The New England Patriots will be very busy out in Glendale this week. The team will be under the microscope trying to remain cool while answering to Radio’s Row. Typically, most teams in the Super Bowl would be responsible for commenting on the game, the opponent, and the experience. “Deflate-gate” has changed all of that turning this week’s festivities into an even bigger circus than usual, and I am loving every minute of it. Before I breakdown my take on the entire situation and how it impacts the Bills I want to point something out. New England has been getting the benefit of the doubt from the league and the referees for a long time. Bills fans will never forget what played out in Foxboro back in 1998. The Bills had taken a 21-17 lead late in the fourth quarter when it all happened. The Patriots, who were led by Drew Bledsoe at the time, were down to their final play when Bledsoe threw a desperation pass to Shawn Jefferson along the sidelines. It looked to be incomplete, but after the referees came together to discuss the play one of the officials was heard saying, “just give it to them,” and they did. Now, the Patriots had 6 seconds to get it in the end zone from the Bills twenty six. Bledsoe once again threw a desperation ball into the end zone that fell incomplete, but a phantom pass interference call was made on the play extending the game. Fitting, on the next play Bledsoe found Ben Coates after a play action fake in the back of the end zone for the game winning score. The memory is so vivid for me not because of the circumstances that led up to the touchdown, but because of what happened after. Wade Phillips was so disgusted by what had transpired that he removed his entire team off the field following Coates score. The Patriots remained on the field and Adam Vinatieri converted a two point conversion for the 25-21 victory. I lost all respect for the Patriots after that play and after that game. Ironically, you can also throw Coach Pete Carroll into that group. He was the coach who decided to go for two as the Bills made their way to the locker room.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time the league has given the Patriots the benefit of the doubt. Dolphins fans will point out the Snowplow Game. Raiders fans will cry Tuck Rule. Jets fans will perseverate on Spy-Gate. Now the Ravens and Colts can fall back onto Deflate-Gate. No other franchise has been mixed up in so many controversial situations as the All Mighty Pats. Why is that? Is it because their owner is so tight with the commissioner? Many reports have surfaced that Goodell had dinner with Mr. Kraft the evening before the AFC Championship. Does the Kraft family have more influence on the league than other owners? It is clear that something isn’t adding up. This situation may have been easier to sweep under the rug had it not happened two weeks before the Super Bowl, but instead the entire sports world was discussing the situation the Monday after the AFC Championship Game. Yet, when Brady was interviewed on the Thursday he stated that the league had not contacted him at all yet. Why? Why does the NFL continuously drag their feet when they have an opportunity to step up and investigate what really happened. Belichick’s initial interview was a lot of smoke and mirrors, and once we listened to Brady lie his way through his thirty three minute fiasco you knew the scientific excuses were going to surface. Sure enough, the Hoodie provided the media with a prepared statement claiming this was going to be the last time he was going to discuss it. Must be nice to get caught doing something wrong, give some joke of an excuse, and then let everyone know that you’re finished talking about it. This is where the problem starts. The entitlement runs deep with Belichick and always has. His football resume demands a great deal of respect, but the way he has conducted himself in the media is ridiculous. His players and staff can thank him for this cloud of distraction over the team this week. His arrogance has led many to despise or even hate the way he coaches, and now there is more reason to believe so.
Patriots fans will stand by their man and rightfully so. He led this team to three championships and will obviously go down as one of the greatest. Yet, this will now be his legacy. Every time someone starts discussing the great achievements of Coach Belichick, this will somehow be included. An asterisk will always be attached. Doubt will forever follow him. Teams with a history against the Pats will add this to their arsenal of billboard material when it comes time to face them. Fans across the league will never let them forget about what they did. Sadly, they will most likely keep winning like they always have since Brady took over. This is a franchise who continues to find ways to beat you anyway they can. They are very comfortable being the team that everyone hates. Proving people wrong is what they love to do and that is what bothers me most about this Super Bowl.
I along with most of the country want to see them lose on February 1st. As a Bills fans it burns me to cheer for the coach who initiated this Patriots hatred back in 1998. So Pete, I can finally forgive you for going for two with nobody on the field if you can take care of business on Sunday. The thought of New England winning their 4th title after all of this just doesn’t seem right. They have dominated this league long enough. The Patriots deserve a beat down and I hope Carroll and the Seahawks “just give it to them.”