accomplishments will thus be followed by the qualifying asterisk.