Some people are fans of the New England Patriots. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New England Patriots. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: New England Patriots
Your 2012 record: 12-4, culminating in a thorough curb-stomping at home courtesy of Joe Flacco. When Joe Flacco is the best player on the field in your home stadium in the playoffs two years in a row, you are not poised for some magical return to dominance. Also, fuck you.
Your coach: MILF-hunting sociopath Bill Belichick, who makes draft choices like a music snob who intentionally chooses the most obscure bands possible for his year end top-10 list. I honestly think Belichick is bored with the idea of winning Super Bowls. I think he takes much more pleasure out of running a tight-end quick kick on third down and seeing if it works. It's like when you win a video game and you decide to go back searching for hidden levels, not actually giving a shit about winning the game itself again. Let's see if I can make a decent H-back out of a potential murderer! KEWL.
By the way, that big Rolling Stone exposé on Aaron Hernandez (more on him shortly) was co-written by loathsome Boston writer (NOTE: There is no other kind of Boston writer) Ron Borges. Borges is the plagiarist who once went on record saying he'd rather have Tony Dungy as Pats coach because Dungy was classier than Belichick. Anyway, in the midst of what is otherwise a purely investigative piece, Borges still saw fit to sneak in a #HOTSPORTSTAKE about Belichick:
Time was, the Pats were the Tiffany franchise, a team of such sterling moral repute that they cut a player right after they drafted him, having learned he had a history of assaulting women. But Belichick, the winner of three Super Bowl titles and grand wizard of the greatest show on turf, had decided long before he got to New England that such niceties were beneath him. Over a decade, he’d been aggregating power unto himself, becoming the Chief Decider on personnel matters. He signed so many players bearing red flags they could have marched in Moscow’s May Day parade.
Look at the first two sentences again and tell me if they make a lick of sense. Time was, back before Belichick arrived and the Pats were a national laughingstock and Zeke Mowatt was grabbing ass in the locker room, they were the CROWN JEWEL of the NFL! Them's were the days! This is the Boston media in a nutshell. Whether it's accurate or not, they will seize any opportunity to bury current events in the asshole of this city's sporting past. LARRY LEGEND NEVER WOULD HAVE SHOT A GUY.
Your quarterback: Tom Brady. A new season means new hair! This season's hairstyle is ... (spins wheel) ... the Retired Marine! Sharp look. Tom Brady is a living mannequin.
By the way, this is arguably the worst offense Brady has had in his career with the Patriots. His best wideout is walking collarbone injury Danny Amendola. His second-best wideout is Kenbrell Thompkins (UNDRAFTED ZOMG SUCH HEART IF ONLY HE WERE WHITE). His third-best wideout is Troy Brown watching TV at home. Hernandez is gone. Rob Gronkowski has mushrooms growing inside his bone marrow. Just like 2006, Brady will be working with a pile of shit for receiving options. And his recent playoff performances have been lackluster. I SENSE A BIT OF JIM CARREY SYNDROME SNEAKING IN HERE.
Your fantasy player everyone will hate: Stevan Ridley, who is likely missing at least one hemisphere of his brain after getting destroyed by Bernard Pollard in the AFC title game. Belichick despises productive running backs, so look for Shane Vereen to get just enough carries to erode Ridley's fantasy value completely. The Patriots are always too clever by half, except when they're murdering people.
Why your team sucks: In the spirit of Bill "I make cameos in your column footnotes because YAY" Simmons, I've decided to hand out nonsensical "awards" to this season's Patriots in the form of quotes from the movie Sneakers. WHAT AN UNDERRATED GEM. No other movie from the era holds up as well. No one's ever seen it but me! Such a shame that Robert Redford never became a FULL movie star, you know? His run of Butch Cassidy and All the President's Men was COMPLETELY overrated. He came up in the same era as Paul Newman and my friend HouseO said in our Clownfister podcast that you can only have ONE high-stakes drama star per era. They're exactly like starting pitchers, when you think about it!
The "I Want Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Man." "Oh, This Is Ridiculous." Award
To the Patriots for signing Tim Tebo ... Oh God, I can't do this. Look at how fucking stupid this format is. It's even dumber than signing Tim Tebow off the scrap heap and then waiting until just now to reveal to the world that you were using him simply to learn the mysteries of the Jets offense before cutting him. The Patriots are an arrogant, self-indulgent franchise covered by arrogant, self-indulgent writers and loved by arrogant, self-indulgent fans.
It's perfect that Aaron Hernandez is the face of your franchise now. He grew up in a charmless New England shithole—the industrial New England, not macramé-and-whale-pants New England—where he was afforded plenty of opportunities to be a normal, decent person, but instead he decided to turn Full Wahlberg, get a bunch of stupid tats, take out-of-date narcotics, and assemble a kind of faux gang around himself. LOOK AT HOW FACKIN' HAHHHHHD I AM! Aaron Hernandez's chief priority in life was to be a fucking poser, and that is the very essence of Boston sports fandom. If things had broken a little differently, had Aaron Hernandez not been so good at catching footballs and not been so bad at being a law-abiding human, he'd probably be just another dickhead in a Welker jersey.
You people have won the Worst Fans on the Fucking Planet title belt for 30 years in a row. You're horrible when you win, and you're especially horrible when you lose—i.e., when you get to drive more nails into your wrists and drag your stupid crosses from WEEI to WBZ and back again. Even in good times, you assholes show off your losses like a kindergartener showing off a booboo. THIS IS THE SKINNED KNUCKLE I GAWT WHEN TYREE MADE THAT LUCKY CATCH! SOME SCAHHHHHS NEVAH HEAL! You have three Super Bowl titles and yet you will invariably find a way to bitch about the ones you didn't (and shouldn't) have won. You will simultaneously wax nostalgic for the old days and curse them in equal measure. You will complain about Belichick losing his touch while simultaneously lording his genius over opposing fans. You'll brag about Robert Kraft's classiness while threatening to fist someone's ladyfriend for wearing a Giants jersey to Gillette Stadium. You are whiny, sniveling, self-absorbed, two-faced posers who eat your young. All of you. I fucking hate the Patriots and my favorite day of every year is the day they get knocked out of the playoffs.
And the best part is, this Patriots team is worse than last year's outfit, and that bunch was already over the hill. New England is an aging 9-7 team hoping for some good bounces. The wideouts are garbage. The pass defense is wholly reliant on Aqib Talib NOT beating up a cab driver. The pass rush is shit (IF ONLY TEBOW HAD PLAYED ROVAH!). And Brady—who has been the only likable element of this franchise for over a decade now—is about to get overtaken by a crop of younger passers, Flacco included. This franchise is dying the slow, agonizing death that it has more than earned. It's glorious.
Why your team doesn't suck: WHAT IF HERNANDEZ'S ARREST PUT THIS TEAM IN EFF YOU MODE JUST LIKE BEN AFFLECK WHEN HE TOOK THE BATMAN ROLE?!
The 15 worst Patriots ever:
2. Reche Caldwell. He had Crohn's disease, right? Nothing else explains the eyes.
3. Laurence Maroney
4. Jim Nantz
5. Bill Simmons. Quick everyone! I'm having a playful argument with the Grantland staff about Coldplay! DON'T YOU WISH YOU WORKED IN OUR OFFICE?!!
6. J.R. Redmond
7. Andy Katzenmoyer
9. Hart Lee Dykes
10. El presidente
11. Kenneth Sims
12. Eugene Chung
13. Tom Hodson. Patriots fans have gotten to enjoy the long, full career of one of the game's greatest QBs, and yet they will still bitch to you about how they had to watch scrap like Tom Hodson back in the day. I SURVIVED THE ZOLAK ERAHHHHH!
14. Bob Ryan
15. Dan Shaughnessy. Fuck him in the hair.
Emails from Patriots fans:
Boston fans, in general, act like we fucking invented sports.
They are the worst team to root for on draft day. "Oh we passed on a Heisman winner to trade down and get a lineman from Rutgers? Awesome."
Tyson from Vermont:
The only thing worse than a Massachusetts sports fan is someone from Maine. Those people are freaks.
We have a huge fucking lighthouse behind a wide-open end zone. Pretty neat, if you want the acoustics of a fucking corn field. Your reward for this game experience? Sitting in traffic in Route 1 and receiving a text from your bag of a wife telling you to pick up some Fiber One at Stop and Shop on the way home from the game.
Belichick is a genius who stops being a genius at the worst possible times.
Because they don't win the Super Bowl every single year.
Fuck Eli Manning with a rusty spike.
I think everyone needs to come to the realization that Brady puts up great numbers in the regular season, and has become mediocre in the postseason. I'm going to buy a Mallett jersey.
Also, fuck Tim Tebow.
I hope Asante Samuel and Rodney Harrison still wake up their families with the anguished screams that come from reliving those last two plays.
New England is the only team that can win 12+ games a year, win the division handily every single year and make it deep into the playoffs most of the time and still PISS off its fans.
Every time Tom Brady throws an interception half the bar bitches about how old he is and how he is over the hill. This would be one of his nine he throws a year.
Our best cornerback (Talib) battered a taxi driver, our second best one (Dennard) assaulted a police officer; Google autocompletes "arrest" after their names in searches. Too bad they're not that good at hitting people when they're on the field.
It's tough to say whether our fans are more arrogant or racist. They sound like Yankees fans, saying things like "that Aaron Hernandez was never a TRUE PATRIOT anyway." Fuck them. Julian Edelman tried to fingerbang a girl in a club in Boston over Halloween last year.
All the joy of living in the godless liberal paradise that is New England goes right out the door every fall, when we finally let the dipshits we spend all year ostracizing come out of the woodworks and stream into our streets, our towns, and congregate at/around Foxborough.
Half of them sound like the typical incoherent wastoids that fill every stadium on any given Sunday, and the other half are busy aping Simmons and trying to tell you exactly why this year is going to be just like the second act of Heat.
Our best receivers will begin the season injured, in jail, or in Denver.
Our secondary covers receivers as well as the New York Post covered the Boston bombings.
Remember that time Chad Jackson was taken 16 spots ahead of Greg Jennings? Because I do.
The team's dominant stretch a decade ago created this delusion in the fan base that they have a superior football IQ relative to the rest of the country. Keep in mind these are people who can not pronounce any word ending in an 'r'.
Most of us are mentally unstable Rhode Islanders, generic Massholes, or Maine-iacs who have to get drunk just to make it all the way to our morgue of a stadium (ooh, it's got a lighthouse! How New England-y!) in a dumpster fire of a town that is closer to Providence than civilization. We all (from the fans to bloggers to the Boston fucking Globe) refer to the owner as "Mr. Kraft", as if he's some visiting dignitary to the White House, not a plutocratic owner of a major sports property. At least "Mr. Kraft" is better than his half-bright spawn, Jonathan, who sounds to be drunk on his pre-game interview every single week (I am terrified of when he takes over fully, and any Patriots fan that tells you differently is stupid, a liar, or both). It's not that these guys were "duped" by Aaron Hernandez, it's that they were too stoned on dry martinis to notice the hair-triggered dust-head at tight end.
I went to a training camp practice in July. A group of portly gentlemen in their 40s were loudly exchanging comments like, "Remember when these practices were at Bryant University in Rhode Island? There weren't more than 100 people in the crowd and you could move around from section to section to get a better view of the drills. HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED!" There is definitely a class of sorry, arrogant suburban trash who cherish their fandom during an era when the team sexually harassed female reporters in the locker room, wide receivers beat their wives, and the stadium was a metal and concrete sanctuary for depression.
On the other side of the coin, Lavelle Hawkins made a nice catch over the middle during a 7 on 7 drill, and a gum-snapping young lady behind me called out, "Wait, who is that wearing number 83? They gave out 83 already?! No one should wear Welker's number!" Throughout practice, the players who received the loudest cheers were, in order: Brady, Tebow, Rob Gronkowski (in shorts and a sweater standing on the sidelines), Wilfork, and Amendola. I spotted several Danny Woodhead jerseys, even though he is now a San Diego Charger.
Brady has a 3 year window. The Patriots should blow every dime to put weapons around Brady to win for the next 3 years. Instead they didn't make a run at any major free agent receivers. They let Brady's closest friend and most reliable target leave to Brady's biggest competition.
Seriously, fuck Bernard Pollard.
It was right around halftime at Dolphins stadium. I had gotten up to grab some food from the concession stands and was waiting in line when I noticed a goofy teenager wearing a "Tom Brady sucks dick" shirt in Dolphins colors fall in line behind me. I thought the shirt was actually kinda funny considering I'd fucking despise Brady if he was on any other team but my own.
Two half-drunk twenty-something bros in matching Aaron Hernandez jerseys come around the corner and notice the shirt. They confront the 15 year old.
BRO 1 (to kid): "Yo bro. The fuck is that shirt?"
KID: "You can read?"
BRO 2: "The fuck you just say?"
BRO 1: "Yo, Tom Brady doesn't suck. Tom Brady is the greatest ever. Fuck you"
KID: "Where did Hernandez go to college?"
The BROS are both momentarily stumped by this question, one of them saying who the fuck cares, the other's brain starting to overheat as he tries to think of an answer.
KID: "Seriously? You both got his jersey and you don't even know where he played in college?"
BRO 1: "Fuck you kid!"
But BRO 2's got it. He has the answer and he's got the sideways, shit-eating grin to go with it.
BRO 2: "UCONN MOTHERFUCKER!!!"
Bros 1 & 2 high five and get in the kids face saying "what now kid?"
BROS 1 & 2: "What?"
KID: "FLORIDA MOTHERFUCKERS! AS IN THE STATE YOU'RE CURRENTLY IN RETARDS." Kid proceeds to drop the Triple H "suck it" and takes off running.
BRO 1 (to BRO 2): Fuck dude.
BRO 2: Fuck that kid.
BRO 1: Let's fucking kill him.
BRO 2: Fuck yeah!
The two take off after the fifteen year old intending to "kill him" while wearing matching Hernandez jerseys. At the time I shook my head. I wonder if they went to the jersey exchange at Gillette. But they probably think it's cool to have a murderer's jersey. UConn represent.
France could field 11 guys tomorrow that would defend a 3rd down passing situation better than the Patriots.
We drafted a PCP crazed murderer because WOOOO THE PATRIOT WAY CAN FIX ANYBODY.
Fuck the Patriot way.
My stepfather asked for my husband to buy me a Brandon Lloyd jersey for Christmas. He was not joking. When I heard Hernandez killed "Lloyd" I got excited.
The coverage here in Boston about the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation (or I suppose that's the plural investigations now, frighteningly enough) has revolved around how this has changed the Patriots Way. This feels like covering the St. Valentine's Day Massacre by having a serious, spirited debate revolving around the existence of Cupid.
Since I don't have season tickets, I've devised the best way to replicate the Gillette Stadium experience. Every Sunday I grab a portable TV, a folding chair, and a 6-pack, and I drive to a morgue in the middle of nowhere. I park my car and hand my $40 fee to the nearest person I see. When I walk into the morgue, I hand the 6-pack to the morgue attendant, and tell him not to give me another beer until I fork over $13 for it. I then set up shop to watch the game in a walk-in cooler full of corpses.
The silence comforts me.
What people have conveniently forgotten is that, after Matt Cassel lead the team to a surprising 11-5 campaign in 2008 when Brady went down in Week One, there was a large portion of the fan base that wanted to trade Tom Brady and keep Cassel because Brady lost his clutchiness and no longer possessed the Dustin Welker Gritty McScrapitude quality that all the Boston greats possess. Also, he was too Hollywood because of his relationship with Giselle. So yeah, kick the bum out. And replace him with Matt Cassell. This is why us Boston sports fans should not be allowed to have nice things; because the second we find the slightest defect in whatever it is we have, we insist on getting rid of it for the newer, grittier, and almost always shittier version. I promise you, you won’t be able to find one of these people now, but they existed and there were a lot of them. We are the worst.
Everyone hates us, and they are right to hate us.
Tom Brady will retire in five years with three Super Bowl rings, and the next 50 years will consist of assholes saying he should've won six.
90% of the Riley Cooper apologists are Pats fans.
At every Patriots home game, during the second half, for absolutely no reason, large sections of fans will start chanting 'Yankees Suck'.
Our fans are terrible. We’re the Yankees fans of the NFL. We’re so spoiled by the Belichick era that we can’t even stomach the possibility that the team could ever have a bad game. The Pats will be in the middle of yet another 12-win season but as soon as they are down at halftime to a team like Miami, a horde of dipshits in Brady jerseys will start shuffling toward the stadium exits en masse before the beginning of the third quarter. I’ve seen that shit happen on TV time and again and it’s a fucking embarrassment.
Fuck Aaron Hernandez with a brick dildo.
I went to a preseason game a couple of weeks ago, and I was sandwiched between a pickup truck of 45 year olds bumping EDM and a clown car of just-of-age guys and girls sporting a mix of black or pink Patriots jerseys with more rhinestones than the prop department of Blood Diamond.
We Patriots fans feel more victimized by Aaron Hernandez than the Lloyd family.
We also truly feel that the Patriots should have won between 6 and 80 Super Bowls since 2001.
Patriots fans are rapidly becoming more annoying and self-righteous than Cowboys fans, and I cringe for when the team inevitably tanks out and becomes the Redskins.
Since a sixth-round QB played a big part in the Patriots' success, every late pick is seen as the new Julian Edelman, a chip-on-his-shoulder hero who can be plugged in wherever. Versatility is prized over everything.
We are the most obnoxious and insecure group of fans in all of America.
The game crowds are just awful. People under 40 with Boston accents are faking it because it's somehow become cool to be unintelligible. People over 40 with Boston accents are genuinely unintelligible.
Patriots fans will stop attending and watching games as soon as this team registers its first 8-8 season with an aging Tom Brady at the helm. Of course, they'll promptly switch into a long-suffering curse mentality as if no other team has ever been mediocre before. Fuck the Patriots.
If you attend a 1pm game at Gillette Stadium, you are not exiting the parking lot until 8pm. It's as if they constructed a 70,000-capacity stadium with zero afterthought given to the task of moving people out and away from the building in a remotely brisk fashion.
Our downfield coverage is about as rock-solid as Aaron Hernandez's alibi.
The only thing I've heard from Pats camp, other than murder and the second coming of Jesus as the 3rd string QB, is that there's a lot of excitement about Brady throwing to Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld. Never heard of them? They're rookie free agents, and everyone north of I-84 won't shut the fuck up about them.
Taking a new job and letting the office know you're a Patriots fan must be what registered sex offenders feel like when they move into a new neighborhood. Everyone wants to give you the benefit of the doubt because you're a new guy, but seriously: it's like you cheer for the New England Hitlers.
Nothing that happened prior to the Tuck Rule game exists in the minds of our fans.
Everyday I jog the same neighborhood. About a year ago, they completed new homes in this neighborhood and built a mailbox stand for all these new homes. As soon as people moved in, this was immediately on one of the boxes.
I live north of San Francisco.
The 16-0 banner hanging in Gillette Stadium.
Our fans. If the following sentence comes out of your mouth you're a grade A asshat: "They haven't won a Super Bowl in 9 years now." It's a common complaint.
They were literally the last fucking team in the world who figured out how to defend against the Wildcat formation.
Vince Wilfork is a potential HOFer and there is no doubt that Edelman's jersey outsells Wilfork's 10-to-1.
This is an exact quote I heard after the Hernandez evidence was read by my friend who is a fellow Pats fan: "I could give two shits about some dead black guy. Tom needs his fourth."
We still have idiots to this day that think the tuck rule was a good call.
I assume you could write novels on your hatred of this franchise, but this is a little more concise:
1. "The Patriot Way" (reminds me of when we had "Red Sox Nation")
2. Tim Tebow
I already know the ending of this story:
Pats win AFC East.
Pats beat upstart mediocre team that was a nice story that made the playoffs with fluky wins.
Pats lose in AFC Championship/divisional round to team that plays defense.
Everybody everywhere loses their shit, even though it has happened every single year since 2005.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: New York Giants.