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I couldn’t care less what other fans think of the Pats. Remember Sox fans crying about the Yankees having the highest payroll until the Sox ended the 86 year drought? Remember the hatred of the Dallas Cowboys when they won 3 out of 4? Remember how the Raiders were once the most hated and despised franchise in the NFL? Now the Raiders are just a punch line.
Aaron Rogers admitted to trying to get overly inflated balls into games. Brad Johnson admitted to bribing league employees to get access to the footballs before the super bowl so he could work them to his specs. The reality is that stuff like this has long been a dirty little secret in the NFL. George Allen, Al Davis, John Madden, Ditka, Jimmy Johnson…all these guys know what goes. It’s an accepted part of the game with the inner circle.
And if you let other people yelling “Spygate” bug you then you don’t know or understand the history of football. And sadly the average fan doesn’t. Why the hell do you think that the tapes even had opposing coaches waving to the Patriots camera? Where the hell do you think BB learned all this stuff from? Do you think he just made it up? Remember that the same organization crying about underinflated balls was infamous for piping crowd noise through the PA system and turning up locker room temps at halftime of big games.
The Browns are under investigation for the unauthorized use of cell phones on the sidelines. Do you know why that is a non story? Because the Browns haven’t won or even been to a playoff game since Belichick was their coach. Do you know why it’s a big deal when the Pats do something? Because they didn’t go away after winning two Super Bowl’s and have their losing seasons like they were supposed to under parity.
30 – 40 years ago all this stuff was gamesmanship. Now in the America of “every kid gets a trophy” it’s a giant scandal. How do you think Odell Beckham Jr. made that falling backwards one hand grab earlier this year? Do you think it was just a tackified WR glove? Or do you think there was a little stickum on that glove? Think about the movie “The Replacements”…I know it was a fictional movie, but there are many moments in fictional movies inspired by real life. Think of the scene where Hackman puts the stickum on Stonehands…”What are they going to do – put you in football jail?”.
OK – The Pats got caught underinflating footballs. Oh, they’ll fine them and maybe take a draft pick. Or maybe Bill gets suspended like Sean Peyton did. But you know what both Bill Belichick and Sean Peyton know that the average moron fan doesn’t realize? You do everything you can to get that moment when you are the last team standing because nothing else comes close (except your kids). And if you ask Sean Peyton (privately and off the record) if getting suspended for a season was worth that moment he’ll tell you of course it was.
If you want a gentleman’s game watch golf where they call penalties on themselves. But football is not a gentleman’s game and it never has been. It’s a dirty nasty game and always has been and it has a history of coaches and players doing whatever it takes to get the job done:
• Look at Mike Webster of the 70’s Steelers and Lyle Alzado of the 70’s Raiders – both died young due to massive steroid abuse. The two most dominant teams of the 70’s were known for being rife with steroid abuse
• Remember that during the practice week leading up to Super Bowl 36 the New York Times reported that Pepper Johnson saw someone taking pictures/video from a window overlooking the field at Tulane (where the Pats were practicing). He pointed the window out and that person was gone by the time they got up there to check it.
• The Denver Broncos teams that won the Super Bowl with Elway and Davis were busted for salary cap violations.
Football is a game where you take every advantage you can get. Can’t stop Gronk – dive at his knees. Got your ass kicked, dive at the d-lineman from your victory formation. Poke a QB in the eye, step on a guy’s ankle when he is down. Punch a guy in the cubes underneath the pile. Twist the RB’s ankle under the pile. Punch a guy in the cubes in the pile. All of this happens more than 99% of the fans realize.
Football is not a game for the faint of heart. Every team out there is trying to stretch every limit right up to the edge and then some. The reality is for most teams nothing much comes of it. But once you win 3 out of 4 you become a target for everything, and then when you still keep winning and are a threat every year you become hated and things that barely get noticed for other teams are hanging offenses when you have been winning for too long. Heavy lies the crown, so to speak.
Do I wish the Pats hadn’t pulled this crap (to whatever extent they did)?
Do I really care?
Go to the Hall at Patriot Place. There are no asterisks on the 3 Lombardi’s. There is no asterisk on the 2014/2015 Lamar Hunt Trophy. If the Pats win on Feb 1 there will be no asterisk on that Lombardi, either, regardless of what other fans say or think. Come to think of it I don’t remember reading about the NFL engraving asterisks on the Lombardi’s in New Orleans, Denver, Oakland or Pittsburgh either.
I’ve been a diehard football fan since I was 8 years old. My Dad thought football was the greatest game and taught me not just the game and the strategy, and as I got older I started learning all the dirty little tricks and games within the game. By the time I was 10 I knew how to hold without getting called. When the guy the guard next to me was supposed to block beat the guard to the inside I learned how to keep blocking my guy and still get a hip into the other guy (or getter yet an elbow into his ribs) so my QB could get the pass off. And at age 11, before playing on a mud caked field in Mattapan I bought a lollipops from the concession stand so I could get my hands sticky for a better grip when I snapped the football.
I never tried to injure someone. But I did try and hurt opponents (and yes, in football there is a difference). And the further you go in football the more of these tricks you learn. Spitting, eye gouging, all kinds of dirty play happens in those pile ups on the field. But take some air out of a ball and I’m supposed to feel bad? Screw that!
Lombardi summed up football when he said “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing”. Quite honestly, I don’t give a crap that the ball was underinflated. I just loved watching the Pats steamroll the Colts. Raiders fans don’t care that they were accused of all kinds of cheating and unsportsmanlike stuff in the 70’s. And they embraced everyone else hating them.
So, Belichick is actually Darth Hoodie for real, or so it seems. The way I see it you have three choices:
• Stop watching the NFL
• Pick another team to follow/root for
• Embrace the hate
Now before you decide ask yourself one question…what do you think the Raiders fans enjoyed more, being hated and despised in the 70’s and 80’s or being pitied and laughed at over the past 10 years? Would they trade their current lot in life for 6 Super Bowl appearances (and 13 playoff appearances) in 15 years?
I’ve made my decision. I’ll embrace the hate…because sometimes it’s great to be the bad guy.
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