Something very strange is happening as we approach the NFL's Conference Championship weekend. It all began with an innocent postgame interview on CBS following the New England Patriots smackdown of the L.A. Chargers. Here was Tom Brady with Tracy Wolfson at Gillette Stadium last Sunday afternoon, saying "everyone thinks we suck":
To be fair to TB12, the "Pats are DONE" chatter was ramped up all the way to 11 this NFL season, but that seems to be more a product of everyone just wanting this dynasty to be over rather than actually believing it. But in the immediate aftermath of the dismantling of the Bolts, a game that many picked the Chargers to win, Brady was feeling himself. Fine, take your shot at the haters and move "on to Kansas City."
But a day later, the official Twitter account of the five-time Super Bowl New England Patriots released a video with the caption "Take that," featuring clips from all two of their doubters on ESPN and them making them eat that crow:
What makes this extra hilarious is that this proud, extremely sensitive and frontrunning fanbase is eating this up, saying things like "chills," and "nobody believes in us," and "shock the world," and "Max Kellerman should die" (okay, may have made that last one up. But you believed it at first, didn't you?) What you are witnessing here is a franchise that has won five Super Bowls since 2000, finished first in the AFC East for 10 consecutive years, won 10 or more games every year except one since 1999, earned a first-round bye in the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the AFC this year and has the greatest coach and quarterback combination in NFL history, attempt to play the "underdog" card. This is LAUGH-OUT-LOUD funny.
You might be saying, "aren't the Patriots are an underdog this week?", which would mark the first time a Tom Brady-led Pats squad has been such an awful thing for the first time in 68 games. You'd be right, as New England is indeed a three-point dog. But that's not exactly that outlandish considering they are playing one of the best offenses in football in Kansas City, a team that may have the league's MVP under center in Patrick Mahomes, on their home turf. Not to mention the Pats squeaked past them at Gillette earlier this year 43-40, or the fact that New England had some real struggles on the road this season. Three points is a very fair number, and with what's in the forecast, it might as well be a pick'em.
But don't let that stop the "GOAT" Tom Brady from crafting a narrative that no one believes in these lovable, scrappy underdogs that play in the AFC Championship every year and the Super Bowl every other year. They just might SHOCK the haters and make their fourth Super Bowl in the last five years. Watch out! These Pats are SNEAKY!
It should be noted, just to not sound like too much of a Pats hater, that they are hardly the first team to pull this stunt in the NFL postseason. A few years ago, Doug Baldwin tried his hardest to paint his Seahawks, a team that had played in the previous two Super Bowls, as the team nobody believed in. In 2011, while the Giants were certainly the underdog again, that run paled in comparison to the 2007 team's run, but there were futile attempts by some to compare the two. The point being, it's not uncommon for teams to motivate themselves in this way, but the Patriots doing it should be illegal.