With the poaching of Antonio Brown, Donco fans around here are giving my shyte again about the Patriots. Their gripes revolve around three basic themes:
- Patriots take on players with shady pasts.
- Patriots have an easy schedule every year.
- Patriots are cheating cheaters who cheat.
While I ought to be inclined to just laugh at these people and not waste my time bothering to explain their own stupidity to them, some of those with the above objections are otherwise thoughtful, informed, and insightful people. It only goes to show that smart folks can have dumb ideas, too. I blame brainwashing by the mainstream media. Anyway, I will take these objections in order.
This one is fairly easy to address, especially when raised by someone at my workplace who aspires to a leadership position. I point out BB’s long history of getting useful work out of other people’s highly talented problem children (Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, etc.), and ask them which kind of leader they aspire to be … someone with that skill, or an unimaginative micro manager who can only handle mediocre-talented lemmings? Shuts them right TFU, especially if there is an Executive within earshot.
Not difficult to shoot this down, either, because the complaint usually revolves around the perceived weakness of the other three teams in the AFC East. You would think that common sense would prevail here, and that a reasonably intelligent fan would perceive that the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets have a distinct schedule disadvantage under the rest of the NFL: They all have to play the Patriots twice, every year. However, for those who require further evidence, it helps to point out two facts.
First, regardless of which division a team plays in, or what position they finished in a given year, every team in the NFL will play four games each this year against teams that finished first, second, third, and fourth in their respective divisions last year. For example, look at the Patriots’ schedule this year:
First place last year: Baltimore, Houston, KC, Dallas
Second place last year: Miami (twice), Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
Third place last year: Buffalo (twice), Cleveland, Washington
Fourth place last year: Jets (twice), Cincinnati, Giants
You can construct a similar list for every team in the NFL, for every season since the latest divisional re-alignment. The Team at NFL Headquarters who came up with this symmetric schedule deserves respect for a job well done.
Second, if the Patriots were getting unfairly fat by feasting on their weaker divisional “rivals” every season, then their out-of-division record ought to be nothing special, correct?
Well, since 2003, they have had, by far and away, the best aggregate out-of-division record in the league:
- The ease with which this one can be dismissed depends on the team of which the complainant is a fan. In Donco Country, it’s especially easy, because:
So, the Doncos have a “Cheat Score” that is almost twice as high as the Patriots, but they have won half as many Super Bowls. Jackasses aren’t even much good at cheating.