Tuesday, February 3, 2015

If You Ain't Cheating... You Ain't Trying

It's been a decade, and two heartbreaking losses, to the same team, on the sports biggest stage, but the New England Patriots are World Champions... again. Few teams in sports are quite as polarizing as this rag-tag bunch from Massachusetts. In his infinite "hoody" wisdom Bill Bellichek has managed to create contenders year after year, with no name super stars, and one Thomas Brady. There's no two ways about it, as with most things Boston sports, people either LOVE the Patriots, or LOATH  them. Now I don't want to downplay the high level of dedication and continued success that Tom and Bill have had in their tenure together, but the fact of the matter is the Patriots might be the worst thing to have happened to the NFL in this generation (not being dramatic or anything right?!). 

 When Russel Wilson threw that quick slant and was picked off, it was deflating to so many people for all the right reasons. Cheaters shouldn't win, and in the last decade nothing has made Patriots detractors happier than watching them get so close, and then losing it all. 

A miraculous catch (arguably would've been the most memorable in Super Bowl history), a tenacious runner, and all it would have taken was one more push, one last skittle powered run, to prove that just because you would've beat the Colts anyways, doesn't mean cheaters get to come out on top. But we all know what happened, we all saw the audible, that "wasn't" an audible. And  we all felt deflated as that pass was just a little too late, and fell abruptly into the hands of another Patriots diamond in the rough. 

Bill Bellichek is a genius, Tom Brady is a top-five "All-Time" quarterback, these things are not debatable. What will be shrouded in debate, and drive sports fans wild for generations to come, is how much of this dynasties success is real, and how much was just a little (some would argue a lot) tainted. What troubles me as a sports fan the most is the fact that nothing of any real consequence will come to pass with this team. Take away their first round drafts picks (they do their best work on the second day of the draft), fine them (Robert Kraft isn't worried about his pocket book), but nothing real, nothing that will really hurt them at their core. 

Barry Bonds is permanantly associated with steroid use, yet was never actually found guilty. He will almost certainly never be elected to the hall of fame, even though he is without a doubt one of the top 20 players in the games long history. We have no problem throwing his whole career, all his accomplishments under the bus, because of what we all assume (and most likely is true), but has never been proven. Yet, Bill Bellichek and Tom Brady will both be 1st Ballot Hall of Famers, and they have both admittedly cheated, and been caught.

Now we probably can't blame Tom, he's just guilty by association, but there's something about the Patriots as a whole that just drives myself, and a lot of other people crazy. I'm not a Seattle fan (though I do love me some beast mode), but this last Sunday I was the 12th man in every sense of the word. There's something about that team, the quarterback who was passed over, the defense that won't quit, that made them the perfect team to go for the 3-peat of Patriot anguish. They represent all that is right about sport, a team that really seems to care and rely on each other. Where there's always something about Bill and the Patriots that make it seem to him like everyone on his team isn't actually a person, but a strategically situated pawn, to be used as he sees fit. That is except for Tom, the Golden Boy, the only piece of the puzzle that had stayed the same, and which makes him complacent in this whole shady experiment. 

It's probably ridiculous to think this whole thing is bigger than a couple of incidences, but something about Bill Bellichek makes any Patriots hating conspiracy seem possible. The ultimate puppet-master pulling all the strings, or at least one can hope. For now I can only hope the Seahawks get healthy, get better, and most importantly, get even. Because nothing makes a Patriots-hater happier than seeing that look of complete and utter despair on Tom Brady's perfectly sculpted jaw line, and hearing that no comment post-game speech from a downtrodden Bellichek. It's a "fine-able" offense when Marshawn Lynch does it, but when it happens the Bill... it's everything that's right in the world of sports. One can only hope that Brady doesn't walk off into the sunset with his head held high, that maybe, just maybe, we can to see those sad, sad tears, one last time. Or maybe I just need a girlfriend and I should stop putting so much energy into hating the Patriots... only time will tell. 

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