Sport is a personal passion, but not one in which I frequently indulge on air or on social media. I’m a news guy, and Lord knows there’s never a shortage of high-voltage, news-related misfires snaring headlines and air time. Important stuff, to be sure — life-altering at times — but also, at least occasionally, thinly disguised agenda masquerading as news.
So, what is this space about on the first weekend of 2020? Sports! Specifically, the National Football League playoffs.
As a long-suffering Dallas Cowboys fan, I find my nose pressed against the glass watching the Philadelphia Eagles sneak past the boys in the chase for the Super Bowl — two teams that did their level best to lose more games than they won in the regular season. The Cowboys had the league’s best offence and, on paper, a good enough defence to be championship material — in August.
But hey, the Eagles will only get to play another 60 minutes of football before being heaved out of the race to the Miami Roman-numerals extravaganza.
Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle and a few others filled with hope and rosters stacked with stars earning $20 million to $30 million per season are poised to make a run for the ultimate victory. Win a Super Bowl, and football sainthood is yours.
Fans are pouring multiple millions of dollars into acquiring replica jerseys, helmets and paraphernalia, which, if worn outside the confines of an NFL stadium, would cause the summoning of the guy with the butterfly net.
Billions more dollars are being bet on who will emerge with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, emblematic of NFL supremacy.
And this, my fellow football aficionados, is where the New England Patriots emerge onto the scene — the team America loves to hate. In fact, the team we all love to hate, Massachusetts residents excepted.
Never mind Deflategate, this year’s Patriots were caught filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a game in clear violation of league rules. Not intentional, the Patriots claim. The rest of the world rolls its collective eyes.
Though New England has a 42-year-old quarterback and a roster hardly representative of the behemoths who had previously crushed all before them, claiming Super Bowl after Super Bowl, the Patriots cannot be counted out. No matter that most of us are already wishfully at nine.
Among football fans, there is no question the Patriots will do anything — well, almost anything — to allow Tom Brady to seamlessly make the transition from the 50-yard line to the seniors’ residence.
We don’t trust the Patriots, but they scare the hell out of us.
The real winner of the season, the team that will be recognized as the true champions, is the crew that will arrange for Brady to have a clear view of the sky. Repeatedly. And while on his back.
The real champions will be the team that sends the Patriots packing. No seventh Super Bowl. No MVP for Brady. No grinning owner Robert Kraft.
What lurks deep in the psyche of fans and, if they’re truthful, also the players is the fear that somehow, by hook or under-inflated footballs, the New England Patriots will find their way from Foxborough to Miami and … I’m sorry, I can’t bring myself to finish the sentence.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.