The New England Patriots became the most beloved team in the Hater Nation in 2001. The feisty Patriots knocked off both the Raiders and St. Louis on the way to their first Super Bowl victory.
What was not to like about this team? They ran out as a team during the Super Bowl introductions. Tom Brady seemed like one of your beer-drinking buddies. Bill Belichick seemed like the guy who would grouse at the black jack table.
And did we mention that they knocked off the Raiders and St. Louis in the same season?
The Raiders game was satisfying in the sense that the tuck rule might be the stupidest rule ever created, but it was the best rule for a night as it screwed the Raiders. New England's subsequent victory in the Super Bowl was easily the most lucrative as most members of the Hater Nation had the money line in the game.
But those days have passed.
The most entertaining part of Super Bowl XXXVI was watching a pessimistic Patriots fan fidget in the corner as St. Louis mounted a comeback. The joy on the faces of long suffering--and drunk--Patriots fans in the Piano Bar at New York, New York casino in Las Vegas was almost as memorable as the guy who plunked down $150 to hear "Eye of the Tiger." It was actually fun to be around New England fans after that game.
But Anxiety has given way to arrogance.
That earnestness of four years ago has given way to a smugness of Patriots fans. In other words, they have become Kennedys. New England fans, who seem to forget that did not have a Super Bowl title or recent World Series ring at the turn of the century, are now officially the worst fans in football.
Even ESPN Page 2's own Boston beat writer--the Sports Guy--has become insufferable. But there are those (like us) who would say that this happened a long time ago.
The Patriots are now one of those teams that the Hater Nation would love to see lose. The team might still be a joy to watch, but the fans have ruined the experience for everybody.
So the Hater Nation officially endorses the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the team is still not forgiven for Super Bowl XIV.
WAVE THE TOWEL
Of course the real reason the Pittsburgh Steelers are endorsed...
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
Who were you expecting?
DONOVAN MCNABB LOOKS TO EXTEND HIS RECORD
Who is the biggest fan of the Eagles this week? It has to be this guy...
McNabb, along Danny White, are the only quarterbacks in recent history to have lost three consecutive NFC Championship Games. McNabb could hold that dubious distinction himself with an Eagles loss this week.
The Los Angeles Rams were the first team to lose three consecutive NFC Championship Games. Who were the three quarterbacks?
BARRET ROBBINS UPDATE
Here's the story on Robbins, the robber.
It's a shame that Robbins couldn't be arrested in Oakland. At least he would be surrounded by many Raiders fans.
Robbins lawyer insists that his client is insane and that he didn't know what he was doing. Perfect. The Warden can convince Robbins that he's actually staying at the team hotel when he's locked in prison. Robbins will be too insane to know the difference, right?
The biggest shame is the timing. Robbins probably could have scored a role in the remake of The Longest Yard if he had done this a few years earlier.
James Harris (74), Ron Jaworski (75), and Pat Haden (76).
You didn't think you were going to get off the hook without seeing that picture, eh?