Sunday evening, with a frigid Arrowhead Stadium moonscape serving as the backdrop, the spunky, upstart New England Patriots—playing in their eighth consecutive conference Championship Game—pulled off a miracle upset victory against the mighty and formidable Kansas City Chiefs. Unheralded quarterback Tom Brady—who has piloted the Pats to fifteen 10-win seasons—masterfully orchestrated a go-ahead scoring drive with 40 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and did likewise in overtime, utterly jugulating a stout Kansas City secondary—which ranked 31st in the NFL in pass defense during the 2018 regular season—with a metronomic onslaught of clutch third-down conversions. Following the Pats’ 41-28 thrashing of the Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round, Brady, speaking directly to his naysayers, detractors, and doubters—all five of them—told CBS’ Tracy Wolfson that “everyone thinks [the Patriots] suck and can’t win any games,” so it must’ve felt extra good to overcome such insurmountable odds and climb to the precipice of the league’s pinnacle (for the third year in a row). Take that, h8rz!
You shouldn’t need me to tell you that the Patriots, an organization that’s seeking its sixth Super Bowl title this millennium, peddling the underdog narrative is absolutely deplorable and truthfully flatly emblematic of why most non-New Englanders would prefer the entire Northeast by annexed by, like, Greenland. Look at this insane thing posted by the vile Julian Edelman, who makes Vontaze Burfict look like Fred Rogers:
Bet against us. Bet against us. Please hit me with a bus. This is the worst thing I have ever seen on the internet.
The primary issue here is that the Patriots are so spoiled by their own success that even the remotest, most inconsequential misstep is completely unpalatable; they don’t know how to fail. During the regular season, the Patriots lost two games in a row for the first time since 2015 or so—the first was the result of a once-in-a-lifetime fluke Hail Mary-ish lateral kind of thing against the Dolphins, and the second came against the Steelers—a purported Super Bowl contender—in Pittsburgh. As a result, people who are apprised of general happenings around the NFL innocuously remarked “Hey, wow, the Patriots actually look kinda beatable this year,” to which the Patriots locker room (to say nothing of their psychopath fan base and sycophantic media contingent) responded “THAT’S JUST FINE WE’LL BE UNDERDOGS BET AGAINST US,” to which everyone replied “Hey, okay, I mean you guys are still probably gonna get a first-round bye since the Texans will inevitably crap their pants, and anyone with a functional brain will almost certainly bet on you guys to win the AFC,” to which the Patriots replied, “We’re gonna SHOCK THE WORLD #BETAGAINSTUS,” to which everyone replied “What? You guys have played in like nine Super Bowls since two thousa...” and are immediate cut-off by a jarring SHOCK THE WORLD, UNDERDOGS UNITE chant. Imagine six months from now Kevin Durant telling Kevin Harlan during the NBA Championship trophy ceremony that the Warriors’ 4-0 sweep against the Milwaukee Bucks or whichever Eastern Conference team is unlucky enough to end up on the business end of that buzzsaw is vindication for all the “controversy” they “overcame” during the season (the controversy here being the time Draymond Green called Durant the b-word). This is almost exactly like that. What an absolute farce.
(This is the part where I should point out that, according to oddsmakers, the Patriots were technically three-point underdogs against the Chief, but establishing moneylines is generally determined by plugging numbers into a formula, which is to say that no rational person realistically believed the Patriots were actually underdogs.)
Of course, I say this as someone who is very deeply envious of the Patriots’ unparalleled run of success, so perhaps my analysis is clouded by vitriol and contempt (probably it is). An organization with such a stellar track record of complete domination I suppose must deploy creative strategies for keeping the competitive fires a-burnin’, and if the Patriots decided that manufacturing a hilariously false underdog narrative was a necessary means to achieving an end, then power to them. Do what feels right, I guess. Pretend to be underdogs while everyone in the world collectively rolls their eyes. With that said, I hope the Rams win by a million touchdowns.