What Was More Impressive: the First Half of the Patriots’ Dynasty or the Second?

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Sorry, haters. Patriots won the Super Bowl yet again. Ho hum. The most unprecedented dynasty in the history of professional sports continues, making all of you losers sick. Please tell me how little you even care about football or how this represents evil winning or whatever it is the Deadspins of the world are saying today because they’re sick of their team not winning and have thus decided to paint the Patriots as a legitimately bad entity which is stupid and irresponsible but it’s okay because Tom Brady has a lot of money or something or about how no one actually counted them out or any other stupid hate you have in your heart. Give me all of it. It gives me strength. It gives me life knowing that your entire existence is made worse simply because Bill Belichick is smart enough to keep a roster together for 18 years. Oh, right, I forgot to add in to tell me about how they’re nefarious cheaters. That one definitely holds up if you spend ten seconds doing any research or free thinking whatsoever, you’re right. Whatever. Today isn’t about the sourpusses who are going to throw a party when all this theoretically ends but then realize how much they miss having them around after a few seasons of revolving doors of conference champions. Today is about the people who have been there from the beginning or even for those noble souls who, despite not being Patriots fans, have the brainpower to respect this dynasty. To them, I ask this question: was the first half of the run better, or was the second half better?

I suppose it’s a little disingenuous to divide it into two different periods since there’s really three. First was 2001-2007, where they won two Super Bowls, could have won five, and were unquestionably the best team in the league. Then there’s 2008-2013, where Brady got hurt, they had some weird years where they were kind of lost in the wild, momentarily had a revolutionary offense before another random Giants loss and a….high profile arrest, and were always just on the outside looking in. Then there’s 2014-now, where they’ve now won three Super Bowls and could have won two more in a different dimension. All in all, six Super Bowl victories in nine appearances and would have won two more in 2006 and 2013 if they hadn’t lost on the road in the AFC Championship game. It’s pure absurdity.

Anyway, 2001-2007 or 2014-now? 2001 was the first year I cared about football, so that season means a lot to me, and 2007 was my favorite team ever (too bad they canceled the Super Bowl that year). But the rest of those years are kind of hazy for me. I don’t remember a single thing from 2002 besides the Super Bowl, which did not involve the Patriots. 2003 and 2004 are kind of there, but not really. I have more memories from those episodes of America’s Game than the actual seasons. I don’t know why my brain has abandoned large portions of my adolescence, but it did. You could easily convince me 2005 never happened. The only thing I remember about 2006 is the AFC Championship Game. Reggie Wayne sort of fumbling the ball up into the air was the first time football ever momentarily killed me. Then 2007 gave me the worst night of my life. So from a personal level, this latest run was better and far more memorable. Was it better, though? It’s so hard to compare. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Patriots are constantly changing and adapting. Last night certainly reminded me of the old teams’ stifling defense, but I think their offensive prowess kind of gets underrated as the years go on. Their winning percentage is slightly better in this recent era, despite the fact that there’s, you know, an undefeated season mixed into the first one. I’m just gonna say this recent run is better. It’s been more fun and so much more satisfying as the haters run out of ground to stand on. I like grizzled Brady better, anyway. But hey, he kisses his kids on the mouth a little too late in their lives. So at least you’ve got that.

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The NFL’s Misguided Helmet Rule May Finally Kill the Patriots Dynasty

Folks, this NFL preseason has my blood boiling. I can’t believe the product I’m watching on the field is actually called football. After my years and years of dedication to this game I love, the NFL may finally have lost this fan. And all because of this god awful helmet rule. No, not the one all you small-brained people have been complaining about ad nauseam for weeks. I’m talking about the far more impactful one: the banning of certain helmet types, most notably the Ridell VSR-4. That’s what Thomas Edward Patrick Brady has worn since he entered the league.

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Now, in addition to the NFL willingly removing the players’ free will and autonomy, this is clearly yet another attempt by the NFL front office to rock the boat in New England. Outside of, like, three random games in 2011, Brady’s worn the same helmet in every single game of his career. It’s his signature look. It strikes fear into the hearts of the NFL. If you see a quarterback wearing a Ridell VSR-4, you know you’re about to lose in horrifying fashion. But now, because Goodell is desperately trying to do anything in his power to unseat the yearly de facto AFC champion, Brady needs a new look. Tom Brady is a 40-year-old man. If you ask him to change his style, you might as well just ask him to die.

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Now stuck sporting a Ridell SpeedFlex, Tom Brady goes into this season, for the first time since 2001, with some uncertainty about his standing in the league. This new, unfamiliar helmet could completely destroy everything he’s worked for. The NFL’s draconian decree that some helmet types are now outlawed, on the surface just a paper-thin attempt to cover their own ass, is obviously a shot at the reigning league MVP. I’m forced to imagine a universe where Adam Silver tells players LeBron James shoes are no longer allowed or Rob Manfred instructing the league that whatever glove webbing Mike Trout uses is officially illegal. I can’t make it more than two seconds into the thought experiment before it gets too absurd. To try and think of other leagues trying to drag their signature players into the mud is completely preposterous. And yet, for the thousandth year in a row, the NFL is doing everything short of sending assassins to the TB12 compound. Goodell legitimately wants Brady dead, and he’s done more to grow the game than any player in NFL history. Just makes you think if the current leadership really has the league’s best interest at heart.

Happy 4th of July

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights, that among those are the ability to eat ten billion hot dogs at a barbecue without judgment, taking off work because of the events of almost 250 years ago, and the pursuit of the perfect amateur fireworks display.

July 4th is, and always will be, a special day in America. It’s the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence (it always struck me as odd that just the signing got the holiday when England actually receiving word of the Declaration would be the more meaningful event, but alas. Also shout out to my boy Richard Henry Lee, who put forth the motion to declare independence, which was approved on July 2nd, 1776, only to be completely Independence-cucked by Thomas Jefferson and completely forgotten) by doing what our Founding Fathers would have done: drink a ton of beer, eat a ton of dogs and burgers, and generally do absolutely nothing until watching (or creating) a fireworks display. It’s a great time. It’s such a great time, in fact, that I’m not going to waste your time with an overly long piece about the merits or supposed faults of July 4th. Instead, here’s a bunch of inspiring videos.

Happy 4th of July, everybody.

Happy Birthday, Tom Brady

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Just wanted to give a quick shoutout to my guy, little-known quarterback Tom Brady. 40 years ago today, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. was born in San Mateo, California, and the world was never the same. August truly is the month for QBs (more on that at a later date). I’ve moved passed the point in my life where I wanted everyone to love him and couldn’t understand how anyone could dislike the greatest NFL player of all time. I get that some people just don’t like him and never will. It’s their loss, really, but I’m #done trying to convince them otherwise. I like being in the exclusive club of Brady Lovers. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like a winner. I won’t gush about him too much longer, since I’m sure everyone will be feeling Brady Fatigue by the end of the day. I just wanted to quickly celebrate one of the men responsible for at least three of the five greatest moments of my life. As someone who ties their entire sense of self-worth into the success of their football team, Brady has helped me create a somewhat less toxic self-image than what I would have if I were, say, a Jets fan. Of all the imaginary children I’ve had with various celebrities, at least 70% have been named Tom. What I’m trying to say is that Tom Brady is one of the most important people in my life, and the day he retires is going to be horrible.