The Patriots may be great, but they’re a real turn off

The Patriots are in the Super Bowl again and although nobody would ever deny their greatness, not everyone is happy to see them there. Dave Usher is considering skipping the game altogether rather than have to watch Tom Brady lead yet another 4th quarter comeback…

It’s Super Bowl week and I’ll be honest, I haven’t decided if I can even bring myself to watch it this year. I love the Super Bowl but I’m sick of the Patriots. I can’t stand the idea of them winning it again. Last year was horrendous and it made me want to avoid the NFL for months afterwards…

I don’t think I can ever forgive the Atlanta Falcons for that most heinous of choke jobs, but if it wasn’t them it would have been someone else allowing the Patriots to come back and win. It was my own fault for gloating while the Falcons were stomping all over New England in that first half. It felt too good to be true, and so it proved.

Are the Giants the only team out there that doesn’t wet their pants when Tom Brady starts a comeback against them? Why can none of these teams just carry on doing the things that got them into a winning position in the first place? Atlanta had the most historic of collapses last year but that would not have happened against another team. It’s partly because the Patriots keep their cool and execute under the most intense pressure, but it’s also because the other team act like frightened rabbits.

So often teams have the Patriots right where they want them but they crumble under the weight of the moment and end up beating themselves. That’s not taking anything away from how great Brady is in those situations. He still has to get the ball to whatever no name receivers he is being asked to throw to on any given Sunday, and he does that better than anybody that has ever lived. I despise Brady but not even I can deny his greatness.

For him to be able to do what he does though, the opponent has to allow it. I’m not specifically just talking about whatever defense Brady faces. It’s the offense too. If they keep the ball then Brady can’t have it. Too often they just turtle up like the pitiful Jaguars did in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago. There and out, three and out, three and out. Just make a first down and chew up some clock, it’s really not that hard.

That 4th quarter was hideous to watch, almost as bad as last year’s Super Bowl, but it was entirely predictable. Be honest, did anyone actually expect the Jags to hold on as soon as Brady strapped on his big boy pants and started putting points on the board? If you did, then you haven’t been paying attention all these years.

I get angry watching the Patriots winning all the time. I’m not sure why, but I also know it’s not just me. I’ve got friends who are just as bad, some are even worse. We all follow different teams, but the one common bond is we all hate the Patriots.

Most of them despise Bill Bellichick as well as Brady. I actually like ‘the Hoodie’ though. He’s a curmudgeonly, grumpy, smart arse with a questionable history of sportsmanship but I like him. Brady? Nah, I hate that guy.

The Patriots are undeniably great but teams have to stop letting that greatness get into their heads. They can be beaten, because apart from Brady there’s nothing on either side of the ball to scare anybody. There’s Bellichick of course, but he’s not out there putting hits on anyone or catching passes.

Man for man, the Patriots roster rarely stacks up against the teams they play against. It doesn’t matter though. You can take away Gronk and Julian Edelman, pick up a couple of running backs off the street and some linemen from the local biker gang, and Brady will still put up 45 points if he has to. 

What the Patriots have done in the Brady / Bellichick era is incredible. In the 16 seasons that Brady has been the starter they’ve reached eight Suer Bowls. Dynasties are becoming increasingly rare in the NFL due to free agency and the parity that the draft brings. Unless you’re the Browns, it’s relatively easy for a bad team to become good fairly quickly. Yet the one constant is that every year the Patriots have at least 12 wins and go deep in the playoffs. It’s a hell of an achievement, but it’s boring as hell for the rest of us.

Look at any betting sites and the Patriots are clear favourites to win this Sunday, but the Eagles do have a chance. No-one expected them to go into Minnesota and spank the Vikings like they did, but this is different. It’s not Case Keenum they have to beat, it’s Tom Brady. Still, they’ve got a shot. 

I’d feel a lot more confident if Carson Wentz was behind center and I might not be having this dilemma as to whether I’ll watch or not. Who knows, maybe the extra experience Nick Foles has could prove decisive in the 4th quarter if the Eagles need to mount a drive to run down the clock and keep Brady off the field? 

The problem for me is that if I start watching and the Patriots get out to an early lead, I’ll switch it off. And if the Eagles get out to an early lead I won’t be able to enjoy it anyway because I’ll spend the entire second half just bracing myself for the inevitable Brady-led comeback.

So come on Philly, I may or may not be watching, but I’ll be rooting for you regardless. I think everyone who isn’t a Patriot probably is. Everyone except Cowboys fans maybe.

Fly Eagles Fly!

Dave Usher



David Usher
Site Editor / Bears, Bulls & NFL Correspondant
Day job is writing about footy for 'the Liverpool Way' and ESPN FC. Love the Bears and Bulls too though, which is why I'm here.
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