Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia
— LB (NE: 11-2) (@GOATtweetsLB) December 16, 2016
Okay, you probably read that headline and feel a little differently, and honestly, I don’t blame you. After dragging Tom Brady and the Patriots through the mud for almost two years, the NFL isn’t even considering punishing the Steelers for doing (note: there’s zero proof the Pats did anything at all) the same thing. In fact, they’ve swept the entire thing under the rug. Roger Goodell and all of his cronies washed this blood off of their hands in just under an hour. So I get it. I understand why Patriot fans are pissed. We all know how shitty these past two years have been; it’s not crazy to want another team/fanbase to go through the same thing.
However, I don’t. Sure, that sounds a little weird, but it’s the truth. Even though there’s a part of me, deep down inside, that wants this to happen, the other part, the larger part, does not at all.
Here’s why: I like watching the commissioner and his office staff screw up. I very much enjoy watching that buffoon make mistake after mistake after mistake. (Except when it comes to domestic violence cases. For him to constantly drop the ball there is despicable and inexcusable. Those situations alone should have gotten him fired a long time ago, but I digress.) And you wanna know why? Because it makes every single Patriots’ accomplishment so much sweeter.
Every time Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, or this team as a collective, does something great, it’s in spite of Roger Goodell. He started an investigation based on no evidence, assisted in the publication of an erroneous report, suspended our quarterback, and then suspended him again. He worked tirelessly to take this team down. Each time the Patriots turned a corner, another roadblock crested with that NFL shield sat in their way.
But you know what? This team has smashed every single one of them. Without Brady, they went 3-1, and their only loss came with their rookie, third-string quarterback, with a broken hand steering the ship. That’s pretty damn good. And since Brady came back? They’ve lost only one game, won eight more, and they’re coming off of a dominant Monday Night win against the best defense in football. To reiterate a previous point, that’s pretty damn good.
Plus, if you look at a couple individuals, well actually, one individual, the chief target of Goodell’s witch hunt, Tom Brady, you should feel the same way as me.
He sat for four games because of this thing. He was robbed of being, and we were robbed of seeing, the best quarterback to ever step foot on the gridiron do his thing for an entire month. Did that suck? You’re goddamn right that sucked, but again, it’s made everything he’s done so much sweeter. After every single one of his twenty-two touchdown passes, I’ve thought of angry tears streaming down the face of that redheaded scrub sitting in his office at 345 Park Avenue, and no matter how messed up that might seem, I’ve absolutely loved it.
And that’s not going to stop. As Tom Brady continues to dominate, and this team continues to win, I’m going to love it. Yes, I’d love the big numbers and stats regardless of circumstance, but for everything to come in spite of the league office makes them feel so much important; like they’re more valuable because they were harder to come by.
Now, I get it, a lot of people would do anything for DeflateGate not to have happened, and don’t get me wrong, I hated the whole ting, but what’s come from it is kinda crazy. Over the course of these past two years, Patriots fans have been galvanized into the strongest fanbase in the National Football League. The way we fought for this team wasn’t normal — it was special. The way we came together in support of our quarterback and attacked the league office wasn’t over-the-top — it was amazing. The “Free Tom Brady” chants, the shirts, the signs, every effort to Defend The Wall, all of it was incredible.
We, as fans, were ruthless. We rode for this team like no other fanbase in football history. People protested, people were arrested, hell, I wore a Tom Brady jersey to prom and graduated in it a couple of weeks later. I was fighting the fight, I was part of something bigger, Patriot Nation, and I reveled in it. I still do revel in it. I’m a New Englander, and us New Englanders are tough, we’re gritty, we’re provincial. That “us versus the world” mentality is perfect for us. We’ve had it before with the Red Sox, but that was different, everybody loved the 2004 Red Sox. These Patriots that we have now are not loved. They’re hated, and that’s okay. People hated the Bad Boy Pistons, people hated The U in the 80’s, people hated the Joe Torre Yankees, but what do all of those teams have in common? They won, and if you haven’t noticed, so do we.
So yeah, I guess it would be cool to see someone else, some other group, go through the same shit that the Pats and their fans did. But the second that happens, this “us versus the world” mentality comes to an end. Brady touchdown passes stop being fuck you’s, Bill Belichick press conferences won’t be tomatoes thrown in the face of the NFL, wins become just wins. (All of those things are obviously great by themselves, but the added anti-Goodell aspect makes them so much better.)The second Roger Goodell kneels at the feet of Tom Brady and apologizes to him for DeflateGate and everything that came with it, an era comes to an end. And, despite being a tumultuous and turmoil-filled two years, I don’t know if I’d give this era back. We’ve been fighting against the world, and guess what? We’re winning.