The 2018 Super Bowl is coming up on Feb. 4, and for many fans of the sport, it really means hate-watching the New England Patriots and cheering on the underdog, the Philadelphia Eagles. No one doubts the Patriots' skill and success, having won five Super Bowls, so then why do people hate the Patriots? Let me count the ways.
1. People are tired of them winning.
In addition to five Super Bowls, the Patriots have won 25 playoff games and 196 regular season games over 17 years, as of September 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight. While people generally love to get behind a successful team, they also love to root for the underdog. And it also gets old when they're the only ones winning. Naturally, winning five Super Bowls will put a target on your back for the other teams, and so follows their fanbase.
“If they hate you, you’re doing something good,” Patriots running back Dion Lewis said grinning at a Super Bowl media night on Jan. 29.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. People hate when you don't care that you're hated.
There's nothing that bothers people more than remaining unaffected, and still successful, while being hated.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Patriots running back Brandon Bolden said at the Jan. 29 meeting. “I don’t think it bothers any of us.“It doesn’t matter who is for us or against us. We’re here for each other.”
It's almost as if people's hate is what brings them even closer.
“It’s one of those things that no matter how many people root against us, we’re all we got,” Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers said. “We understand that. We do it for the people in the locker room, the fans in New England, and each other.”
3. The most legitimate reason is probably the Deflategate investigation.
In 2015, an investigation was opened against the Patriots team and, specifically, quarterback Tom Brady for deliberately deflating footballs during the AFC Championship Game. The NFL found it "more probable than not" that the team was aware of the deflation, and so punished Brady and the team. Brady was suspended from four games, and the Patriots team was fined $1 million, along with having to surrender two draft picks.
4. Another reason is because of Brady and Donald Trump's friendship.
The New England quarterback endorsed Trump for president in 2015, saying that his "Make American Great Again" hat was a "nice keepsake" and that it would be "great" if Trump won the election. Trump has been a supporter of Brady and defended him during the "Deflategate" scandal. Brady also gave him a congratulatory phone call in January 2017 when Trump entered office.
People really do not like the Patriots.
In 2015, Sports Illustrated named the head coach, Bill Belichick, as the “The Most Hated Head Coach” in the league, referencing Deflategate, "constant on-field trickery," and his boring press conference appearances... in addition to "his undeniable football genius." So basically, all the reasons people hate the Pats. In addition, Sports Illustrated said the Patriots were the most hated team in the league, because they are a team everyone loves to hate.
In September 2017, SurveyMonkey Audience conducted a poll of NFL fans to determine their three favorite and least favorite teams. More than 16 percent of all NFL fans listed the Patriots as their favorite teams, behind the Green Bay Packers (23 percent) and Dallas Cowboys (19 percent). However, the Patriots was polled as the second least favorite team (26 percent), right behind Dallas Cowboys at 31 percent. The ones that people love the most are also the ones they hate.
The Patriots approach the 2018 Super Bowl fully aware of the hatred that is harbored towards them. However, they also seem altogether unaffected by it, and maybe even fueled by it. Either way, the Patriots and the Eagles will put up a good fight, so commence the hate-watching!