Same old song same old dance

E9: What you wouldn’t believe about sports.

Sam L. Jaime, Sports Editor

I am so happy the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl, and still waiting for the day sarcasm becomes a font. In arguably their easiest path to the big game by even the most casual of football fans standards, it feels like the Brady/ Belichick-era Patriots are in their 30th appearance.

Tom Brady is plastered across ESPN and over-saturating your Facebook feed, and the “deflategate” fiasco that once dominated the sports world is muted by the sensationalism of a sixth round draft pick being heralded as the greatest quarterback to don the NFL Shield on his sleeve.

Sure, Brady has fantastic numbers, he has a legacy, but there is one aspect of being the greatest that often gets overlooked. Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player in NBA history for more than his six titles and highlight reels. Jordan created the NBA brand, helping to spread it throughout the world. Brady and the Patriots have had the complete opposite impact on the NFL.

Since their coming of age season, which culminated in their first Super Bowl in 2001, the team has been wrought with controversy. The “tuck rule,” which redefined the interpretation of a forward passing motion, was born out of a snow-laden playoff matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson leveled Brady, seemingly forcing a Patriots turnover. In that moment, the football world witnessed the first of many free passes Brady has been given to this point.

Then came “spygate”, in which the Patriots thought it was cool to videotape the opposing team’s practices. The aforementioned deflategate where Brady thought it was acceptable to order game ball deflation, destroy his phone rather than comply with investigation, and have the audacity to play the victim. Granted, the Patriots have paid for these mistakes for the most part, excluding the moral incongruity of the deflategate game happening during a playoff run which resulted in a Super Bowl victory in 2014.

Of course, other teams and players get into trouble. The NFL offseason is usually brimming with Bleacher Report notifications of player arrests and fines, or teams having issues with the league in some facet. Yet in nearly all of these situations, the individuals involved have some sort of apology, or at least attempt to rectify the situation. The Patriots and Tom Brady however generally tend to cry foul, dragging their dirty laundry into public opinion, and the league’s image into the gutter with them.

I understand the league has intense moments of impunity, and perhaps to openly challenge the league in court may say more about the league than the organization itself, but when you lose fear of the consequences, you are placing yourself above the very sport you compete in. And that is exactly what Brady, Belichick, and the Patriots consider themselves, and have for the better part of nearly two decades now, and it’s a tired act.

Even if they were the definition of “by the book”, the thought of their downfall creates a sense of schadenfreude that I cannot deny.