First, allow me to say, as a writer, that I respect the five Super Bowls that the New England Patriots bring to the table. Moreover, they appear to be the model of organizational stability that many NFL franchise aim to duplicate. Furthermore, the contributions of their coaches to the NFL culture remain unparalleled in the last sixteen seasons. However, as an Oakland Raiders fan, I say will earnest intentions; I despise the New England Patriots with all that I hold dear. Here is why:
Granted, the Raiders don’t boast the most stable bunch of fans. My issue with Patriots fans starts innocently enough. I was born and raised in Hartford, CT. My childhood home stood roughly two hours from Foxborough. Growing up in the 80s, Patriots fans were almost a non-factor. Giants, Cowboys, Jets, 49ers, Steelers, and even Dolphins fans cast a shadow over New England.
Until 2001, the memories of Patriot glory were Steve Grogan and the time a barefoot kicker made a field goal in the snow. Sure, New England reached two Super Bowls, but few actually believed they stood a snowball’s chance. So, when fate, in the form of Jets’ linebacker Mo Lewis destroyed Drew Bledsoe, a sixth-rounder from Michigan took the ball and the rest was history. To that point, Patriots fans were scarce. Brady emerges, the team starts winning and everyone suddenly falls in love with New England.
Now, I know a few reasonable, level-headed Patriots fans that remained humble. Guys like my Cover 32 colleagues Mike D’Abate and Ian Glendon. Each brings a humility and saneness to every interaction. For every Mike and Ian, scores of fans, fired up on Sam Adams, sweating profusely and proclaiming “Pats Nation” is actually a thing. Hint: It’s not.
Many Pats fans bristle when you bring up any disrespect of their franchise and quarterback, which is natural. The ridiculousness settles in when Pats fans mention that tough decade when their team did not win the Super Bowl. On the other hand the Cardinals (70 seasons) and Lions (60) possess legitimate gripes. Whining about a ten-year cycle is the height of privilege.
When the Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl 36, the jubilant former backup celebrated with Bledsoe, his veteran mentor. Tom Brady arrived and the world was happy for him. Over the years, that jubilant player transformed into one that many accuse of working the officials. That is to say that Brady looks for the flag and will chat incessantly with any official within earshot. Teams and players believe that this is bad form and beneath a player of Brady’s stature. I agree. Yet, this is not his entire fault. If a referee allows conversation, he needs to shoulder the blame.
Hitting Brady somewhere became an unforgivable act. If defenders look his way, that yellow laundry finds the turf. Meanwhile, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford endure shots to the head, defenders enjoying that extra step towards them and unpleasant interactions with the turf.
There’s no denying Brady’s skill, accuracy or precision during plays. His complaining to the officials smells of someone who wants every advantage, outside of being the best quarterback and having the best system.
For as long as I could remember, the Boston media remains a source of national scorn and ridicule. Without a doubt, every city has those biased homer types that can’t help to blur the line. The Boston media sees any criticism of the team due to various scandals as plain jealousy. In reality, the Patriots make news, which needs reporting. No jealousy exists.
As a Raiders fan, you know the Tuck Rule sits heavily with me. Yet, instead of a long diatribe, filled with facts and footage, four words suffice: It was a fumble. I know, Patriot fans, deep in the recesses of their hearts know, we all do.
Spygate: The NFL smacked the Patriots for videotaping illegally. Yet, the aura of their accomplishments, in their own minds, remains clean. Be that as it may, Spygate tarnished everything the New England Patriots will accomplish during the Brady Era because it casts doubt on any legitimate achievement. As a result, any incident involving the Patriots means they will never receive the benefit of any doubt.
Deflategate: Again, the Patriots seemingly commit an illegal act, this time fooling with the psi of footballs. Basically, the league caught them, after the Colts snitched. Following legal fights, Tom Brady served his four-games and life moved on. If the Patriots were as clean as a franchise, why do these incidents keep occurring?
Given these points, there needs to be personal inventory. As a diehard Raiders fan, I cannot tolerate in any way, shape or form, the New England Patriots. However, unlike many fans, I do not want to see a single hair on Tom Brady’s head injured. Raiders fans who wish for Khalil Mack to purposefully injure Brady or anyone is a fool. Cheering the injury of an opposing player is the lowest of the low. Remember when Derek Carr broke his leg and fans from other teams piled on via social media? Not a great feeling. RaiderNation should wish Tom Brady a few more years. Selfishly, I want the Raiders to defeat the Patriots at full strength. Sooner or later, the dynasty will end. The Raiders need to be the cause of the Patriots’ window closing.