Dear Football Gods,
Well, f**k you.
After the Helmet Catch, Manning-to-Manningham, Deflategate suspensions, and an injury to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, we thought you were on our side. It was 28-3, and we sat back grinning as we witnessed Brady’s pick-six and drive after drive for New England stalling.
We watched Brady score a touchdown, but after Gostkowski missed the extra point, we laughed and knew everything was still going alright. Then they were driving again, but you stopped them with a sack, and we felt safe as Brady got up slowly after being slammed to the ground.
But then, everything changed. Matt Ryan fumbled, and we got worried. The Patriots scored and it was suddenly one possession.
It’s okay, the Falcons will score and everything will be fine. Brady will fail and Atlanta will hold on. It was 28-3—they can’t lose it now. They got into field goal range, and it was all going to be alright!
Then, everything hit us at once. After a sack and a hold, it was 3rd and 33 on the 45. When Ryan threw the ball out of bounds on third, we all realized Brady was getting the ball back. 3:30 on the clock, down by eight. Things weren’t looking good, but this was the Patriots we were talking about. Brady and Belichick are cheaters. They’ve won so many times, and, sure, you gave them the Butler interception, but you weren’t exactly kind to them against the Giants. So, surely, you were with us.
Then, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman made our jaws drop with a catch that can only be rivaled by Tyree’s Helmet Catch. Off the hands of Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, and into the hands of Edelman and Falcons safety Keanu Neal inches off the ground.
“Oh, s**t. Maybe they aren’t with us,” we thought.
And the rest is history.
So, what are you going to say now? You let cheaters, the most hated quarterback and coach ever break records for Super Bowl victories. You let Boston celebrate willingly. What do have to say for yourself?
Okay, well maybe we enjoyed it a bit. I’m not speaking on behalf of my Jets, Dolphins, and Bills representatives perhaps, but, fine. Our hearts were racing a bit more in the fourth quarter than in the third when it was 28-3.
But, no, no, it was bad. The Patriots won. They’re the dark side, the enemies. It was time for Atlanta to win for the first time. Right?
Sure, it wasn’t a great result, but the journey was fun for most of us. Up until about 9:30, we were looking forward to commercials more than the lopsided game in-between them.
“But why the Patriots?” you may ask. Personally, I’m kind of starting to get it. We loved Peyton, now we root for Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. This year, we loved Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ potent offense. But we need an enemy. And who is better than the Patriots? A quarterback who just wins, an anti-social coach who looks like a supervillain, and several cheating scandals—on top of the fact that they’re from Boston.
Don’t get us wrong here. We hate them. But maybe that’s what we all love. We didn’t all rejoice in the defeat of the Carolina Panthers last year, or the defeat of the Denver Broncos three years ago. But when we saw the Patriots lose to the Giants twice? We all rejoiced! We made fun of Patriots fans, mocked Brady and Belichick. They went 18-1! They lost to them again! The headlines were endless and brought joy to all of us.
While we aren’t happy tonight, at least I can personally say that I get it. I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of us can agree that hating on the Patriots is fun. Tonight, it would’ve been more fun to watch them lose, but the Dark Side needs to exist for us to celebrate their defeat. Unity under hatred is what they’ve brought us, and maybe that’s what you wanted.
As a humble representative of the 31, it’s hard for me to write this. I watched them demolish my Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, and now I’ve lost a long battle yelling at my television.
But maybe I get it.
And maybe, just maybe, on some level, football wouldn’t be the same without Brady.
The 31 other teams