Look, Bill Simmons is great. I wish I had his job - I really, really do. He's usually funny and is on point most of the time, although I disagree with him on occasion (particularly about the Red Sox letting Orlando Cabrera go after '04, something he still hasn't shut up about). Without him, I probably wouldn't be blogging - hell, I would say virtually all sports bloggers have been inspired, either directly or indirectly, by Bill Simmons.
But his column today is insane.
There is no NFL conspiracy against the Patriots. The Patriots are not 100% innocent (but neither are the Colts, despite Gregg Easterbrook's insistence). They cheated in the first game of the year against the Jets. It probably didn't help them win that game and it certainly shouldn't cast a shadow over the three Super Bowl wins - the earliest complaint of anything like this happening was last season - but the Patriots broke the rules.
Were there bad calls in that game? Most freakin' definitely. But I think many of the errors Simmons points out were just that - errors, or calls that could have gone either way.
The Patriots have taken the 'disrespect' heaped on their Super Bowl rings after SpyGate and used it to motivate themselves this season. As a Patriots fan, I find this wonderful. I believe the Pats will go 19-0 and I really want them to do so. There's a good chance that this might be the greatest team in NFL history.
The Patriots are ruthlessly efficient. They've assembled an absurdly good roster and are still roughly $6-8 million below the salary cap. (NOTE: This is a good time for me to explain why the Patriots are not the Yankees. Simply, the NFL has a salary cap. The Patriots didn't buy all their players - the picked them off the scrap heap or drafted them, albeit with a few notable exceptions. In other words, the Yankees were ruthless. The Patriots are ruthlessly efficient.)
They score at will and have an offense that is simply awe-inspiring. The defense, while not dominant, is exceptionally solid. This team shouldn't lose a game this year.
I just wish they weren't acting like such jerks while doing it. It's not one player in particular. It's a collection of acts - Colvin spiking the ball on the logo, Brady randomly berating refs (although he has always done this), the team celebrating too much at certain points. This shouldn't really matter as long as the team keeps winning... but it does.
But I'm not really enjoying this as much as I should be.
Maybe it's because I'm forced to watch the games on Slingbox and I've missed quite a few of them. Maybe it's because I've expected to win every game this year. Maybe it's because I'm far away from fellow fans to share the victory with.
Or maybe it's just not fun rooting for a team with no soul.
I love the way this team plays. But I frequently hate the way they act. Simmons' column is a celebration of the way they act, writing off arrogance that could be the Patriots' Shakespearean downfall.
This doesn't mean I'm going to stop rooting for the Patriots. It just means that I'll be rooting for them to do two things: win and change.