It’s easy to root for the Los Angeles Rams and their wunderkind coach in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the old-school Patriots and their fistful of rings. Who doesn’t want to see David beat Goliath?
But there’s one big reason to cheer for New England: history. This title-game appearance may mark the end of a remarkable run. Even if this doesn’t seem like the Patriots’ farewell act, they’re getting old.
Washington fans have seen how quickly a dynasty can die. The Redskins won three Super Bowls between the 1982 and 1991 seasons. Two years later, they went 4-12. So, too, must New England’s grip loosen.
The Patriots are seeking their second Super Bowl title in three years and their sixth ring with coach Bill Belichick roaming the sidelines and quarterback Tom Brady under center. They won three titles between the 2001 and 2004 seasons. Sure, they went without a title for nine seasons between their third and fourth championships, but the Patriots won their division eight of nine years during their “drought.”
New England replaced the Dallas Cowboys as the favorite team to hate in 2007, after the Patriots were disciplined for videotaping hand signals from the New York Jets. But how hard was that, really? The Jets’ hand gestures are usually two arms up in surrender.
There was “Deflategate” in 2015, when those crafty Patriots were accused of using underinflated footballs to beat Indianapolis in the playoffs. You know, like every football team from pee-wee up does for passers with small hands.
America is tired of seeing the Patriots dominate. Why, people were even happy when the Philadelphia Eagles beat them last year. It was like watching two guys you hate get into a fight: Just grab your popcorn and root for each to get knocked out. You still hate both of them, but the Eagles were the lesser of two evils.
The Rams, meanwhile, are straight out of a Hollywood movie. Young, dashing coach Sean McVay tries to prove himself against the old master. Maligned defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh — who has racked up numerous fines for aggressive tackles, stomping and kicking opponents — seeks redemption. Some fans have forgiven a franchise that left for St. Louis in 1995 before returning in 2016.
Americans love dynasties while also still pulling for underdogs. Maybe cheer on the Patriots one more time so years from now you can tell younger fans about the great New England team that won six titles. It’s like talking about the Boston Celtics winning 11 crowns from 1957 to 1969 or Green Bay Packers taking five of seven championships from 1961 to 1967.
The NFL will miss the Patriots when Belichick and Brady are gone, despite the team’s villainous reputation. Continued greatness should be admired while it exists.
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