There is something inherently wrong with that large segment of American culture that sees greatness and feels victimized by it. Rather than appreciate it for what it is, they feel the need to attack it.
As Patriots fans, we’ve seen that for years in the petty jealousies of vanquished foes and corrupt league officials. We are also more than accustomed to local beat writers who hate the local teams. Rather than report on the game, they disparage the team’s accomplishments, take exception with the leadership, and attack the players. They do this because the coaches and players do what those writers only dream they could. Yes, Dan Shaughnessy, I’m talking about you.
From Foxborough to Tuscaloosa
As awful as life may be outside your chosen athletic distraction, it’s pretty good as a New England fan. As sports fans we should recognize that we live in magical times. To answer for the brutal awfulness of Saturday’s NFL playoff games, Monday’s College Football National Championship game was a gift from the football gods to remind everyone why we watch sports.
Love Nick Saban or hate him, Alabama football is a thing of beauty. And they are not alone. From UConn’s women’s basketball to Duke’s men’s team, and from the San Antonio Spurs to the New England Patriots – there are organizations today that defy the norm and achieve on historic levels in every sport. We should recognize and appreciate their greatness, even if they’re not our team.
What Saban has accomplished in Alabama – five national championships in the last nine years – is astounding. Given that there are 129 NCAA Division I FBS football programs, all of which get 85 full-ride scholarships – or about 25 new scholarship athletes per year – the recruiting playing field is level. Saban doesn’t get all the best players, there is talent enough to go around. How else can the University of Central Florida go undefeated and beat SEC powerhouse Auburn in a bowl game?
Despite a level playing field and abundance of talent, the Tide consistently out-recruit and out-play the rest. Like the Patriots, Alabama is a case study in excellence.
Appreciate the Greatness
Like many, I have predicted that the Patriots will lose both Patricia and McDaniels this offseason, and that the dynasty is nearing its end. Barring some draft, free agency, or a series of medical miracles that will fix Jules’ knee, keep Gronk healthy, and prolong MVP-caliber performance from the oldest guy in the league, I still believe that to be true.
But so what? There is a game to play this weekend. The Patriots should be in the Super Bowl this year. Things happen so quickly in the NFL that we should savor what we have today. And, on top of all that, we know that the New England Patriots are the gold standard for organizational excellence.
The NFL is the most competitive league in professional sports. It is designed to ensure everyone is equally competitive. From the salary cap, to draft and waiver order, to schedules designed to challenge better teams with stiffer competition, the NFL tries to level the field. Despite their efforts, for the past sixteen years the New England Patriots have won at the most impressive, historic rate imaginable. Nothing comes close to their five Lombardi’s, seven conference championships, and an absurd fifteen division titles.
Trust the Hoodie
The modern New England Patriots stand alone as the greatest professional sports dynasty in American history. And, rather than relish in the hyperbolic attacks by agenda driven morons in Bristow, Connecticut or professional naysayers at the Boston Globe, we ought to just appreciate what they’ve accomplished. We, myself included, should also trust that Kraft and Belichick are smart enough to keep this training rolling for a while longer.