Sports

Superbowl 51 Patriots vs. Falcons.  Is Brady the greatest of all time?

Before the game even started, I was reading a lot of articles by journalists saying that if Brady wins, he’s the greatest of all time.  I just wanted to weigh in what I thought about that, and the game itself.

First, this is just one game.  Even if it’s a Super Bowl, it’s just one game.  I don’t think you could feasibly say whether he’s the greatest or not the greatest based on one game.  Even if he played the most excellent football in his life in Super Bowl 51 that wouldn’t make him the greatest of all time, and even if Brady threw 10 picks and they got skunked 50 to 0, that doesn’t mean he can’t be the greatest of all time.

You can’t say one game decides whether or not somebody is the greatest, especially someone who’s been playing for as long as he has.  I’m willing to listen to a compelling case either way as to whether or not he’s the greatest, there could be some truth to both sides of that, but one game doesn’t decide that.  The man has played in (literally) 237 games, and will probably play some more.  Just one of those games is a drop in the bucket, even if it’s a Super Bowl.  You would think they’re up against the 1985 Chicago Bears, and Brady is a high school kid.

Actually, these hype journalists were pulling very similar crap during the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match we kept hearing about a few years ago, and how they were absolutely determined to title it the greatest fight of all time months before it even began…  and then the fight itself.  I mean, it was a good fight, but come on.  Greatest fight of all time?  Maybe the most overrated fight of all time.  Greatest fight of all time was a really bold statement when there were several different great matches, each a little better than the others in some way or another, that’s is almost impossible to pinpoint any one match as the greatest of all time.  And that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight shouldn’t even be in the discussion.

 

Now back to the Patriots. On the one hand, Brady has pretty much consistently had a fantastic offensive line as well as a solid defense, and a coach who is an absolute genius.  There are a lot of other great quarterbacks that haven’t had that opportunity.  During Brady’s 4 game suspension, his backup quarterback Garoppolo put up the same kind of numbers Brady usually did… then Garoppolo got injured, and their third quarterback skunked the Texans 27-0.  Then the Patriots played the Texans again in the playoffs (with Brady), and the Texans got much closer to winning.

On the other hand, Brady has broken all kinds of records (not just for the Patriot franchise but for football in general), has won the most Super Bowls, and did it all in a time of salary caps.  See, at one point the NFL introduced salary caps, the modern draft pick system, and several other things, to make sure the same teams wouldn’t keep winning every year.  As one example, it was always the Cowboys and the Steelers in the 1970’s.  That made football boring, it was bad for the sport, so they put an end to it.  Lots of older Quarterbacks were simply on a team that perpetually had the most expensive players.

Personally, I’d lean toward calling him the greatest of all time.  I’ve heard people argue why he isn’t, and they have their points, but this is just my opinion.

Now to the game itself…

Jesus Christ, I can’t believe that actually happened.  The Patriots were behind 28-9 at the beginning of the 4th Quarter, and they pulled something out of their asses beyond my understanding.  I mean sure it was partial because the Falcons made mistakes, but give some credit where it’s due. 

Honestly, if that game were part of a movie instead of real football, I would say “this is simply unbelievable even for a movie, football doesn’t work like that, and they’re not even trying to make it seem realistic, and this movie sucks.”

But for that to actually happen in real life.  And at a Super Bowl, no less, where both teams are great and have had plenty of time to prepare.  I told this to someone, and they said: “Yeah you’re right, football is probably rigged” (note, this person was serious).

If anything it was rigged the other way.  When the Patriots were making their comeback drive, you could tell the Falcons were getting pissed (especially on defense).  Several of those hits on Brady should have been a roughing the passer, 15-yard penalty… and they didn’t call them a single time.  You could give someone a concussion with those kinds of hits, and Brady got back up off the ground like nothing even happened.  Brady is 39, by the way, and he was playing with the body of someone who’s not even 29, with the brains and experience of someone who might be 59.  He was doing all of this without Gronk (probably the best Patriots player besides Brady himself) due to Gronk being injured.  Do you honestly think the Falcons would have gotten that kind of lead in the first place without Julio Jones? 

I honest to God hate both the Pats and Brady more than any other franchise in the NFL (hence how I was rooting for the Falcons even though I’m definitely not a Falcons fan), but I’ve got to give it to them.  They earned this.

And as for the Joe Montana comparisons:  Joe Montana was great, but Brady is better.  First, Brady has broken most of Montana’s records.  Second, most people’s obsession with Montana began in the first place with Montana’s Super Bowl wins, which is an arbitrary measurement.  Third, Brady has more Super Bowls wins than Montana regardless.  Fourth, Joe Montana at age 39 was not playing like this.  I’m sold.  Brady is the greatest of all time, and at the very least better than Joe Montana.  And I do not deny Montana was a legend in his own right.

I am a diehard Seahawks fan who absolutely hates the Patriots, but I do not deny they are the best team in the salary cap era. And as for ‘they cheated,’ tons of other teams have been punished for cheating. They were kicking the Colts ass so hard in the AFC championship game that you could not feasibly say slightly deflated footballs were the tiebreaking factor. Whether the Pats will continue to dominate once Brady and Belichick retires remains to be seen, but I do not deny their greatness.  If you think replicating their success as a football coach is easy, and “all you have to do is cheat”, you can apply for head coaching jobs yourself, but don’t hold your breath that they’d even accept you, much less that you’d succeed as a coach even if they’re stupid enough to say yes.

TONS of teams cheat on a regular basis. I am not defending it, but if you think Belichick is the only one who does you are delusional, and if you believe that the only reason he wins is that of cheating you are also delusional.  I won’t beat a dead horse anymore, but if you’re still not convinced read this.

Even in this season (where they haven’t been accused of cheating as far as I know) they had a phenomenal year even in spite of their starting Quarterback being gone for four games, their *second* Quarterback going down in game 2, and their absolute star player (Gronk) out for a significant portion of the season. How many other teams would have this kind of a year with those kinds of setbacks? Then you have teams loaded with talent (like this year’s Cowboys) who still managed to mess it up, with poor coaching being a big part of why.

I’ve read the comments sections on news sites by dinosaur baby-boomers who say something to the tune of ‘back in the old days you were allowed to beat the snot out of the Quarterback without the roughing the passer penalty and all these other things, so Brady is a pussy.’  This is all kinds of wrong.  First, Brady could send any of you old farts in the hospital with one punch, even though he’s not exactly a young guy himself.  There are valid reasons why millennials have gotten too soft and entitled, but professional football has nothing to do with it.  Even today NFL players get their heads busted open like animals, and you think we should be even more savage than that.  You people make me sick. 

Second, the other QBs of their day were at the same disadvantage of everyone else, in their own time.  Hitler had WAY more technology, resources, and men at his disposal than Genghis Khan, but that didn’t stop Khan from building a MUCH bigger empire (and more durable one) than Hitler did.  And as I said before, Terry Bradshaw and some of those other guys had rosters unfairly loaded with expensive talent that couldn’t happen now.

Even if you don’t think Brady is the greatest of all time, he’s still amazing.  Deal with it, haters.
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The Seattle Seahawk fan base are not (mostly) bandwagons.

I know I know, another unpopular opinion of mine.  But just like the walls of text above you, I can at least back this up.  Again, you may not like it (or even agree with me), but at least I can reasonably defend myself. 

I get accused of being a bandwagon Seahawk fan for two reasons.  One, is I live in Texas, far away from the Pacific Northwest.  Second, is the Seahawks have probably the number one reputation of being a bandwagon team. 

Me personally being a Seahawk fan is easily explainable.  I’ve been their diehard fan long before their first Super Bowl.  In fact, the argument “you have no association with Seattle” wouldn’t even be correct.  The reason I became a Seahawk fan in the first place had nothing to do with the team itself.  One summer as a small child I had an incredibly good experience visiting Seattle.  I begged my parents to take me there every summer after that, and while they didn’t spoil me that much, I did go several times throughout my childhood.  And I loved it every time.  Then I realized: When I graduate from college, this is where I’m headed.  It sounds like a weird obsession, but I absolutely love the city.  In fact, why do you think I’m studying computer networking?  Part of it, of course, is a passion for the field, but the other part is because of where I want to live.  Seattle has a huge tech hub.  It’s getting to be San Francisco Bay level big, and while it’s relatively expensive in Seattle, it’s a bargain next to Silicon Valley.  People who have known me for a long time dare not call me a bandwagon fan because they know better.  I’ve been planning to live there for years, and have based much of my life around that, with my choice of college major being only one example.  I’ve been a Seahawk fan for quite a while, and I was a fan of Seattle itself even longer.

… But that’s just me, one person.  What about most Seahawk fans, since I said this was about their fanbase in general? 

Here’s where we’re at folks:  Whenever the Seahawks lose a game, everybody laughs in our face, showing us how much we “suck.”  Considering we’re one of the most hated (if not the very most hated) teams in the league.

Whenever the Seahawks win, the other side calls us bandwagon fans who only support the team because of their “overwhelming success”…  You’re talking about a team who, as of writing this, has won one Super Bowl in franchise history.  Also as of writing this, I can name at least two teams who have not only won the Super Bowl more recently but more often.  (the Patriots and Broncos).

Seahawk support probably went up after their first Super Bowl win.  But support for any team will go up the year after they win a championship.  I’m hearing people say they love the Denver Broncos right now, and these are people with no association with Colorado whatsoever, and people who I’ve never heard say they like the team before.

Again: While I will admit Seahawk fan support (partially) fluctuates based on team performance, the same can be said for virtually any other team.  This is not even remotely unique to the Seahawks.  Also, this is a franchise that had to wait almost 40 years to win their first Super Bowl.  Of course, the fan base went up after that.  It would be insane if it didn’t.

Here’s something I can promise you: No matter who wins the Super Bowl this year, their fan base will experience a spike afterward.  The only possible exception to this rule is the Patriots.  That’s because the Patriots fan base is already as saturated with bandwagon fans as they possibly could be.  The Patriots have won 4 Super Bowls in the past 15 years, and have been a solid team even in the years they didn’t win.  If you don’t like the Patriots by now, another Lombardi trophy for them probably won’t change your mind.

Now I have seen a lot of Patriots fans, even in places far from New England (such as where I live).  You know how many Seahawk fans I know?  Literally 0, besides me.  And I’ve been lots of places.  To the best of my knowledge, the Seahawks have virtually no support outside of the Pacific Northwest.

The Seahawks would go on to lose to the Patriots in an utterly embarrassing way the following year.  The year after that they barely made the playoffs, and only won the wildcard match because the Vikings missed an easy field goal.  Then we got creamed by the Panthers in the next round, and the Panthers themselves lost to the Broncos.

As of writing this, the Seahawks are 2-1 in the 2016 season.  While that sounds pretty good, it’s notable that all 3 of our opponents have been terrible.  We barely beat the Dolphins at home, and the Dolphins seem to suck.  Meanwhile, we outright lost to the Rams, who also seem to suck… Now Russell Wilson is out with an injury and is unlikely to return for the next several weeks.  Who would have guessed that would happen when you have a QB who not only tries run off with the ball every other play, therefore exposing himself to danger but on the other side of the coin is he’s protected behind a terrible offensive line.

I can name at least half a dozen teams in a comfortably better position than the Seahawks are in right now, and another dozen who are equally good.  The 2016 Seattle Seahawks have demonstrated to be a mediocre team.  The 2015 Seattle Seahawks were also an average team.  Perhaps a bit above average since they technically made the playoffs, but nowhere near spectacular.  If people are still with us by now, that means they’re on board after the glory days ended. 

I can sort of see (to make a basketball reference) the Golden State Warriors having a bandwagon base.  Considering their current roster (especially after acquiring Kevin Durant) is 10 times more loaded than anything even the top NFL teams have, relatively speaking.  And the top NFL teams themselves are 10 times more loaded than the Seahawks.  Even then, there are people in Northern California who have faithfully cheered for Golden State for a long time.  Give them a break, rather than raining on their parade.  Of course, the actual bandwagon fans can piss off, but to say every single Golden State fan is a bandwagon fan would be a massive overgeneralization.  I will also say this: I personally know a woman (who, like me, has lived in Texas her entire life) who supports the Chicago Bears.  She said the reason why is she fell in love with the 1985 team.  Now you may be quick to say “bandwagon!”.  But as of writing this, 1985 is 31 years ago… and the Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl ever since.  At what point does bandwagon become a loyal fan?

It’s also worth noting that CenturyLink field, the Seahawk stadium has been scientifically proven to be the loudest stadium in the NFL.  Not just this year, but basically every year.  If these are “bandwagon” fans, they are not only passionate but have consistently been excited for a long time, regardless of team performances.

Similarly, CenturyLink Field sells out tickets… fast.  I can name plenty of teams that have so many problems with getting their stadium filled, they sometimes have “blackouts” where locals can’t watch it on TV.  The Atlanta Falcons were penalized last year for pumping artificial noise into their stadium… That’s right!  They’re so embarrassed by the lack of fans (either the lack of noise they make or that they don’t show up to the game at all), they have to actually fake it! Our fans are at least as good as theirs, yet somehow we get accused of being bandwagon fans rather than them.  CenturyLink Field has sold out tickets the vast majority of Seahawks games since the stadium existed, which was back in 2002.  This includes games where they have had losing seasons.  And while CenturyLink field is not a particularly big stadium, it is huge considering Seattle is one of the smallest cities to host an NFL team.  Washington state, in general, is sparsely populated.  Continue to argue against me all you want, but at least I have facts and statistics to back me up. 

People in the Pacific Northwest are bandwagon fans… for cheering for their local team?  How much more stupid does it get?  I expect you to call me a bandwagon fan, and then I laugh at how wrong you are.  Even people within Seattle city limits get accused (by the rest of the country) of being “bandwagon” fans.  These miserable people have had to wait until 2014 to win a championship in any sport, with their basketball team, the Supersonics winning the NBA championship in 1979 being the only exception.  That’s a 35-year drought in and of itself.  Also, as you may know, the Supersonics also left the city in 2008.  Of course, they’re going to go crazy when the Seahawks finally win their first Super Bowl.  What else are they supposed to do?  Pretend like it’s just another typical year when it clearly isn’t?  Or did you expect them to cheer for the Patriots?

And like I said before, I live in Texas.  I would actually argue that the Cowboys have about as much bandwagon fans as the Patriots do, and that’s saying a lot.  But I can prove it.

First, I’ve noticed lots of people all over the country cheer for their local team, but as soon as their local team doesn’t have a shot at the playoffs while the Cowboys do, “America’s team” is their default backup plan.  This is true in lots of places, with Arizona being the best example.  Recently speaking, the Cardinals have been a dominant team while the Cowboys have been terrible.  So you don’t see it so much.  However, whenever the Cowboys are doing much better than the Cardinals, you can guess who they turn to.

It’s also worth noting that even in Texas there are people that only conditionally support the Cowboys.  The past few years the Cowboys have been terrible.  To be fair, their other team is the other Texas team, the Houston Texans.  On the other hand, this is effectively the same as people in Pennsylvania hopping back and forth between the Eagles and Steelers, depending on who is doing better at the moment.  Or New Yorkers between the Jets and Giants.  Or people in Northern California between the Raiders and 49ers.  Even if you only limit yourself to 2 teams, you’re still at least partially a bandwagon fan.

Based on YouTube comments as well as internet forums, one common argument I’ve actually heard is “Seattle has lots of nerdy Asians, and nerdy Asians barely know anything about football. Therefore they have the most bandwagon fans.”  It’s sad I have to point this out, but yes, some people legitimately think that way.  This is all kinds of wrong.  First, Seattle is one of the whitest cities in America.  Even without the Asians, they’d still have plenty of “real” fans.  Second, there are more nerdy Asians who do care about football than you may realize.  If you’re going to make this kind of statements that are not only generalizations but are also outright racist, there’s no way of getting across to you.  I mean, I’m one of the most anti-politically correct people you’ll come across, and I think in general we’ve gotten too soft.  But this is sheer racism.  And stupid racism at that, since there are far more whites than anyone else in Seattle.

To summarize, the Seahawks don’t have as many bandwagon fans as “America’s team,” and they definitely don’t have as many bandwagon fans as the Patriots.

Don’t like me saying all of this?  Too bad.  Deal with it, haters.  Because you’re going to continue to either laugh at as when we lose or say we’re bandwagon fans when we win.  Therefore, you’ve got a card pulled up your sleeve no matter what happens, thus making it impossible to argue with you.