The idea that alleged murderous thug Aaron Rodriguez of the New England Patriots is potentially marking the end of the “Patriot era of excellence” is laughable, but breathless reporters and Patriots fans love to indulge their fantasies, as Michael Silver did a few days ago on Yahoo Sports:
It began, chillingly, with a traumatic injury that could have turned tragic: Franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe was rushed to the hospital after suffering a sheared blood vessel in a 2001 game at Foxborough Stadium, and Tom Brady came in and spurred the New England Patriots to a prolonged run of excellence.
Did it end, symbolically, with Wednesday’s disquieting arrest of discarded Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez on a murder charge? <source>
The simple fact is that the Patriot era of excellence never existed, because every victory, including three Superbowl victories, is now and forever will be tainted by Patriots cheating using video equipment and tapes of opposing teams’ defensive schemes during games (a scandal known as “Spygate”). The cheating was so bad that Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the League, actually destroyed the tapes themselves after his “investigation” of Patriots wrongdoing. In doing so, Goodell ensured that the only reasonable conclusion that we can draw is that the Patriots’ cheating was more pervasive, comprehensive, and devastatingly effective than any of us could even imagine. Meaning that their victories were a total fraud, and Goodell could not countenance the truth of this.
Add to this the fact that since Spygate was revealed and the tapes destroyed, the Patriots have failed to win another Superbowl…
And yet NFL reporters, commentators, and fans, cannot let go of the delusion about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and their supposed “excellence”.
More from Michael Silver:
During that 12-year stretch, the Belichick/Brady Pats have produced 12 winning seasons and 10 AFC East titles. Brady surpassed Joe Montana’s NFL record with his 17th postseason victory last January and guided New England to its seventh AFC championship game during that span. That’s so good, it’s scary.
No, Michael, the thing that is “scary” is not how good they were during this “span”, but rather how you and others can willfully insist on pretending that the Patriot victories are legitimate.
They are not.
I know this is painful to contemplate, to absorb, and to accept.
But the facts and circumstances leave you no other option.
The Patriots era is not coming to an end, because it has never existed in the first place.