By: David Woeltz ~Staff Writer~
Unless you pronounce clam chowder like ‘chowda,’ you probably hate the New England Patriots. They’ve been caught spying on opponents, deflating footballs and, to top it off, they’ve been pricks about it. The Patriots might be the most arrogant team in the NFL, but we can’t ignore their greatness.
Similar to the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Antonio Spurs, the Patriots contend every year, yet they somehow manage to fly under the radar for the regular season. After three dominating victories to start the season, no one is talking about them.
Tom Brady passed for his 400th touchdown pass, something only three quarterbacks have done in history, and yet it’s barely mentioned in the sports world. The Patriots don’t care that they’re under the radar, because they know they’ll be in the conversation when it matters.
I’m not asking you to like the Patriots. I understand that cheating is unacceptable and that being arrogant is not a very redeemable quality.
That still doesn’t excuse you for not appreciating their four Super Bowl victories with the same head coach and quarterback, in probably the most competitive Big Four sports league.
This might be one of the last seasons that the Patriots juggernaut is still intact and people are worried about deflated footballs instead of the deflated egos of the opposition.
Similarly, many fans spent four years criticizing and underappreciating LeBron James when he bolted Cleveland for South Beach, only to change their minds about him when he returned.
Four of the best years by any basketball player ever were overlooked because people didn’t like him. If you are truly a fan of a sport then you will find a way to appreciate greatness, even in the context of hatred.
If you can’t come to grips with their checkered past, at least appreciate the entertainment they’ve brought to the NFL or appreciate their near flawless play on the field. During the playoffs, the Patriots are must-see television. High drama is what drives leagues and Bill Belichick and company aren’t afraid to supply it.
This season could be Peyton Manning’s last opportunity to conquer the frozen-over hell that is Foxborough in January. The Bengals might even find themselves face-to-face with the defending Super Bowl champions, but either way, you’d better not blink.
The New England dynasty is one of the most dominant ones of all time, and history will remember its greatness whether you do or not.