We all knew that kid when we were young. Maybe he was in your friend group. Maybe he was just an acquaintance. Maybe a brother of a friend. He was the bane of fun. It wasn’t because he was an asshole, not really. It was because he was too good at whatever you wanted to do. Maybe it was Mario Kart. Maybe it was Smash. Maybe it was backyard basketball. It doesn’t really matter what it was. What matters is that when he joined the game, the fun stopped, because he was too good for everyone else. No one wants to play Mario Kart where one person is always in first. No one just casually puts in Smash to have to play with the one guy who knows how to wave dash and knows how many i-frames his dodge roll has. That kid, who was always leagues above everyone else to the point where no one wanted to play anymore, is the Patriots.

The Patriots have done more to make me lose interest in this sport than anything else. The evil practices of the NFL? Makes me mad. My own team sucking? Makes me sad. The incompetence of the league? Makes me mad. The looming injury crisis? Makes me sad. But none of that makes me want to actually stop watching football like the Patriots have. The Patriots have instilled a sense of apathy towards the sport I haven’t experienced since high school, when I was too cool for sports and did other things like play GameCube alone in my basement.

The hate used to sustain me. It sustained me for quite some time. The sense of mild superiority thanks to the 2 Giants victories used to sustain me, but the Pats success since plus the Eagles victory have kind of taken that away. The respect and appreciation for what the team has accomplished used to sustain me as well, the sheer awe of knowing no team will ever be able to replicate what I got to see live. But it’s all ran out. I’m just so tired of the New England Patriots. Of Tom Brady. Of Bill Belichick. I don’t want to watch them anymore.

Last year I went into my worst case scenario Super Bowl as an extremely reluctant Patriots supporter. By the end of the game I was cheering for the Eagles, because at least I was finally going to see something fresh and new. After the game, soaking up the sad Pats fan tears, I made a pact to myself and any readers of this joke that I would finally lay down the hate boner and just…focus on other teams. I realized that even the hate had gotten dull. It’s like a sitcom that’s been on TV for 4 seasons longer than is needed. We have nothing left to say about the Patriots and are just spinning our wheels until it finally ends. We ran out of articles on how amazing it is to see Tom Brady still being so good this old 3 seasons ago. We ran out of ways to praise Bill Belichick. We’ve even run out of ways to predict their downfall. I had a Patriots fan on reddit send me a /r/patriots joke. The fact that this even exists to such accuracy is a testament to how much we’ve run out of things to say, that even our predictions of their eventual downfall is predictable at this point. Every year the Patriots, Brady, and the fans find a more and more bullshit reason to play the underdog card. THE NFL IS OUT TO GET US. ESPN WANTS US TO FAIL BECAUSE TOM HAS A QUACK DOCTOR. This year? Many fans and Brady himself seemingly conjured the idea that people think they suck and no one gave them a chance when…what? Based on a few articles near the beginning of the year speculating about how Gronk is slower now? I can’t even fathom the level of existence Patriots fans inhabit that their sense of success is so utterly warped by 19 years of being the best team in football.

And what can we really say? Trash talk is kind of impossible because nobody’s ever had more sustained excellence than they have. Even as a Giants fan it feels futile. Trolling Pats fans, as I used to quite enjoy doing, has also proven useless as they just let it feed their weird desire to always play the underdog disrespected card. The team itself is operating the same way it always has. Outsmart and adjust better than the competition. When the Patriots have the ball my eyes glaze over. I start looking at my phone. I look at other games if there are others on. Watching them methodically execute near flawless football has lost any sort of magic it once had. I find no pleasure in seeing Tom Brady play perfectly. When any other QB throws a deep slant for a gain of 35, it’s a big play and very exciting. When the Patriots do it, it feels inevitable. The fun is gone.

Sometimes it’s like choosing between watching The Room or Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane is a masterpiece and the Room is garbage. But the Room is so much more fun to watch. All the craft, all the expertise, all the excellence in Citizen Kane doesn’t make it more interesting after a certain point. I’ve gotten so much more enjoyment out of the Room than I ever got out of Citizen Kane. Hell, I could even say I’ve learned more about cinema on an intellectual level by studying The Room than Citizen Kane. The flaws teach you so much and keep things interesting. Basic perfection…never changes.

I spent this season deliberately avoiding the Patriots as much as possible. Any Patriots drama I avoided. No comics. No games. I made a single checkdown midseason after a Patriots loss solely so I could scold everyone in the sports world for being fucking idiots and writing the Patriots off, again. They were always going to reach the AFCCG and anyone who thought otherwise is a goddamned idiot. Stop trying to predict this team’s downfall and just accept fate until it changes. I did my best to avoid becoming even more of a broken record on my own complaints about this team (I’ve basically been saying the same shit since my first year making the comic) But at this point, with only one game left, I kinda ran out of room to keep it up.

I watched the first quarter of the AFCCG and turned it off to do some chores because I was just straight bored. I checked the score in the 4th, saw the Chiefs had pulled ahead, and flipped it back on to catch up. After the Patriots got the ball with 2 minutes to go, I went out to do some laundry and turned it back off, because I knew the ending. Tom Brady driving the field perfectly in the final 2 minutes to watch the game is a football meme. Tom Brady is so good, he’s turned what should be the most exciting situation in all of football into a routine. It’s almost a crime. I saw the Chiefs tie it up when I glanced at my phone, but by that point the Patriots had won the toss and were at midfield, so I didn’t bother turning the game back on. I didn’t have to. The outcome felt inevitable.

The outcome still feels inevitable, even though the rational part of me knows the Rams have an okay chance. The Patriots always play good Super Bowls. This year though I just don’t care. Last year people who don’t follow the sport asked me if the Eagles even had a chance, because they wanted to see if it was worth watching. I said the Eagles did, and most of them still didn’t believe me and didn’t watch. It was the lowest attended SB party I’d been to. This year I feel like it will be even less, with another year of the same fucking team playing a team with a fickle uncaring LA fanbase that will only give a shit if the Rams pull it off. So I might genuinely not watch it. Or bring something else to do in the meantime. I’ve never been more excited for the season to be over more than I am for the Super Bowl. But I am this year and it honestly bums me out.

Patriots 36, Rams 34.


I calmly await the sweet embrace of death.