By: Ian Mahan. January 21, 2015
On January 18, 2015, the American public got what they wanted. They got a villain to root against in the Super Bowl. Last year it was Seattle, but now that Russell Wilson & Co. pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in NFL post-season history (let’s be honest, the Packers gave that game away), everyone’s favorite team to hate has slipped up once again and is now in the judgmental public eye. The New England Patriots have “cheated” again. Except the only ones they are really cheating are themselves.
I will be the first to admit, I am a big Tom Brady fan. Huge. When I see Tom Brady play I am reminded of a time when wanting to win meant so much that you would literally do anything for it. I do see the irony in this statement without having it pointed out to me. It’s just really easy for me to cheer for Brady. He’s the best at what he does. He somehow wills his teams to win out of nothing, and yet people will refer to his two-minute drills as some sort of sorcery, trickery, or unfair gamesmanship. When his undefeated, 16-0 regular season comes up in the talk of his legacy, people will refer to Spygate and how they had film of opposing team’s signals, all the while ignoring that the NFL confiscated their video and destroyed it.
I could take it or leave it with Belichek, though I do find his apathy over what seems to be everything very entertaining. He’s not someone I necessarily will miss when the time comes for him to disappear, whether that be sooner or later.
However, are we really that duped by these athletes and high profile individuals, that we think after the announcement of “Deflategate”, that the Patriots are the only team in professional sports pushing whatever envelope they can in order to gain a competitive advantage? If so, we all need to seriously consider whether these organizations care about our thoughts and fandom. We all need a reality check. Sure fans of other teams feel cheated by this process, but before you go out and accuse one team of a serious transgression and act as though your own team is run by The Pope, be sure you know the history of your own team (I’m looking at you fans of the Broncos, 49ers, Colts, Ravens, and anyone represented by Agent Leigh Sienberg at any point in their career).
Show me a team that isn’t cheating, and I will show you a team that stinks. It’s sad, but this is ultimately becoming the norm in American sports.