5 Lazy Patriots Takes That Need To Be Retired Immediately
The New England Patriots embarrassed the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 on Sunday night to advance to a record ninth Super Bowl, and the seventh since Tom Brady and Bill Belichick joined forces in 2001.
At this point the New England Patriots of the last fifteen years are, by many measures, the most dominant American sports franchise of all-time. The NFL is not like the NBA. You can't win six or seven championships in a decade. Most NFL teams don't even make the playoffs six or seven times in a decade, so the Patriots are as close to the 1960's Celtics or the 1990's Bulls as any team we're ever going to witness in a sport that is not basketball.
Of course, as wonderful as that is for me as a Massachusetts native and lifelong Patriots fan, the fact that the team is in its sixteenth year of this means that just about every hot take has been had, debated and re-hashed already. There are very few new revelations, and that's a problem for the NFL internet media.
We've got two weeks until the Super Bowl, and the Atlanta Falcons are a very good, entirely likable team with no controversies to speak of, and just about everything there is to say about the Patriots - good or bad - has been said.
SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO TALK ABOUT?
We can only get so many soundbites out of Martellus Bennett, and let's face it, if Matt Ryan weren't an NFL quarterback, he'd be a 12-time employee of the month at some Boston accounting firm. The only real thought I have ever had about Matt Ryan, other than the fact that he's very good at throwing a football, is that his face is incredibly pointy; and that's not so much an opinion as it is a very fucking boring observation.
All of this is to say that I completely understand that there isn't a whole lot of new material out there for people to work with. Everyone is competing for clicks and page views and retweets, and as a result, some hot takes and opinions will inevitably be repackaged over the next couple of weeks. That's okay.
However there are some takes that just cannot, should not and must not be allowed to continue. Here are those takes, in no specific order:
The Patriots play in an easy division
This was argued recently by the Seahawks' Earl Thomas, who was promptly destroyed for conveniently overlooking the fact that his own division was the worst in the NFL this season.
Yet the question inconceivably remains: are the Patriots so good that their division just can't catch up, or is the division so bad that it makes them look better than they are? If you actually believe the latter is the reason the Patriots have been to seven Super Bowls in the 21st century, you are a special kind of moron.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning played the majority of his career in the AFC South with the Titans, Jaguars and Texans.
The Patriots are a product of Bill Belichick's coaching genius.
You don't say?!
They've been a Super Bowl contender for 90% of the last fifteen years. There's literally no way for that to be possible other than to be led by a coaching genius.
Has Tom Brady surpassed Joe Montana?
You can talk about this, but you have to take a side. Asking the question isn't good enough anymore. Win or lose, Brady will have started in seven Super Bowls when all is said and done this season. At this point, the take that he's not better than Joe Montana is the one that needs to be argued.
Plus, if you think Montana is still the undisputed greatest of all time, it's probably because you are docking Brady points for having been coached by Bill Belichick. That's the only logical reason, and in that case, Brady could go to 10 Super Bowls and you'd still feel the same way right? So why are we still talking about this? Let's just agree that it's one or the other and move on with our lives.
If [insert QB's name here] had been coached by Belichick, he'd have won four Super Bowls too.
Hypotheticals in sports are tricky to begin with, let alone when you're handing over a few extra Super Bowl rings to other players who have had plenty of their own opportunities. The only quarterbacks you could even try this argument with are Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. That's it.
No, not even Aaron Rodgers. The ability to be coached by a guy like Belichick, who does not coddle or cater to Brady's whims, requires a temperament that Rodgers blatantly does not have.
So if you want to go ahead and waste your time dreaming up scenarios in which Manning doesn't melt down in 50% of the postseason games he played in, or where Brees plays in an entirely different system than he's ever played in his entire career, then go right ahead. You can't be wrong. You just also can't be right.
Patriots fans are the worst.
Duh. They are overly-defensive, drunk lunatics who already cared too much about sports to begin, and were then gifted the greatest run of multi-sport championships for any city ever. It was inevitable. Just like gambling or drug addiction turns good people into monsters, so too does watching your favorite sports teams win nine rings in thirteen years.
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