There isn’t a sports team or fan base on the planet that would not like to enjoy the kind of success the New England Patriots have. But there is a problem that tends to come when a team has the kind of sustained success that the Patriots have had— expectations.
It looks like the weight of those expectations may be causing the fans to crack and the team to cross the line.
Since the Patriots have been the best team in the NFL for close to two decades, there is a generation of fans that only know the good years. Up until Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, many fans probably couldn’t remember the last time the Patriots lost a game at home (the loss snapped a winning streak of 21 games).
They only know the excellent, unbeatable version of Tom Brady, and they do not like the fallible, imperfect one they have seen this season. They made their displeasure with Brady and the rest of the team clear at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs:
While uncalled for, the boo birds are not uncommon among disgruntled fans. Some fans decided that since the Patriots were not putting up enough of a fight on the field, they would fight in the stands.
But unlike most fan bases who attack fans of the opposing team, they attacked each other:
Even that may not be the worst of it. According to Patrick Mahomes’ girlfriend, Brittany Matthews, she and Mahomes’ brother were harassed by Patriots fans . It was bad enough that security had to move them to a safe location.
Booing your team, fighting each other, and taking out your angst on someone’s girlfriend and little brother? For shame, Patriots fans. For shame!
But it sounds like the team may have been up to something even worse— cheating.
It seems that the Patriots had a film crew at the Bengals/Browns game (they play the Bengals next week). The crew was there supposedly filming as part of a feature, but a Bengals employee felt like they were shooting the Bengals coaches on the sideline during the first quarter.
When confronted, the cameraman asked if he could delete the footage . League officials confiscated the film, and the league has begun an investigation. The Patriots are trying to play the whole incident off as a misunderstanding and oversight on their part.
Bill Belichick has denied having any knowledge of the recording or having plans to watch it.
This incident, of course, conjures memories of the Spygate scandal back in 2007 when the Patriots were caught filming the Jets coaches on the sideline. According to a 2015 ESPN report about Spygate, scouts were instructed to claim they were members of the media if caught.
Tom Brady isn’t perfect anymore, the offense is mortal, fans are going crazy, and the team may be cheating again. Oh—and 13 games into the season, the Patriots have only won ten games.
It doesn’t sound like it should be the end, but the media and fans are sure acting like it.