admin-ajaxDear fans and media against the New England Patriots,

It’s time to stop. Now. You have no idea how foolish you’re looking trying to taint one of the greatest dynasties in National Football League history.

I understand you’re upset. You have the right to be. Some find it boring that a team makes it to six Super Bowls in 15 years. Or win 13 division titles. Or appear in nine conference championship games.

As the saying goes, haters gonna hate.

But your current reasoning for the success of the Patriots has hit an all-time low. After the Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC title Sunday, a report by Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com — an Indianapolis TV station — cited that a source told him the Patriots were using deflated footballs during the game. A Newsday report Monday followed up that Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noticed the ball was deflated after an interception off Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The league is currently investigating the claim.

Let’s just squash this immediately. If you honestly believe this act was done on purpose, you’ve never played the game. Each team gets 12 balls per game. Footballs, like basketballs or tires, are not going to come out of a game the same way they go in. Wear and weather are the two likeliest reasons the ball wasn’t in peak condition at the time of Jackson’s interception.

Fans and media immediately jumped on the story with a “See! See! The Patriots are cheaters!” reaction.

Not including Deflate-gate, there are two instances that haters wag their fingers at, citing these reasons for the Patriots success. Let’s walk through them:

The Tuck Rule game: The Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders 16-13 on January 19, 2002 on a snowy day at the old Foxboro Stadium. Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson stripped Brady of the ball, with the Raiders recovering. However, Brady was bringing his arm down, giving officials enough reasoning under the dreaded “tuck rule” that the motion counted as a pass, therefore, an incompletion. Or as the rule is officially stated: When a player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.

The Patriots regrouped and won the game, moving on to beat the St. Louis Rams for the franchise’s first Super Bowl win. But haters have pointed at this rule as being the reason the dynasty began.

The rule was brought up again recently by former Baltimore Raven/now ESPN analyst Ray Lewis, who last week said the only reason Brady was famous was for the tuck rule.

In the immortal words of Chad Johnson, “Child, please.”

The tuck rule was an awful rule. But it was still a rule. The play fit the definition of the rule. Don’t hate the player, hate the rule.

As for Lewis, his comments screamed that of a bitter, jealous ex-player who is clearly ignorant. Peter King had an excellent stat in his recent Monday Morning Quarterback column, stating that even without the 2001 Super Bowl season, Brady would still have a playoff record of 16-8, with four Super Bowl appearances and would still own the record for most playoff touchdown passes in NFL history.

Next.

Spygate: There is no defense for Spygate. During the 2007 season they knowingly videotaped signals from the opposing sidelines, an absolute no-no under the laws of the NFL. Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s defense was he was confused about the interpretation of the rule, but we all know that’s hogwash. The fact is, the Patriots cheated. There is no debate for this.

If you believe they were the only team to commit such an act, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona to sell you.

Look no further than three-time Super Bowl champion Jimmy Johnson, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys during the dynasty years of the 1990s, said during an episode of “FOX NFL Sunday” in September, 2007:

“This is exactly how I was told to do it 18 years ago by a Kansas City Chiefs scout. I tried it, but I didn’t think it helped us,” Johnson said. “Bill Belichick was wrong because he videotaped signals after a memo was sent out to all teams saying not to do it. But what irritates me is hearing some reactions from players and coaches. These players don’t know what their coaches are doing, and some of the coaches have selective amnesia because I know for a fact there were various teams doing this. That’s why the memo was sent to everybody. That doesn’t make Belichick right, but a lot of teams are doing this.”

The Patriots were punished and rightly so. Belichick was fined $500,000, while the team was fined $250,000 and stripped of its first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL draft. If Spygate never occurred, Deflate-gate would have been laughed out of the NFL offices in New York.

Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriot who was arrested in 2013 for the murder of Odin Lloyd. As soon as charges were brought up on Hernandez, the Patriots released him. Hernandez allegedly commited other crimes during the 2012 season, linking the former tight end to a double-homicide in Boston and a 2013 shooting in Miami, all while a member of the team. While there are rumors the team had knowledge of some of his off-the-field trouble, there has been no solid evidence against them, hence speculation about it would be irresponsible and won’t be found in this blog.

Let me break some cold truth. No team in the NFL is without some sort of sin. Are you a New York Jets fan? Remember Sal Alosi, the former strength and conditioning coach that tripped Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll during the 2010 season? Oh yeah, there was also the time Eric Mangini tried to pull the same Spygate stunt on the Patriots in Foxborough during the 2007 season. Are you a Pittsburgh Steelers fan? Do you remember head coach Mike Tomlin standing in the way of a kickoff return of Baltimore Raven Jacoby Jones during the 2013 season? You surely remember those Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1970s. Over the years, members of that team, such as the late Mike Webster and the late Steve Courson, admitted steroid use.

How about New England’s other favorite football team, the New York Giants? They had players intentionally fake injuries during the 2011 season to give their defense time to substitute players. Enough for the league to send out a memo for teams to quit the practice or they would be fined. I could do this all day, but I don’t have the writing space. While it is an actual NFL investigation, the league will find nothing on Deflate-gate and it will quickly go away.

Instead of putting on our judgment caps, let’s try a radical idea: Appreciate the actual play on the field. What the Patriots have done this century is rare, and may not happen again in our lifetimes. You may hate the Patriots, but you have to respect the success. When it comes down to it, it’s coaching and players that win games. The Patriots have won with both stacked lineups and depleted ones. They’ve made the most with what they’ve had. When all is said and done, the Patriots — whether they win Super Bowl XLIX or not — will join the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s, the Steelers of the 70s, the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s and the Cowboys of the 1990s as one of the great dynasties in league history. Belichick will go down as possibly the greatest coach ever. Brady perhaps the greatest quarterback ever.

Your complaints are comparable to an elementary school-aged child who just lost a pick-up game at recess. It’s childish and annoying. But you’re really only making yourself look foolish when you keep pointing to these past transgressions.

The Patriots, and their fans, are moving on to Seattle.

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