The New England Patriots are the most successful team of the NFL’s salary cap era, and a competitor literally every single year since 2001. Success, however, also tends to produce plenty of envy which in turn has transformed the Patriots from a once lovable underdog into arguably the most polarizing team in the entire league: a lot of people love them, a lot of people respect their success, but a lot of people also want to see their world burn.
The results of SB Nation’s latest FanPulse survey are therefore not at all surprising. Participants — regardless of team affiliation — were asked which teams they would like to represent the two NFL’s conferences in the Super Bowl. On the AFC’s side, only 7.5% voted for the Patriots which mens that they are ranked behind three other clubs:
- Baltimore Ravens: 37.0%
- Kansas City Chiefs: 27.4%
- Buffalo Bills: 17.3%
- New England Patriots: 7.5%
- Whichever team lands in that last wild card spot: 6.0%
- Houston Texans: 4.9%
Seeing the Ravens and Chiefs in front should not be a surprise. Both teams have played some very good football this season while also being led by quarterbacks that have been hyped up quite a bit over the last two years. Of course, that hype is justified to a certain degree as both Lamar Jackson, who will likely be named the NFL’s most valuable player this year, and Patrick Mahomes have performed very well this early in their respective careers.
Warranted or not, the Patriots are not on the same level when it comes to being seen as the potential “next dynasty.” Not only have they seemingly dominated the NFL forever, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are also on the tail-ends of their Hall of Fame careers. They are still immensely popular — hence the Patriots still getting 7.5% of the vote — but it is hard to blame 31 other fan bases for wanting some new blood on the games’s biggest stage for once.
At least that is the case in the AFC: the NFC, after all, is led by the New Orleans Saints who in turn are led by soon-to-be 41-year-old Drew Brees and have received one third of the votes in the conference:
- New Orleans Saints: 33.5%
- San Francisco 49ers: 24.2%
- Minnesota Vikings: 14.4%
- Seattle Seahawks: 9.8%
- NFC East champion: 9.2%
- Green Bay Packers: 9.0%
If we combine the two votes, we can see that the Patriots are just the 10th most popular Super Bowl pick — even behind the yet to be determined team that ends up representing the NFC East in the playoffs. It looks like that is the cost of being the king.
If you too are interested in participating in our FanPulse survey, please click here!