O’Sullivan: Jealous of the Patriots? More like envious

  • ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, FEB 4-5 - FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football in Glendale, Ariz. There's no hiding it. One edge the New England Patriots have over the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday's Super Bowl can't be denied: experience. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File) Michael Conroy

Monitor staff
Saturday, February 04, 2017

I read Ray Duckler’s column, and I don’t really care what Marshall Faulk thinks about this column or anything else Patriots-related. Same goes for the rest of the NFL fans who are rooting not for Atlanta to win, but for the Patriots to lose tonight in Super Bowl LI.

Faulk is still pouting about his St. Louis Rams losing to New England in Super Bowl XXXVI, a game played 15 years ago. He still believes the Patriots won because they cheated by filming St. Louis practices prior to the game. Like my friend Duckler wrote, that has been disproved, but Faulk doesn’t care.

Duckler also wrote that Faulk, and all the other New England haters, are jealous. I have a slight quibble with the word choice. Jealousy is when you worry about losing something you already have, usually because someone else may take it. Envy is when you wish you had a thing possessed by someone else. Faulk and all the Patriots anti-fans are envious.

No one can be jealous of these Patriots because no one has ever had what they have – a dynasty in a free agency, salary-capped sport. But they sure are envious.

Some of the haters will admit it. They’ll tell you they dislike Brady and Belichick because they’re tired of being beaten by them. That’s perfectly understandable.

But there’s also the holier-than-thou crowd. Those who holler Beli-cheat and claim the Patriots sit on a throne of lies. Even if these witch hunters won’t admit it, or don’t know it, their anger was born from New England winning.

Do you think Faulk would still be griping about a disproven allegation if his team had won Super Bowl XXXVI? Of course not.

Do you think anyone would have cared about 2007’s Spygate if the Patriots hadn’t just won three Super Bowls in four years? Of course not.

Do you think Deflategate even exists if it was the Indianapolis Colts who had won the 2014 AFC Championship game, 45-7? Of course not.

Yes, Belichick likes to push envelopes and bend rules, sometimes to the point of breaking. But look at the history of the NFL. The great teams come with an edge.

The Pittsburgh dynasty was built on steroids. Terry Bradshaw, the quarterback who led the Steelers to their first four Super Bowl titles, admitted he used them during his playing days. The trial began just last month for Richard Rydze, the Pittsburgh team doctor from 1985-2007 who has been charged with trafficking anabolic steroids, painkillers and human growth hormones. And people like Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and former New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett talk about the ‘70s Steelers as early adopters of steroid use like it was common knowledge.

Dallas has always tried to project that squeaky-clean, America’s Team image. Yet the Cowboys who won three Super Bowls in the early 1990s had an underbelly of cocaine and prostitute binges (Michael Irvin), massive marijuana trafficking (Nate Newton) and, according to former Dallas defensive lineman Tony Casillas, the use of a medication (DMSO) meant for horses.

Do we even need to talk about the Oakland Raiders of the 1970s?

The other dynasty vying with the Patriots for the NFL’s King of the Mountain is the 1981-1994 San Francisco 49ers. Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., bought the 49ers in 1977 and proceeded to spend more money than anyone in the league. Yes, Bill Walsh is an all-time innovator and Joe Montana is an all-time great, but part of the reason San Francisco won the 1981, ‘84, ‘88 and ‘89 Super Bowls is because DeBartolo bought them.

More importantly, DeBartolo also bought the ‘94 Super Bowl when he wasn’t supposed to. The NFL implemented its salary cap in 1993, the 49ers promptly snuck through illicit loopholes and eventually Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark were fined $600,000 for their part. Their rule-breaking included an undisclosed agreement with Steve Young, the quarterback who led San Francisco to its last Super Bowl title.

Consider that for a moment. The quarterback who won the 49ers a Super Bowl received corrupt compensation. Compare that to the quarterback who won the Patriots a Super Bowl (or four) maybe knowing that an equipment manager had fun with air pressure.

In time, these Patriots and their mass and social media-fueled scandals will seem quaint compared to the steroids, debauchery and back-door dealing of the Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders and 49ers. This anti-Patriot sentiment is all about envy.

Sure, bushels of sour grapes are being whipped at New England. It can be tough, but you should bask in it. Only the great teams inspire so much hate. And there is so much to hate about the Belichick and Brady Patriots:

A quarterback and coach with the most Super Bowl appearances ever (seven) and a chance to be the first ones to win five. Sixteen straight winning seasons. Six straight AFC championship game appearances and 11 in 16 years. The greatest dynasty in modern sports.