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Do You Forgive the Patriots? NFL Unfiltered Week 8

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The New England Patriots are the most polarizing of the National Football League’s 32-member teams.  And at 7-0, amidst some of the most mediocre and often dreadful football in recent memory, they are putting together another excellent regular season.  

However, because of years of foolishness and an equal amount of smugness, it is fair to wonder about the legitimacy of their current run.

In essence, they’ve robbed us, stolen our collective NFL innocence to the point where we cannot completely trust their success.  

Is it unfair to call them blatant cheaters and claim all their championships deserve an asterisk?  Maybe, but whPhoto: businessinsider.comen it comes to football affairs, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are about as trustworthy as hall of shame baseball player, Alex Rodriguez.

At this stage, only the most hardened Patriots fan misunderstands the impact of Spygate, Deflategate and every other instance their squad thumbed its nose at the league. They fail to realize the Patriots are an organization the nation’s football fans ought to celebrate. They should have equal significance to the 60’s Packers, 70’s Steelers, 80’s 49ers and 90’s Cowboys.  

Instead, everything they do merits a dubious look. If they should win 19 straight games culminating in another Super Bowl championship this year, are you absolutely certain they weren’t up to something?  If you do, you likely believe Rodriguez played his entire baseball career chewing on nothing but Flintstones™ vitamins.  

Case in point, look at Brady. He is 38 years old and arguably playing the best football of his career?  Forget the fact it’s nearly unheard of to play pro football this well so close to 40.  Consider, early last season he actually played every bit like a 37-year-old, looking all the while like he needed to see more afternoon naps and fewer blitzes.  

Then, something happened.

Perhaps like many suggest, he earned his doctorate in the Patriots offense with a double masters in deciphering NFL defenses. Or, tight end Rob Gronkowski  is so good, he’s raised Brady’s game to a mythical level.  

Either way, the Patriots, and all the bizarre incidents attributed to them, means neither Belichick nor Brady deserve the benefit of the doubt.  

Instead, they deserve the benefit of maybe. Like, maybe Belichick’s last couple of drafts are better than the five before that. Or, maybe the talk Brady connived his way to another title last season motivates him to prove naysayers wrong.  

It’s the narratives football fans want to believe but sadly, no longer can.

The fact is, we might never learn the competitive edge gained by recording an opponent’s practice, or doctoring footballs to make sure they’re easier to control.

Nevertheless, the Patriots look like the best in the NFL again, but too much has happened to chalk it up to talent and preparation. And that’s their fault.  

That’s the cost of getting mixed up in so much nonsense.  It’s the same price Rodriguez pays.

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 8

-Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith once represented the very worst the league had to offer.  Now, he is arguably in the top 16, but he is very much the same player he was six years ago.  

-Former Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s biggest mistake was coaching quarterback Andrew Luck as if he were vintage Peyton Manning.  

-Can’t help but notice Luck’s regression coincides with Cam Newton’s ascension.  There’s a strange but enjoyable irony there.

-Admittedly, Aaron Rodgers is largely a one man outfit for the Green Bay Packers.  However, just once, I’d like to see him shred a good defense.  Memories of Dan Marino riddling the 1985 Chicago Bears and Joe Montana beating 1989’s Gang Green Eagles, dance in my head.  Rodgers doesn’t have a signature game like that in his career.  

-Don’t look now, but armed with a leader at quarterback, who has good football sense, head coach Lovie Smith has Tampa Bay playing respectable football.  It makes sense, since coaches seem to always get “smarter” once they rid themselves of Jay Cutler.  

-Colin Kaepernick is a 2nd stringer because he waited until his fifth year to start preparing like a quarterback.  The idea his team set him up for failure is a lazy narrative, since the NFL sets up each team and its quarterback to fail … at least a little.  Hence, scheduling and the draft order.    

-Why NFL defenses continually rush quarterback Russell Wilson like he’s Brady is beyond me.  With Seattle’s receivers and Wilson’s height, a simple mush rush should work well.  

-Since the quarterback is so important, it is time for the league to create a way for each team to carry five. They should also change the rules that govern offseason practice for quarterbacks.  They only get hit in games, anyway.  

-Why isn’t more made of the fact the Rams often play dirty?  Oh wait, Jeff Fisher is their head coach, and it takes an act of Congress to criticize him.  

-Cincinnati’s Giovani Bernard is a better player than Jeremy Hill.  If the Bengals don’t remember that by January, they won’t win in the playoffs. 

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII

 

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Photo: businessinsider.com