Some people are fans of the New England Patriots. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the New England Patriots. This 2019 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews here.
Your team: Orchids of Asia. Real change of pace for someone in this organization to have THEIR dick grabbed!
Your 2018 record: 11-5. A Super Bowl victory that was about as entertaining as watching a feather-haired old man get a handjob. All five of the Patriots regular-season losses came to non-playoff teams in a year where the Saints, Rams, and Chiefs all seemed poised to topple them and establish potential dynasties of their own. But this is the NFL, and the NFL abhors excitement much in the way Robert Kraft apparently abhors getting laid for free.
And so the Pats escaped the AFC title game at Arrowhead thanks to their usual gift assortment of good luck and shitty calls, resulting in what proved to be only the second-best orgasm of Kraft’s day. Then they blew out the Rams in an unwatchable slog and notched yet another victory for terrible people all across the country: Tom Brady, the President, Mark Wahlberg, Pepe The Blog … all of them. That is the sorryass state of affairs we live in now. God remains asleep at the switch. At least we’ll always have the Miami Miracle:
Surprised the Dolphins didn’t get flagged for not liking Dunkin’ Donuts enough on that play or something. This was an unremarkable Pats team that still weaseled its way into winning it all. Why I still watch this fucking sport is beyond me.
Your coach: Devourer of souls Bill Belichick, who looks just as bored of the Pats winning titles as the rest of us are. It’s extremely telling that when Belichick seemed to profess being oblivious to Andrew Luck’s retirement last month (turns out he was not unaware), Pats Twitter not only bought it but instantly cried out NO DAYS OFF and jerked it to this hobgoblin’s supposed tunnel vision. Not only have Boston fans tried to co-opt Belichick’s genius as their own, but they also, in true New England fashion, worship his proud dourness. HE’S A FUCKHEAD JUST LIKE US! OW-AH INDIFFERENT PRICK IS A BIGGAH INDIFFERENT PRICK THAN YOU-AH INDIFFERENT PRICK! These people are only happy when it rains.
The Pats spent all of 2018 without a formal defensive coordinator, mostly because Belichick can do that shit in his sleep and because now-Dolphins head coach Brian Flores called all the defensive plays as LB coach. But this spring, they hired universal reject Greg Schiano to finally fill the position, until…
I have informed Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick that I am stepping down from my position at the Patriots. This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family.
I bet Greg Schiano’s family read that statement and were like NO NO TAKE THE JOB IT’S GOOD FOR YOU, NO NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH US NOSSIR! Anyway, the DC spot will remain empty for yet another season (and the Foxboro locker room will stay free of leprosy germs) as the Patriots once more rely on Belichick to devise game plans by consulting his haunted library of ancient wiccan defensive tomes. They’ll be fine. There’s something fitting in how all of the worst men in a five-state region wish that Bill Belichick was their dad.
Josh McDaniels can get fucked with his own visor.
Your quarterback: Hat Boy.
Tom Brady got suspended four games for doctoring footballs and yet no one, including the NFL, gives half a shit that he and the Patriots have, for YEARS now, circumvented the cap by paying Brady’s vanity company for contract work, allowing Brady to consistently play for less than market value so that the cupboard around him can remain fully stocked.
That TB12 company, by the way, was co-founded by Brady’s fraud of a masseur who was stripped of access to the rest of the team and whose unlicensed quackery may have helped hasten the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. But, of course, you cannot ask Brady about any of this shit. Mister Cool here lives in a rarified world where everything is lollipops and rose petals, and if you dare poke a hole in that façade, he puts up a blank wall that perfectly matches his everyday personality. You would think a man who claims his brain is “wired for contact” would be able to handle the barest of criticisms. But apparently, Tom Brady’s skin is a whole lot thinner than his cerebral cortex. In that way, he’d make a perfect fan of his own team.
Your backup is future trade bait Jarrett Stidham. Maybe Stidham will prove better at running trick plays than fancy dog boy ever has been:
Simmons Nation thinks Tom Brady has a personality now because he joined Twitter and Instagram, but of course Brady’s online persona is as phony as he is: the phoniest performance in an industry of phoniness. All those meticulously crafted self-deprecating jokes took hours of tweaking and involved Brady throwing a tablet at one of his assistants.
What’s new that sucks: Center David Andrews may miss the entire season after being diagnosed with a terrifying blood clot in his lungs. I would tell you that this could spell trouble for the Pats offense, but they’ve always managed to brew up a workable line using tongue of dog and eye of newt. Besides, no one is allowed to legally hit Brady anyway, and he does enough intensive pliability exercises (steroids) that his anatomy is now 90 percent gummi bear. Even if you did miraculously manage to knock Brady down without getting flagged, he’d still get up and then wear that stupid hat. Brady played horribly in the Super Bowl, by the way. But it didn’t end up mattering because the Rams could only shit out three points, handing him the easiest title in history. Whenever Brady struggles, the opposition does him the courtesy of struggling even more.
With Gronk retired, and you’d be forgiven for thinking he retired a year earlier given his production in 2018, the Pats will be relying on a pair of tight ends—76-year-old Ben Watson and Lance Kendricks—who are already suspended to start the year. Your likely Week 1 starter will be Matt LaCosse, who definitely got a job with this team because his last name sounds like lacrosse. Again, it won’t hurt the Patriots. They did the whole 28-3 comeback with Gronk on the shelf, and they still have reigning Super Bowl MVP (ugh) Julian Edelman at wideout to gobble up balls running dwarf-sized post routes.
They drafted N’Keal Harry—possibly related to Debbie—to play opposite Edelman, but he’s already on IR. As such, it’s worth looking back for just a moment to remember how awful the Patriots are at drafting wideouts, when they bother to draft any at all: Malcolm Mitchell, Aaron Dobson, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, etc. Belichick the GM exists exclusively to make things more challenging for Belichick the coach. It’s like watching a hobo on Boston Common play chess against himself.
Demaryius Thomas is here to load up on carbs and snap his Achilles by Halloween. Josh Gordon has been reinstated just in time to get suspended all over again. Safety Patrick Chung—you might remember him from the time Belichick switched bodies with Chuck Pagano for a second—might be suspended after getting indicted for felony cocaine possession in New Hampshire last month. So sad. Had Chung driven 15 extra minutes, he could’ve EASILY found some fentanyl or meth instead. Everyone on the Pats is either suspended, about to be suspended, or already has been suspended. Except the owner. The owner can get caught on camera paying $60 to get his hog milked and still get off scot free.
On defense, Michael Bennett has finally joined forces with Belichick. Together, these two men will wage an eternal war against complete shirtsleeves. Bennett could lodge 18 sacks this season and your average Pats bro will still burn his jersey while wearing a Kyle Van Noy jersey. Jamie Collins trashed the Pats on his way out and is now back for some reason. Funny how everyone who plays for New England has made a lopsided moral compromise with himself to do so. If the Giants are the Never Trump Republicans of the NFL, the Patriots are the $200,000-A-Plate Trump Fundraiser of the NFL.
Aaron Hernandez is a murderer again. Sometimes replay works.
What has always sucked: Pathetic.
Being a Pats fan means eternally living vicariously through someone else’s dick. Has any fanbase done less with success? Give my team six rings and I would chill the fuck out for life (or at least, I’d like to think I would). The precise opposite has happened with Pats fans. With every success, they grow more paranoid and defensive and BRO BOB KRAFT IS SUCH A BOSS IF I WERE HIM I’D BE FUCKIN’ TOO. Acting like they’re the only victims of injustice in this world and the only ones willing to call it out. It’s pathetic. We’re well past the point where Boston fans are actively grating. We have now entered the realm where it’s easier to simply pretend they don’t exist, and to sigh wearily when Boston fans go out of their way to be noticed by snorting Adderall and screaming DURRRR WE’RE STILL HERE while punching a pregnant stranger at the airport.
From ownership down, the prevailing ethos of the Pats is that everyone is against them and has treated them badly: Roger Goodell, the NFL, ESPN, law enforcement … everyone. Just look at the replies anytime ESPN tweets out ANY Pats news, even if it’s basic transactional shit about Sony Michel dealing with a calf sprain. It’s just a bukkake of 12 jersey avatars going FACKIN’ ESPN HAS IT IN FAR US! The fake-tough guy act in New England is unparalleled and depressing: just the worst bunch of “hold me back” morons who insist no one respects them and who also insist no one has ever been racist at a Boston sports event because they didn’t personally see it. It’s an endless cycle of terminal whiners complaining that everyone ELSE is a whiner.
I apologize to Jim Harbaugh, but WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US? was spiritually lifted from Tommy from Quinzee packing a lip full of Kodiak in the morning, scratching his balls, and pretending he’s the king of existence because Tom Brady fucks a supermodel on the reg. The Patriots are emblematic of a world that has loosely conspired to elevate of all the shitty people and sneer at the bereft. Everyone who is collateral damage deserves to be. I look at the Pats and I hope humanity dies. Speaking of which…
What might not suck: …Science says we WILL all die by 2050. The Pats will have 37 titles by then and Brady may still be roiding his way onto the field, but at least the nascent Apocalypse will come for us, and for them well. Then you fuckers will have some days off. When I get to St. Peter, first thing I’m gonna do is ask to see the handjob tape. I’ll have the time.
HEAR IT FROM PATS FANS!
Life is chaos!!! I have no empathy for my fellow man!!!
At this point the only way a Pats fan can enjoy the Super Bowl is by being choked, right?
For around 20 weeks of the year none of my best friends want to talk to me.
The Super Bowl was like watching amateur plumbers take turns trying to fix a toilet. Fuck Bill Parcells in his front-butt.
My favorite team is the least favorite team of the fans of every other team. With my friends who aren’t Pats fans, discussions about football are typically limited to our fantasy league.
Here’s the team account promoting Jim Nantz’s Vineyard Vines golf clothes.
The only thing that made Pats games watchable was Gronk’s Big Golden Retriever Energy. With him gone the Patriots season will be a joyless dirge of close wins capped by Belichick scowling into the Lombardi trophy while Brady sells magic health shakes.
Our fan base went from “they hate us because they ain’t us” to “we’re still here” in a season with no irony at all.
Our owner tried to get his misshapen elderly crotch yam stroked at the world’s shadiest rub and tug and is getting the fuck away with it. Our best receiver was the living embodiment of a Chad meme. Brady is gone in the next two years and I don’t see the Newport-huffing townie dipshits around here accepting anyone who isn’t as perfect and Aryan.
These people should be grateful for what they have been given and go into the season with a little class and dignity instead of the feigned indignation at not being respected properly.
I now know that a majority of my Patriot fan friends have no moral qualms about happy ending massage parlors and, no less surprising, that my uncle “Steve” knows the best place on the North Shore for a $45 rub and tug.
We have a moral imperative to run our air conditioners nonstop until we can be sure that rising sea levels will swallow Foxborough whole.
I fully concede at this point that Patriots fans should be considered a criminal organization by the FBI and charged under the RICO Act.
We won the most boring Super Bowl of all time. The Edelman celebrity tour (now including a documentary for some reason?) is making me hope he gets concussed and retires midseason.
Boston and the surrounding suburbs have become so expensive that our fans just marinate in their own stupid out in cranberry bogs and deer blinds until they can get into a stadium and belt out a racial slur at the nearest non-home player.
Gerry Callahan kept his job for 20 more years after comparing black kids taking the bus to school with an escaped gorilla. This region is the goddamn worst.
People around here actually think Julian Edelman is a Hall of Famer.
After their last Super Bowl win I finally felt secure enough to wear a Patriots hat outside. It took zero time until a homeless man screamed, “Hey Patriots boy, you like handjobs too?” Tourists thought it was fucking hysterical, and I had no comeback. Fuck this team and fuck gross-ass Robert Kraft for making this dynasty about as likeable as group puppy killers led by Darth Vader.
Drew (not me):
We really had to win it again. For any other team it would be a success. But oh no. Not for these fucking fans. Now they won’t be happy until they have seven, then ten, and they will never ever shut up about it.
Tom Brady is a mound of shit future cult leader waiting to happen. Kyle Van Noy is not fun. We will always draft a mid-round quarterback, I will always hype him up, and he will always leave or be Brian Hoyer.
I watch maybe 5 Pats games during the regular season. I can name like 4 active players (make that 3 since Gronk retired with his remaining brain cells). I often find myself reflecting on all of the bullshit that I have endured over the past 18 years: spy-gate, deflate-gate, Tom Brady’s fucking MAGA hat and his witch-doctor trainer, Belichick’s love letters to Donald Trump, and Bob Kraft’s Florida prostitutes. There is no logical way to justify being a fan of this team.
And yet, every year when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, and the Pats are inevitably in that Super Bowl, I put on my Tom Brady jersey, show up at a bar, and call anyone an asshole that points out all of the obvious things I’ve highlighted above.
No one could hate me more than I hate myself.
Jonathan (not Kraft):
I’m ready to go back to the good ol’ days when they sucked and nobody knew or cared they were blowing a racist goon under the table.
In the end our fans’ joy of the game is destroyed as they go either full MAGA jackwad or No Days Off pod person.
I am the ultimate bandwagon Pats fan and I will deny it to this day if I’m challenged on it. As I am from Connecticut, I parlayed this into an easy excuse to be a Pats fan, “I’m from New England.” FALSE...really I just jumped on because I wanted to follow the best team in the league. It could have been any team.
Brady’s six rings now ensures that every goddamn two-bit, mouth breathing shithead from the overmonied depths of Connecticut to the distant might-as-well-be-Canada barren wasteland of Northern Maine will be making Marvel References and Brady/Thanos jokes from here till the end of their (hopefully) brief lives.
There is no place worse to watch a Patriots game than The Red Jack Saloon in San Francisco. Imagine if Tawmmy from Quinzee had a tech job and a bit of cash.
When Brady/Belichick are gone, most Patriots fans will stop watching the NFL, citing their newfound concerns for concussions and player safety.
Because Bob Kraft surely grunted out a Boston-accented, marble-mouthed “WE ARE ALL PATRIOTS!” each time he was brought to wrinkled climax by a young Chinese woman at Orchids of Asia.
Also, the tailgate scene at Gillette is a misanthropic hellscape of Bud Light guzzling xenophobic steakheads.
I wish we could put together four consistent quarters in a Super Bowl so that I don’t get so drunk during the first half I can’t remember the second.
They blame the massage parlor and the Florida cops for smearing RKK’s good name.
Today in my office I heard 2 adult men fighting over whether Belichick should’ve put Malcolm Butler in against the Eagles, with one of them arguing that Bill really lost the locker room after that and Brady didn’t trust him anymore. Nevermind the fact that this happened over 500 days ago and we literally won the Super Bowl the following season. This is far beyond being spoiled. We’re a city with a compulsive need to be an underdog paired with the most dominant football team in history. It has broken our feeble minds.
Any actual bitching I’d put in here would be disingenuous drivel, which is why our fanbase sucks. All Pats fans do is whine about how “they” counted us out (precisely nobody counts the Patriots out, ever) and can’t for one goddamn moment be grateful that we’ve been blessed with an enormous amount of fortune. I’m disgusted to be counted amongst these unappreciative assholes.
1) You know you’ve more than earned your well-deserved reputation for two decades of new-money-rich when you meet someone new and they ask “So you do you like for football?” and my go-to answer is “Promise you won’t get mad?”
2) I was leaving New Orleans after a bachelor party last fall, wearing a Pats hat, and as we’re walking through the airport drop-off hung over and completely obliterated from 4 straight days of drinking, a bunch of bros roll up in some SUV and one bro in a Patriots jersey leans all the way out the window and yells “Hey, go Pats!” (I’m the only Patriots fan in our group). Just as my struggling ass almost says “Thanks man, go Pats!” he screams “WINNAAAAAAAHS!” and they drives off. The whole group just stares at me and all that came out of my mouth after two whole seconds was “...god dammit”.
3) As an expat New Englander in Nashville, I got super excited when our Patriots bar in Nashville got approved as an official Patriots fan club. We’d pack the place out so much you had to get there at least an hour before gametime to even get in. So I invite all my friends to a game (I believe it was the ‘15 playoffs against Kansas City) and one of them goes (imagine a strong Tennessee accent) “It feels like a different country in here!”. The bar that hosted us shut down less than 2 years later. Coincidence? You decide.
The Patriots as an organization couldn’t care less about any fan who either makes less than $250K a/year or hasn’t been a season ticket holder since the ‘80s. Not only do we have the 2nd highest ticket prices in the league but every piece of swag is priced about 30% higher than most teams. At the Foxboro Under-Armour Tom Brady shrine/store a “199" (his draft number) t-shirt costs 60 fucking dollars.
In a staff meeting a few days before the 2017 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Eagles, my employees were bragging about how great it was going to be to see Brady & Co. win another championship, calling them the best dynasty in probably any sport. In trying to prove my point that fans of other teams have longer histories rooting for their franchises, I asked them to name a regular starting Patriots QB other than Tom Brady or Drew Bledsoe. The next two minutes was filled with pure silence, followed by five minutes of them fumbling around Wikipedia looking for a name they recognized. They came up with nothing.
It says something about our horrible timeline and the ceaseless, numbing awfulness of late stage capitalism that I’m so embarrassed by a scumbag billionaire owner who outsourced his handjobs to Chinese slave labor.
We fans were revealed long ago as vermin that are unable to handle even the slightest criticism of the Patriots in a reasonable manner. Bring up Deflategate? “DIE IN A FIRE.” Correctly state that but-for the Tuck Rule reversal, Tom Brady would only have a mere 5 championship rings at most? “I HOPE YOUR KID GETS KIDNEY DISEASE.” And so on and so on. We’re the worst. The Patriots are the perfect match for us, too – morally repugnant from top to bottom.
It’s always something with this team, and it will continue to be that way until Belichick finally retires in 2666 and takes his preordained place at the right seat of Satan. Rooting for the Patriots is like rooting for late stage cancer – your team wins more often than not, but it’s a bad look.
I am resigned to another season watching this Mos Eisley cantina crew gear up for another attempt to repeat as champs, getting irrationally angry or unjustifiably smug over events I do not control, and ignoring my family for 48+ hours this fall and winter. And over a team that is objectively loathsome! WTF is wrong with me?
Despite his greatness, Bill Belichick remains a soulless asshole.
Honestly, if Tom Brady had literally any other job on the planet, I would want him to be face-down in a gutter with a methhead fucking his corpse. Nothing about him is likable. His trainer is a complete quack who is probably anti-vax but pro-leeches. He’s also the most insidious type of MAGA bro, looking “respectable” so as to provide cover for the overt bigotry of most Trump supporters while being willfully blind to same. Five years after he finally hangs it up, I fully expect him to write a LTE to his local weekly protesting his country club’s decision to admit Rodney Dangerfield.
Between my growing apathy towards football and the genuine dogshit nature of the game, I don’t know if it’s possible for me to get less joy out of a championship than I did out of the Super Bowl this year. After watching all of our aging, banged up players get ground up into dust one last time, my overriding thought at the end of the game was “well that sucked ass.”
Our fucking sociopathic, strawberry-hating quarterback is quickly and dramatically losing the physical ability to throw a football, but every fan believes he’s going to play until he’s 60. Can’t wait until he falls off a cliff and every “lifelong fan” stops caring about this team to go bandwagon for the Chiefs.
Fuck Donald Trump and fuck Boston, too.
I guarantee that at least 40,000 men in South Boston have publicly shared their opinion that “it’s an honor to be trafficked to serve a great man like Mr. Kraft.” This is somehow the seventh-grossest thing about this team and its fanbase in the past few years.
New England was founded by Puritans, so it makes complete sense that we’ve transformed this team’s pervasive joylessness into a virtue and play the aggrieved, persecuted victims. Thus, we can believe everyone is out to get us despite the team being incredibly successful—success wasted on a fanbase that is pathologically incapable of enjoying it. Fuck me with a Lego dong for continuing to participate in this.
The Chiefs game. I was normal. I was new. I was evolved. Until the fourth quarter and overtime. It all came flooding back in angry pacing, in under-the-breath muttering exploding to obnoxious yelling on scoring plays. My friends who heard me celebrate the victory sincerely didn’t want to speak to me for days afterwards. Just to make sure I’d alienated my entire personal circle, I hit Twitter posthaste and wrapped up each post with #QuestForSix.
I write you this immediately after LIII. I could have written it before. Once New England sent Kansas City packing from Arrowhead, we all knew what was going to happen, just as I know for sure now that I can’t alter who I am at my core.
Being a Patriots fan is unlike being a fan of any other wildly successful franchise. Nobody bandwagons this team. Nobody gloms on to this glory. If you’re a Patriots fan, it is something you are, and you are that way until the day you take your selfish, narcissistic, myopic, godawful last breath. I’ve canceled my therapy sessions. They’re not going to help. I bought a Julian PEDelman “Bet On Us” Shirt for nearly $40 and now look to the future, where I anticipate many years of not pushing my boundaries and of cheating on my wife.
I tried, Drew. I really did. But the league can’t stop this team from collecting rings. Nothing changes, and everything is wrong. I just happen to be on the side that isn’t forced to feel pain.
In 2013, while visiting family, I went to the Pats/Falcons game in the Georgia Dome. Late in the first quarter, a kid, probably around 8-10 years old, came down to where I was sitting and started pestering me because I was in Pats gear. I mean SCREAMING and taunting. It started funny, but after 20 straight minutes, I finally started returning the favor, playfully (I swear), because New England was leading.
Finally, near halftime, I tell him he needs to go back to his seat because his act is old. I eventually find his dad and walk up and tell him his kid is being a pest. The dad got him to stay there and was cool about the whole thing.
I know I did the right thing. The kid was being a little prick. But as I was walking back to my seat, I started getting hateful looks and comments from Falcons fans like I was the prick in this scenario.
And yanno what? I couldn’t even fight it. I was the asshole in the Bruce Armstrong Patriots jersey who just tattled on a kid for being a kid. And I was a Patriots fan on top of that. So I just took my L.
But hey the Pats won and I saw a fight between two Falcons fans after the game!
Yet another off-season in which it becomes clearer that this team is one of Dr. Zimbardo’s experiments gone off the rails in which we test how deplorable an enterprise can be in all aspects off the field before its fanbase exhibits a modicum of self-reflection and supports the team just a bit less. Literally nothing will stop Murph and Sully’s annual tradition of buying the jersey of a 3rd-string skill position player who happens to be white and sitting in the car for three hours to reach the NFL’s only woodland stadium.
Also, I know this submission is late so feel free to just run it in 2020 when it comes out that Kraft reached Gold Member status on Epstein Airlines, Belichick leads a “DO YOUR JOB!” chant at a Nashua MAGA campaign rally, and Brady has a standing 11 a.m. infomercial on ESPN2 selling a tomato-free marinara sauce that promotes flexibility and prevents concussions.
Special thanks once more to all the readers and Deadspin staffers who helped compile this series for another year.