Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Sports

Sure, Patriots are super, but enough is enough

Los Angeles Times

MINNEAPOLIS – A simple slogan captures the spirit of Super Bowl LII:
Patriots vs. Everybody.

It's on T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats here, and it's not unique. Other teams have used the phrase to reflect their us-against-the-world ethos, including the Philadelphia Eagles, who are also playing in the game.

But with New England in the NFL's marquee game for the third time in four years, and the franchise on the verge of its sixth Lombardi Trophy since the 2001 season, Patriots fatigue has reached epidemic proportions.

"I'm even a little fatigued," said retired tight end Christian Fauria, who won two rings with the Patriots. "Winning takes a lot of energy out of you. Success is tiresome. Which championship ring am I going to wear? Which hat am I going to put on? I get it. It's nauseating to some fans, especially when you lose over and over and over again. And you lose in silly ways, the simple ways.

"You try to mimic what the Patriots are doing, but there are so many major factors that people just don't have."

Are you still wondering why people hate the Patriots?

Enter the Eagles, who are making their third trip to the Super Bowl and have yet to win one, a sore spot exacerbated by the fact that the three other teams in their division –  Dallas, the New York Giants and Washington  – have each reached the mountaintop multiple times.

"I don't know if there are words that can really explain what Philadelphia would be like if the Eagles win the Super Bowl," former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski said. "It will be the biggest parade ever. I run into people all the time and it's like, 'I don't want to die before the Eagles win a Super Bowl. It's the one thing I have to have in my life.' There's incredible passion for the team."

Never have the Eagles had more fans than they will Sunday in what annually attracts the biggest television audience of the year, more than 100 million viewers. Super Bowls make up 19 of the 20 most-watched TV broadcasts, with the series finale of "MASH" in 1983 being the exception. NBC is charging north of $5 million for a 30-second ad.

Still, tens of millions of those eyeballs will be rolling at the Patriots, who are making a record 10th Super Bowl appearance, and dour coach Bill Belichick, who is participating in a record 11th Super Bowl. For Belichick, two of those came as a Giants assistant coach. New England quarterback Tom Brady is tied with Hall of Fame linebacker Charles Haley for the most Super Bowl rings by an individual player, with five.

A year ago, Public Policy Polling released the results of a survey showing the Patriots were the most disliked team in the NFL, with 21 percent of respondents saying New England was their most hated team, and 42 percent declaring negativity about the franchise. Brady was both the most beloved and most hated player in the league.

Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who won a Super Bowl with New England last year, said disappointed friends would ask him, "Now I have to root for the Patriots?" when he signed with the team.
"It's no secret there's people all over the country who want to see them fail," Long said.

The Eagles, who are underdogs, seem to be embracing that challenge.

"There's that Philadelphia-Boston rivalry to begin with," said former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who was born in Bridgeport, Conn., Patriots country, but now lives in Philadelphia. "But now the Eagles fans are relishing, 'Okay, we're going to be the underdog that knocks off the giant.' There are people in the city that that's who they are, that's in their DNA."
Inflaming passions even more, the Patriots have a reputation for bending the rules to gain an advantage – whether it's covertly taping the secret hand signals of opponents or improperly deflating footballs to make them easier to throw and catch – allegations they staunchly deny and write off to envy.
"They've had this inordinate, unseen level of success," Orlovsky said. "Outside of that little circle of New England, they're easy to hate. I don't feel that way, and I have friends who are die-hard Patriots fans, but it's understandable."

The Patriots turn a deaf ear to critics. They make no apologies for their success. "It's a little like the Yankees were," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said last summer. "Once a team starts winning, it doesn't endear them to fans of other teams."

What's more, they happily turn the knife. Specifically for this Super Bowl, they launched the "Not Done Network," which streamed Patriots-related content around the clock, starting Monday with the send-off rally at Gillette Stadium and ending Saturday night with a live production "Patriots All-Access." The first-of-its-kind endeavor attracted 20 million page views in the first 24 hours and sounded like a threat, as in, "We're not done tormenting you."

"Brady's not going anywhere, Bill's not going anywhere," Fauria said. "All that nonsense that you heard weeks ago about tension and this and that, it doesn't happen. No relationships have been splintered. No egos have been hurt. They've had to make some tough decisions, but, oh, by the way, that's what multibillion-dollar corporations do. That's why they're successful."
And oh-so-lovable.

"We try not to be arrogant, and I think most of the people in this organization are not," Kraft said. "Stylistically, sometimes the way Bill comes across to people. … But it's just that people want other teams to win.
"I understand it, but we're going to try to do our best to keep the haters hating."

Comments
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — One of the things that has made Blake Snell so good this season for the Rays is his refusal to be satisfied with anything he does.No matter how well he pitches, he finds flaws in his performance and identifies something ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

LHP Blake Snell certainly gets the bulk of the credit for his remarkable season, and there's definitely some due to pitching coach Kyle Snyder. But don't ignore C Jesus Sucre, who Snell likes throwing to and has been both a good target and a calming ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was sued Tuesday by the Arizona Uber driver who has accused him of sexual assault by groping her in March 2016.The woman — identified only as Kate P. in the federal court papers — is seeking m...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: Ji-Man Choi impresses fellow South Korean major-leaguer

Rays journal: Ji-Man Choi impresses fellow South Korean major-leaguer

ARLINGTON, Texas — DH Ji-Man Choi has impressed a lot of people with his increasing offensive production since joining the Rays in July.That includes fellow South Korean Shin-Soo Choo, the Rangers' veteran outfielder/DH who has been keeping tab...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

Even if it’s just preseason, it matters

TAMPA — It's a little after 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning.The NHL's intense regular season is still more than three weeks away. The uber-intense Stanley Cup playoffs are still seven months away.But, on this particular September day on a sheet o...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Volleyball: PHU continues mastery of St. Petersburg with 3-0 win

ST. PETERSBURG — The much anticipated showdown between Class 8A, District 10 rivals Palm Harbor University and St. Petersburg ended up being a 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 sweep for the Hurricanes. It was the first loss of the season for the Green Devil...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, September 19

TODAYBaseballCardinals at BravesnoonMLBRangers at Rays2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMRed Sox at Yankees7 p.m.ESPNRockies at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMCollege volleyballTexas at Kansas State7 p.m.ESPNUArkansas at Texas A&M8 p.m.SECAlabama at Missouri9 p.m.ESPNU...
Updated: 11 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Snell going for No. 20

For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Snell going for No. 20

UPDATE, 6:53: Cash said he and others around the team are excited about the possibility of Snell getting his 20th win, and also that they obviously want to win the game. Cash showed it by starting C Jesus Sucre, who Snell likes to throw to. … M...
Published: 09/18/18