Surprise! Surprise! The New England Patriots are once again in the AFC Championship game and just one win away from another Super Bowl appearance. Now half of you cheered after reading that, even if it was from the inside, and the other half groaned in disgust and rolled your eyes at the possibility of the Patriots once again hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. There is no middle ground when it comes to the Patriots. You either love them or you hate them. That's it. Any football fan that tells you that they neither like nor hate the Patriots cannot be trusted. They are extremely indecisive and you don't need those kinds of people in your life.
In what is considered the most competitive sport in America, it's a wonder as to how the Patriots continue to do it. Even with injuries across the board, they can pick up the next Joe Schmoe off the practice squad and not miss a beat. Critics would claim that they are given every advantage possible on and off the field. Supporters will say it's because of the great coaching mind of Bill Belichick or quarterback Tom Brady. Maybe they are all right.
One thing is for sure, like the Yankees in baseball, the Patriots are the most hated team in football. It's easy to see why, not just from their success but the controversies that they've been involved in throughout that success. From in-game rule changes to numerous cheating scandals, it's no wonder so many people hate the Patriots. We countdown the top 15 reasons to hate the New England Patriots.
15 The Third Down Horn
14 Running Up The Score
13 No Fantasy Running Backs
12 Claim 6 States
11 The Snowplow Game
10 NFL Favorites
9 The Fans
Of course it cannot be said of all, but a lot of Patriots fans come across as the most annoying and worst of the NFL. As expected, the New England territory was the only one, when polled, that believed Tom Brady was innocent in his role during Deflategate. Their argument stems from "Where's the proof?" Like it matters. The evidence could've been thrown at them until they were blue in the face and the New England faithful still would've denied the accusations. To call them stubborn would be the understatement of the year.
8 Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft is one of the more popular owners in the NFL. Much of his notoriety stems from his involvement in helping to end the player’s strike in 2011. While all fans were grateful to have football back, Kraft has always been suspected of being involved too much in NFL operations. As previously mentioned, Kraft and Commissioner Roger Goodell have a strong relationship as friends. Practically best friends with the commish and at the forefront of the labor movement, there’s something fishy about the Kraft Master. A lot of people believe that Kraft had his hand in the eventual outcome of Deflategate that left quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots organization unscathed after their appeal, save the loss of a couple draft picks.
7 Rob Gronkowski
6 The Tuck Rule
4 Tom Brady
For anyone who’s not a Patriots fan, it’s quite easy not to like the guy and it has nothing to do with his skill set. No one denies his athletic ability and future Hall of Fame status, despite coming out as a sixth round pick. It’s everything else that comes with Brady that people can’t stand. When the Deflategate accusations arose, Brady did nothing to prove his innocence. When a reporter asked if he had cheated, he hesitated and then responded, “I don’t think so.” Really Brady? That’s the best answer you could come up with? Guilty by association.
3 Bill Belichick
As hated as Tom Brady may be, he doesn’t light a torch to the hatred of head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick has to be respected in some sense because his accomplishments at this level are astonishing. He’s been head coach of the Patriots since 2000 and in a league where head coaches are a dime a dozen, that’s quite the accomplishment in and of itself. It’s his personality and his questioned integrity of the game that makes Bill so hated. At the center of all the controversies surrounding the Patriots in the last 15 years, Belichick seems to take the “whatever it takes to win” attitude to another level.
If you've been hiding under a rock for the past year or on the same island as Stephen Amell in Arrow, then let me explain the controversy. Deflategate stemmed from last season's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. During the game, Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by Brady. Jackson brought the ball to the sidelines and informed the Colts staff that the ball felt pretty light. It was brought to the attention of the referees, who inspected the PSI levels of the Patriots' footballs. All except one fell well short of the levels required by the NFL. The investigation went on all the way up until week 1 of the 2015 season.
1 Jealousy And Envy
Envy breeds jealousy; jealousy breeds hate. We've heard the saying before. It's said that everyone loves a winner but it could also be said everyone hates a winner. This weekend, New England faces off against Denver in Manning vs. Brady version 17.0, with the winner punching a ticket to Super Bowl 50. Pinch me if you've heard this before. The Patriots have, without question, been the most dominant NFL team in the 21st century. They've reached the Super Bowl six times in the new century (eight overall) and won four of them. Those six appearances are an NFL record for a quarterback (Brady) and coach (Belichick) tandem. Even though the integrity of the sport often comes into question with New England, the success of the franchise cannot be denied. They've cemented themselves in NFL history and will go down as the most dominant team of this era.
Sources: espn.go.com; www.nfl.com; assets.nydailynews.com
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