Evanson Column: Just admit it - Belichick's Patriots are good
Can anyone just
That's not a rhetorical question. But while the answer should be simple, I ask it knowing that it's becoming increasingly difficult to answer, as a result of the feedback I commonly hear on television and radio, read in newspapers and magazines, and scan on various forms of social media.
The New England Patriots, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady just won their eighth conference championship in 17 years. They will have played in three of the last four Super Bowls, winning two (with a potential third pending), and five of the last 11. Brady is likely on the verge of winning his third NFL MVP, and Belichick has three times been named the NFL's Coach of the Year. When all is said and done, the coach and quarterback will likely be considered the best at their positions in the history of the game.
Yet, despite their record, their achievements and the consistency with which they've always performed, it's always luck, favorable officiating and preferential treatment that's responsible for their success — per fans of the game, the media that covers it and opponents reluctant to acknowledge their success.
Why is that?
Is it because they win?
I get that, to an extent. After all, it's been well-documented that the only thing we as a society like more than building someone up is tearing them down. But even the most irrational fan has to, at times, have at least a moment of clarity that allows for appreciation of what the Patriots have done.
Is it due to the improprieties they've been tied to regarding film and deflated footballs?
Partly, I suspect. After all, you can't deny that Belichick's numerous attempts to circumvent the rules regarding surveillance of his opponents leaves a bit of a stain, but you also can't reference "deflate-gate" without some sense of the ridiculousness revolving around any notion that a less-inflated football equated tangibly to any Patriot victory.
Is it the manner in which they address the people who cover the game?
Maybe. After all, Belichick is the single worst interview in all of professional sports, and it's not just his unwillingness to say anything that makes him detestable, but it's also the overtly rude manner by which he does it that is simply out of line.
So I get it, to an extent. But what I don't get is that while you're afforded the right to dislike someone or something, your distaste for them or it doesn't and can't erase what they've inarguably accomplished, nor should it deny them the respect they've ultimately earned.
This isn't a new phenomenon. I saw this with Tiger Woods in his prime, the Yankees and Cowboys in the late 1990s, and recently with guys like LeBron James or Steph Curry. Many abhor consistent accomplishment. It's a form of jealousy wrapped in an irrational hatred for success.
Does it add up? Of course not, for there are plenty of things I don't like, but I'm at least capable of acknowledging that it may be likable despite my contempt. After all, I'm not a fan of the Patriots, nor did I like the Cowboys or Yankees of yesteryear, Tiger Woods (off the course), or even iconic bands like Pink Floyd or Nirvana. But I do respect what they've all accomplished, and — somewhat begrudgingly — willingly concede their relative greatness.
The Patriots are good. In fact, they, as an organization, have been great. It's not because they're lucky, not because the referees are in their pocket and not because the NFL "wants them to win" — it's because they're smart, talented and work hard.
There, I said it. Can you?
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