For some reason, teams that experience tremendous success are not popular among sports fans. In our culture, it is cool to root for the underdog. I don’t know if there is some innate tendency in Americans to root for the underdog because we once were one against the British while fighting desperately for our independence. Maybe our love of the Cinderella team was passed on down the generations by those people that emigrated to America looking for a better life and had to scrap to survive. In today’s sports realm, a team that is too good and wins too much is bad. They are perceived as arrogant, pompous, and self-righteous. We love to hate the Goliaths like the Yankees and the Dukes, while rooting for the Davids — such as Villanova of ’85 and the Packers of ’08.What is it about a team that wins that we dislike? Let’s look at the Patriots and their perfect season. Obviously, one could argue that the Patriots are cheaters with the spy gate scandal and had received an unfair advantage from their reconnaissance missions. Any advantage gained from the scouting was not the difference between the Patriots losing and winning. And I can understand winning because you have superior talent. But what upsets me is the manner with which the Patriots use the power prescribed to them when they win or are winning. Beating a team by four touchdowns instead of two just because you can or you want to increase your stats for the game is unsportsmanlike and lacks class.
When I was in middle school our basketball team played Ask Fork middle school. The school had probably 50 kids from fifth-eighth grade and could barely field a team. Needless to say we blew them out, but after we got up by about 25 late in the first half, our coach told us to make a minimum of five passes before we were allowed to shoot, thus ensuring that the score did not get too out of hand and the opposing team could retain some athletic dignity.
This is an example of an unwritten rule in sports that says, in order to preserve competitive relationships and in the case of professional sports business relationships, that when your team has obviously won and generally is winning by a large margin, then the coach takes the foot off the gas and tells his team to hold back or puts in the scrubs. There is no reason to embarrass a team, especially a team of professional athletes who are extremely proud and may hold a grudge. By creating this us-against-the-world attitude, the Patriots are showing up the rest of the league, and sending the message that they are better than everyone and they don’t need anyone else.
It is this arrogance displayed by head coach Bill Belichick that has provided the fuel for this football fan to want to see the Patriots lose their perfect season. That is why, despite not being a Packers fan and being a fan of happy endings, I would like to see Favre and his baby Packers defeat the Evil Empire of the NFL in Super Bowl XLII.