Sports Nut

Dear Patriots Haters

A message from a Pats fan to all the chafing, crybaby chumps out there.

A New England Patriots fan.
We’re No. 1.

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images.

To: Patriots haters
From: A Patriots fan

Dear Patriots haters,

What a pack of wretched chumps you are.

Your bitter envy of my three-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots has gnawed at your souls. You’ve grown deformed, like the odd little depression that football helmets often form in Peyton Manning’s outsized forehead.

Why can’t you just acknowledge the Pats’ superiority? Tip your cap. Go ahead, curtsy, as one ought when one finds oneself amid NFL royalty. I would encourage you to kneel in awe if you feel (as I and others do) that genuflection is a perfectly appropriate response to a 15-year run of football dominance.

But of course you’ll do none of these things. Particularly not the curtsying. It isn’t your fault that this graciousness is beyond you. Your sad little mind has atrophied—a result of years spent watching your team’s inferior clock management.

Instead, you fall back on the recourse of every sore loser ever. “No fair! They must have cheated!”

Listen, whiners: The only cheating that’s happening here is when Tom Brady cheats on Gisele Bundchen with your mom. In your mom’s dreams. Every night.

But hold up, bruh, we need to break things down and get serious here for a moment. Grab a chair and be with me. Lower the heat, simmer your impotent rage. I want to ask you something: Really, what is it that’s bothering you?

Is it the tuck rule? If you’ll recall, this was an official league rule, properly enforced. Did you want the refs to flout NFL regulations and call that a fumble just for kicks? That would damage the integrity of the game, bruh.

Or maybe it’s the crazypants formations the Pats broke out in the second half of their recent playoff win over the Ravens. Perfectly legal formations. How cringe-making it must have been for Baltimore fans when their coach claimed, “It’s not something anybody’s ever done before.” Except for when the Lions did it earlier this season. Or when Alabama used it to beat LSU a couple of months ago. You know what truly hasn’t been done before? Leading your team to six Super Bowls as a starting quarterback. Tom Brady’s doing that on Sunday.

Now I hear you whinging: What about Spygate? OK, sure, let’s clear the air. The Patriots videotaped hand signals given from the Jets sideline during a game. As Supreme Commander Belichick noted the other day, “[W]e filmed him taking signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too.” This stuff wasn’t espionage—the signals, and also the video camera, were in plain view for the entire stadium to see. Super Bowl-winning coach and current Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson says he’s done the same thing. Eric Mangini, the Jets coach who snitched on the Pats and subsequently never amounted to anything, later said he regretted tattletaling, and added that the videotaping had zero impact on any game results. Which is obvious to people who, unlike you, were blessed with the human faculty of reason: In the immediate wake of getting sanctioned, while under intense league scrutiny, the Patriots won their next 17 consecutive games, set multiple single-season offensive records, and laid, like, 52–7 whuppings on their opponents. Why you mad?

This brings us to the ball deflation mishigas. We’ve now heard all manner of conflicting leaks from anonymous sources—many of these items reported by sports journalists who’ve been known to whiff on stories in the past. All we can say for certain is what the NFL has told us in its lone statement on the matter: “[T]he evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half [of the AFC championship game against the Colts].”

We don’t know how underinflated. We also don’t know whether the Colts’ balls were tested as a control group. What we know is that when the Pats used indisputably kosher footballs in the second half, Tom Brady completed 12 out of 14 passes and the Pats outscored the Colts 28–0. Yet people decided the Pats were cheating because they had a “history.”

Let me drop some science on you now. NFL regulation requires game balls to be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 psi (that’s pounds per square inch, if you haven’t been paying attention, which I can safely assume you have not). Before each game, the Pats ask the refs to inflate their balls to 12.5 psi, the minimum inflation level allowed. Now, as any competent auto mechanic could tell you, atmospheric conditions affect air pressure. When those 12.5-psi balls are carried from a 75-degree room out onto a rainy, 51-degree field, of course they deflate some. Here, watch this simple experiment by a vocational school pupil.

Or, if you’re fancier, watch a Carnegie Mellon guy do essentially the same thing. Test it out yourself with this air pressure calculator created by a Boston University physics professor. There’s no complicated science here—though Neil deGrasse Tyson did manage to mangle the ideal gas law when he entered the fray. (Jeesh, Neil, differentiate between absolute pressure and gauge pressure much?)

Sure, you’re gonna tell me that the Pats, with the help of their underinflated balls, are outliers when it comes to fumbling. And I’m gonna to tell you that those fumble calculations used normal distribution, which is totally wrong, because they should have used a Poisson distribution or something. And bruh, I don’t even know what a Poisson distribution is! That’s not the point here.

The point is: None of this stuff is why you hate the Patriots. Come on. Be honest. You hate them because Tom Brady looks sexy when he’s holding a baby goat. You hate them because septuagenarian multibillionaire Bob Kraft is dating a thirtysomething woman who looks good in a bikini. You hate them because Bill Belichick doesn’t care if you hate him. Above all, you hate the Pats because they win, all the time, and they’re doing it again.

Hey, I sympathize. I was cheering for the Pats back in 1990, when they went 1–15. I prayed for mediocrity. I resented winning clubs. I could never have imagined this run of excellence.

But now that it’s here, you won’t let me enjoy it. I’m spending my time fretting over locker room distractions and the specter of tarnished legacies. I’m worked up, defensive, edgy. I mean, consider my plight, bruh. Have you no remorse?