I’ll preface this article by saying this is the most American thing I’ve ever written in my life. Proceed.
Tom Brady is free. Sorry, New England Patriots haters. It’s the cold, hard truth.
While I by no means commend Brady and the Pats for allegedly cheating, it’s hard to argue with results.
Since 2001, no team has won more titles than the Patriots, and yes, it has drawn the ire of football fans outside of the New England area.
Also on Spin Zone: Where does Brady rank on the list of all-time greatest QBs?
However, just because the Patriots are hated doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. In fact, the Patriots are the new, real “America’s Team.”Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
While the Dallas Cowboys enjoyed the nickname for a while, it’s time to pass the torch to the team that deserves it. That team, of course, is the New England Patriots, and despite “Deflategate,” I’m ready to don them America’s Team.
First and foremost, the Patriots perfectly embody the “American Dream.”
According to Dictionary.com, the American Dream is defined as being: “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.”
Looking at the Patriots roster, it’s very easy to spot players who either slid out of the first two rounds or went un-drafted altogether.
In fact, only six of New England’s 22 starters were selected in the first round. The Patriots core is mostly made up of unheralded players who’ve made the most of their opportunity.
The biggest play from New England’s most recent Super Bowl win came from an un-drafted rookie. The play will live forever, and it proves that being un-drafted doesn’t mean dreams of becoming an NFL player have to be dashed.
Take a look at the combination of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman. Edelman was taken in the seventh-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Edelman has become a slot machine as of late, emerging as Brady’s favorite target not named Rob Gronkowski.
By now, we all know the incredible story of Tom Brady. The pudgy kid who was selected in the sixth round now has four Super Bowl rings on his fingers and Gisele on his arm. If that’s not the epitome of the American Dream, than I’m not sure what is.
Furthermore, like America, the Patriots have a leader who seems to always be caught up in some form of controversy. Unlike quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, who typically have the support of the American audience, Brady is rather vilified outside of New England.
Unlike Abraham Lincoln, FDR and Ronald Reagan, our president Barack Obama seems to be always caught in controversy. If he’s not dealing with political issues, he’s dealing with people’s hate on social media, though I’m sure he doesn’t mind too much.
Courtesy of Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report, people are generally split on Brady and that’s fine. It would be no fun if it weren’t like that. Like New England, people from other countries are usually split on how they view America.Aug 28, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) stretches prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
New England also boasts the best tight end, and possibly the best offensive weapon in the league, Rob Gronkowski.
Kind of like how America has the best military in the world.
Also, the other teams and their fans, while they might not admit it, envy the Patriots. They’re the Super Bowl in the league, and it’s clear to see that.
Even when they were supposed to be without Brady for the first four games, experts still had the Patriots finishing as good as 12-4. Everyone has an opinion on the Patriots, and that embodies the first amendment.
And just like America, the Patriots come together when their backs are against the wall.
In 2001, when starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe went down, the team rallied and Brady led the team to the Super Bowl.
In 2003, after a 31-0 loss in Week 1 to the Bills, people wondered whether naming Brady the starting quarterback was indeed the right choice. Following the loss, New England would lose one game all year.
In 2004, with the depth at cornerback running thin, the Patriots moved Troy Brown to defensive back to help the team succeed.
Last year, the Patriots banded together and shocked the world when others counted them out. After their primetime embarrassment against the Chiefs, the Patriots only lost two games.
The culture within New England’s locker room is also somewhat similar to America’s communication culture.
According to DirectTutor.com, American culture stems from features such as efficiency, individualism and immigration.Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) celebrates with wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) after a touchdown during the first quarter of the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
While nobody had to learn a second language when they entered the NFL, Julian Edelman did have to learn a new position after playing quarterback at Kent State. The Patriots also have a litany of unique individuals on their team.
I mean, who doesn’t want to party with Gronk?
In regard to efficiency, has there been a team over the last ten years that’s been more efficient than New England? Since 2001, the worst record the Patriots have had was when they went 9-7 in 2002. Since then, they’ve seemingly become a perennial 12-4 club.
I don’t care if you live in California or New Jersey: when times get tough, Americans come together and stand in unity. That’s what we do.
It’s actually rather uncanny how closely the Patriots’ organization resembles America’s communication culture.
Americans are stereotyped as being incredibly arrogant and boastful, and that’s something New England fans are stereotyped as being, too.
Let’s also not ignore the most obvious thing that could make the Patriots America’s Team. New England’s colors are red, white and blue, albeit a navy blue. That alone should be a huge factor in propelling them to the top of the list of “Most American” NFL teams.
I won’t ignore the counter argument though. Yes, the Patriots cheated. In my mind, it was a minor incident, and who hasn’t cheated in a game – Monopoly, golf, etc. – before? If you’re not raising your hand, you’re not being honest with yourself. A minor infraction isn’t entirely detrimental, kind of like how one good game doesn’t make a player a superstar (I’m looking at you, Jonas Gray).
Look, regardless of your stance on the Patriots, it’s tough to say they don’t deserve to be labeled as the new “America’s Team.”
America is controversial, consistently powerful and it also has some damn loyal supporters. New England may not be your favorite team (they’re not mine, either), but this squad embodies what it means to be an American, for the most part.