The National Pastime is baseball. Everyone knows that. But when it comes to the most popular sport in this beautiful country of ours, it’s football and it isn’t even close.
As for the 2nd most popular sport...that one isn’t close, either. It’s hating the New England Patriots.
The hate that this team gets, from opposing fans, opposing coaches, members of the media, and pretty much everyone who doesn’t live in the upper right hand corner of the United States is all-consuming and ubiquitous. Sure, it can get old at times, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. The day people stop hating this team is the day they are no longer relevant. And that, my friends, is not this day.
A lot goes into hating the Patriots, to be honest. It’s more or less a 24/7 job. After all, those Tweets and Facebook posts and internet comments aren’t going to write themselves. And with the Patriots now going to their eighth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Era, it’s time to keep that hate flowing for just a little while longer and keep those fires stoked. It’s time to revive what has become almost a yearly tradition: figuring out how to spin the narrative to make it seem like the Patriots don’t deserve any of the success they’re experiencing.
The good news is that unlike years past, should the Patriots win in a few weeks, there’s no need to wait until after the game to start figuring out what the best angle for the “Patriots got handed another one” narrative that keeps so many people hanging on. On the contrary, folks can get right to it.
With previous Patriots Super Bowls, that full storyline didn’t start coming together for everyone for quite a while. People didn’t figure out that Patriots actually cheated their way to the first three and don’t deserve those rings all the way until SpyGate broke in 2007. You couldn’t say that the Patriots were gift wrapped another Lombardi they shouldn’t have won via horrible playcalling and choking when the game was on the line until after the last two Super Bowls were over. Then there were the two the Pats lost, both of which represented the end of the dynasty and the collapse of the millennium - but even with those, you had to wait until the game was over.
I mean, sure, there’s always the whole “the refs are in New England’s pocket and made sure that whenever things got dicey, a bogus flag or a slew of overlooked holding calls made sure to keep the Patriots in it” card to play, but that’s not unique to the playoffs. Everyone knows that when you play the Patriots, you play the zebras too, from August through February, so that’s not really unique to these next few weeks. There’s no expiration or blackout dates on the RefBlamer Express Card, and you’re always guaranteed bonus miles when you use it.
This year, though, I feel like the storyline is already there for the taking, and Patriots haters won’t have to put in as much overtime as they seek to discredit everything this team has ever done.
After all, New England had a cakewalk through the AFC playoffs and didn’t beat anybody of note throughout the entire postseason. And now they’re going up against Nick Foles.
Never mind the Jags defense, or Marcus Mariota’s ability as a passer. Never mind that both of New England’s playoff opponents defeated very good NFL teams with a solid gameplan and flawless execution. Never mind the quality of the defenses that have been the talk of the 2017 postseason. Never mind that you have to play whoever is in front of you, and the Patriots have no control over who they will be going up against.
I mean they leave that to the refs, right? Am I right? Oh those crazy refs!
What matters now, if you’re sick and tired of seeing the Patriots do what they do, is that it won’t be that hard to discredit the Patriots should they go on and win Super Bowl LII. They clearly haven’t really played anyone. Brady has to go through glorified backups to get there. The NFL is rigged and it’s probably time to just stop watching this phony disgrace of a league who wants the Patriots in the Super Bowl because it makes more money. May as well just put that asterisk on this next game now.
That storyline writes itself. That must be a real load off for anyone who was worried they wouldn’t have a reason to consider a potential sixth Patriots Lombardi Trophy as tainted and unimpressive as the first five.
Plus...what if the Patriots lose next week to a very, very good Eagles team? Another phenomenal defense, only this time on the road - but with Nick Foles at QB? How great would that be? You can troll Tommy B for the rest of his life if he drops a game to Foles. I don’t know what will be more fun to say, “18-1” or “Foles.” What a toss-up that will be.
Philly looked unstoppable tonight. If the team that just manhandled the best defense in he league shows up in a few weeks, the Patriots are going to be in for an exremely long day. But let’s not let that get in the way of the narrative, though; New England doesn’t deserve this one either.
So no need to despair if you’re less than pleased with how this postseason is shaping up. If the Patriots win, nobody is going to take it seriously because they didn’t really beat anyone to get that ring anyway. And if they lose, Brady will forever be known as the QB who lost a Super Bowl to a backup. That seems like a win/win, if you ask me.
Plus, there’s still time...maybe ESPN will uncover some new controversy as they desperately try to avoid bankruptcy for another year. So lots to look forward to here.
Patriots fans, of course, have something else to look forward to: the actual Super Bowl. So it really works out well for everyone, doesn’t it?
And if you’re a Patriots hater reading this article, hopefully the smug, arrogant, obnoxious, entitled tone of it adds a little fuel to your fire. You’re welcome. Don’t say I never did anything nice for you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go send the refs a nice Edible Arrangement for handing the Patriots another forgery of a championship as I try to calm my nerves over how the hell the Patriots are going to handle the Eagles.