By JONOTHAN MYERS
Super Bowl LI is around the corner, and many football fans are coming into the game with a sour taste in their mouths. “Oh God, not the Patriots again,” mumbled a Wegmans employee after the Patriots beat the Steelers 36 to 17 in the AFC Championship. “Anything but the Patriots again. I’m so tired of the Patriots.” These sentiments are echoed throughout the country as football fans find themselves at a loss for enthusiasm for this year’s Super Bowl, except the New England region, of course.
A lot of this ire is directed at Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the game and a notorious jerk. We saw plenty of his legendary skill in the game with the Steelers on Jan. 22. Brady completed 32 of 42 passes for 384 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. With terrifying career averages and the legacy of “deflate-gate” behind him, there are plenty of reasons to resent him for beating your favorite team.
The Patriots are now the first team in history to make it to nine Super Bowl appearances, with the Cowboys, Steelers and Broncos tied for second place at eight appearances. Bill Belichick is also now the first head coach to make it to seven Super Bowl appearances ever. Clearly this duo has had a good run, but perhaps too good for many fans’ tastes.
According to The Buffalo News, “The year was 2000 when an AFC East team finished with more wins. The Patriots were 5-11. They were the only AFC East team with a losing record…Players still wore single-bar facemasks. Memorabilia collectors were on the lookout for Peter Warrick and Chad Pennington rookie cards.” Seventeen years is a long time to be on top. No other team in the NFL has enjoyed this level of dominance before. Even retired wide-receiver Matthew Cherry tweeted out, “So tired of seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl,” in response to their victory over the Steelers. This many wins carries a bitter taste among fans.
Many of these fans have found a solution, however, as Falcons Nation begins to swell with extra numbers in the days approaching the Super Bowl. From 11 Alive at NBC, an interesting article popped up regarding the fan base for the Atlanta Falcons.
“[T]ype ‘Biggest Falcons fan’ into Twitter, and you will find some new contenders for the crown. ‘A couple of folks saying they’re going to be big fans for two weeks,’ Nathan Farno observed while scrolling through his phone. Why so temporary? It seems many people’s newfound love for the Falcons stems for the hatred of their Super Bowl opponents.” It would appear that the millions of fans who rooted for teams crushed by the Patriots will be donning red jerseys on Feb. 5. It is not an ideal alternative, but one of the few remaining for those who are tired of the Patriots cleaning up every year.
Even if the Patriots lose next Sunday, it does not necessarily mean we won’t be seeing more of the same next year. But if they do win, at least the look on Roger Goodell’s face will provide us with some entertainment.