As a Packers fan, I usually have a difficult time choosing who to cheer for in the Superbowl. You see, we usually make it to the playoffs, and since only two playoff teams make it to the big game, that leaves ten playoff teams who don’t. That means that the disappointment in the Packers loss is still somewhat fresh. A good problem to have, I realize. And if you want to call this a humble brag, it’s OK. I’ll own it.
In years past, I have usually chosen to root for the team that beat the Packers out of the playoffs in the Superbowl. I want to be able to say that the only team that could have beat my team is the NFL champions. That salves my conscience when I cheer for a team that is not my own. It’s imperfect, but I make it work. So by this logic, you would think that I should cheer for the Atlanta Falcons.
Ever since the Patriots were caught cheating to win the first Superbowl by filming the Rams practice, they have been a tainted team everywhere outside Foxboro. They do things unlike any other team in the league and get players to accept less money in exchange for a legitimate chance to win it all, and this attracts a lot of players who have earned their money and are now chasing legacy. I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about this team. They do things the way I think they should be done. They prepare like no other team. Their players are extremely well coached, allowing them to exceed the sum of their talent. But they have a history of breaking rules. Teams that come to their stadium seem to have problems with their communication equipment on a regular basis.
Enter Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner. His decisions have not been good for the league. He is not consistent in his disciplinary actions, and his inconsistencies don’t seem to follow any logical course of judgment. Over two years ago, the Patriots beat the Colts in the playoffs. No, they decimated the Colts. The final score was 45-7. And after the loss, the Colts complained that the football was underinflated. Goodell dragged this case, nicknamed “Deflategate” for over a year, and the US Supreme Court almost got involved.
A branch of the US Government was almost brought in to rule on the PSI of a football played in the NFL. Let that sink in for a minute. Roger Goodell allowed this incident to fester for over a year, rather than fine the team and be done with it. Ultimately Tom Brady was forced to miss the first four games of this season as a punishment for the event. The Patriots won three of those four games and then went on a rampage through the remainder of their games, only losing one other game.
The Patriots have been on an unspoken mission. Every team’s goal is to win the Superbowl, but to the Patriots it goes a step beyond other teams. Their goal is not only to win, but to put their embattled quarterback on the stage next to the commissioner. They want to force the commissioner to publicly hand the Lombardi trophy to their team. And they want to force Roger Goodell to announce that Tom Brady is the Superbowl MVP.
And so do I.
Do I really want Tom Brady to win five rings? Do I really want to hear people say that Brady is the GOAT when I would say that Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the league? No. But I did try to jump on the Atlanta Falcon bandwagon and just couldn’t do it. I tried to become a short term Patriot fan and that was hard to maintain. Too much baggage. But my disdain for Roger Goodell is strong enough to want the most uncomfortable result for him. I truly hope to see Goodell hand the MVP trophy to Tom Brady. It would be a fitting end to over two years of his harassment of the Patriots and even more years of spineless ruling over the NFL.
So for the next two days, I am a Patriots fan second. And a Packers fan first. Always a Packers fan first.
I don't care whom you root for, Tom Brady should be saluted for a season of greatness that served to humiliate a talentless bureaucrat.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) January 23, 2017