I will fess up right here and now that I am most assuredly a fan of the New England Patriots. Wasn't always the case as the Patriots were created back in 1960 as one of the inaugural teams of the old American Football League. At that time most folks who watched professional football followed the National Football League. Yes, that changed as time went on but it's also why you will find quite a few New York Giant fans in the New England area. Back in the day, the Giants were the only game in town, so to speak.
I started watching football right around the time I started playing football. That was, as near as I can recollect, in 1965. Who did I root for BITD? Wasn't the Giants, no sir. While nearly all of the Giants games were televised in New England, there were also a number of Green Bay game televised, especially during the playoffs. Why? Well, the Packers were simply the best team out there in the late '60s, bar none. They were coached by a fellow named Lombardi. There is a reason the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.
As time went by I had other teams I rooted for, not so much because of the team but because I liked certain players on the team. Green Bay remained, and still is, a favorite. But not the favorite.
I was a big Denver fan for a while, check that, I rooted for the Broncos for two reasons, one was access to team news and games and the other was John Elway. No matter what you might think of the man, he was an amazing quarterback. Living in Colorado as I did during the early days of his career it was hard not to like him. Of course, during the football season it was all Broncos, all the time. I think it was state law that if you paid in-state tuition rates (which I did for reasons not relevant to today's post) you had to root for the home team. Which I did until 2000. Make no mistake, I still love the Broncos and root for them. Most of the time.
In 1999 I retired from the Air Force and received a job offer to work in Little Rhody. Based upon what they wanted me to do, I jumped on it. At that point in time, the Patriots weren't an especially good team. But we were inundated with Patriots' coverage, they were the home team for most of Little Rhody, well, except for those old-timey Giants fans, they're still around. Gradually The Missus Herself and I became fans of the Patriots. It didn't hurt that they became a very successful franchise in the early years of our residence in the Ocean State.
Some folks may criticize my shifting allegiances over time. I don't care, I like what I like, tastes change over time. Exposure is important too. Though with the Web of World Wideness it's possible to follow any team on a constant basis, exposure through the local media, and interacting with the fans of the home team who might be neighbors or co-workers, really makes you lean towards being a "homer." If you will.
So there's that.
One phenomenon that I've been seeing lately in many walks of life that really bugs me is the openly expressed hatred from many people concerning certain people, places, organizations, and things. Whether it's the insane partisan politics, policies, or constituencies of one party or another, or the disdain and hatred of certain sports franchises. Here in New England I get to see it all. Being in a "blue" state I get to hear the hatred of all things GOP. I also get to hear the Trump-hatred from both sides of the political spectrum. The hatred of the New England Patriots is widespread. Outside of New England.
Baffles me really. Here's what General George S. Patton Jr. had to say -
...When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.The New England Patriots are one of the most successful franchises in sports history. Their record of success under Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady has been amazing, and this in an era of free agency. Back in the day a player would stay with one team for nearly his whole career and play with the same other players year after year. While today's system of free agency is better for the players, it's rough to maintain a winning tradition year after year with an ever changing roster. Somehow the Patriots have managed to do just that. Those who wish to accuse them of "cheating" as the reason for their success have been watching too much CNN or ESPN. All teams bend the rules, it's documented, the Patriots, on average, actually bend the rules less than some other teams. They're about average.
An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. (Source)
What they do is win, consistently. If they are cheating than the rest of the NFL is apparently too stupid to catch them and/or stop them. Come on, on the field it's teamwork, execution and doing your job. Having watched another team's practice or filmed their signals isn't going to make your linemen tougher than theirs. You still have to play the game. On the field. Everything else, if I might steal a line from the general, is bullshit. (Pardon my French.)
Yes, I watched the game Sunday evening, I suffered through the first three quarters, amazed at just how fast the Falcons were as a team, and how precise Matty Ryan was at quarterback. I almost gave it up and went to bed. I'd seen enough beat downs in the Super Bowl, didn't want to see another.
I like this team, I wanted to see how the Patriots handled the adversity. Would they fall apart completely? Would they quit?
No. And no.
They hung in there, they didn't quit. Eventually each man on that team stepped up and did his job. That's kind of a thing with the Patriots and their coach, don't worry about the problems, don't fret about what someone else is doing. Just do your job.
If you do, and everyone else does, good things happen.
Hate if you will, there's a lot of that going around, and not just for the Patriots. But hey, guess what, it's tough to argue with success.
Best single game performance I have ever seen. Bar none.
Anyhoo, that's how I see it.