Of course. Of freaking course.
The best pound-for-pound receiver in the NFL goes and Tasmanian-Devils his way out of Oakland, burning down everything around him right up to and including his own damn feet, and when he pops up out of the wreckage, what’s waiting for Antonio Brown? Why, a perfectly thrown spiral from Tom [expletive] Brady, of course.
This is why everyone hates you, New England. No matter what woes befall the rest of the league, no matter how many conspiracy theories both baseless and valid you whip up, no matter how much you try to convince us that your horde of scrappy Do-Your-Job’ers are the real victims in Roger Goodell’s NFL, we know the truth:
You are the absolute luckiest team and fans in human history, and every news cycle that breaks New England’s way—which is every damn news cycle—only underlines that fact in blood.
You’re the kid who gets Christmas every week, the dog who gets grilled steak for every meal. You’re the lottery winner who collects their check, swings by the Quick Stop on the way home, and—oh, would you look at that!—wins another lottery.
“They hate us ‘cause they ain’t us,” Boston fans bray, and they’re absolutely right. We hate the fact that somehow, in every situation, against all odds, all laws of nature, all belief in a benevolent higher power, New England wins, again and again. Every year, Bill Belichick plucks the perfect combination of castoffs, has-beens and never-weres and transforms them into a sleek playoff-bound machine. Every year, Brady turns some random gaggle of grocery baggers and truck drivers into a ninja-lethal receiving corps.
The AFC East has spent the past two decades rolling over like a needy puppy. The Chiefs, Steelers and Broncos suddenly forget how to play football when they head to Foxborough in January — and, strangely enough, the route to the Super Bowl always seems to run through Foxborough in January.
And then there are the Super Bowls. The Rams quivered into Jell-O on the big stage against New England earlier this year. The Falcons had a wooden stake sharpened and ready and somehow hammered it into their own hearts. All the Seahawks did was gift New England another ring by running the single dumbest play in the history of football. You realize that we’re two ridiculous Eli Manning throws and one just-barely-missed Gronk Hail Mary reception from nine Patriot Super Bowl wins? Nine. The football gods denied New England those wins because nine Patriots wins would have forced us to shut down the league once and for all.
And now this.
Now Brady has his most dangerous deep weapon since Randy Moss. Brady now has a receiving corps of Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, which is the kind of air attack you don’t usually see outside of a four-team fantasy football league with your grandparents and your dog. It’s like giving Mike Trout an aluminum bat, like letting LeBron James shoot on a 7-foot rim. It’s not fair. It’s not even in the same hemisphere as fair.
Look, I don’t blame Brown for wanting to play for the Patriots. Who wouldn’t want to jump from the three-wheeled red wagon that is Oakland into the Lamborghini Murciélago that is New England? (License plate: DFLT THS.) But the way it all went down — Brown sowing chaos at every turn, raising the stakes every day like a player shoving more chips into the center of the table until the Raiders had no choice but to fold … why, it’s almost enough to make you think something was afoot. But that’s crazy talk, right?
Bill Belichick getting ready to send a 2041 7th-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for Antonio Brown... pic.twitter.com/kMghSfXp8W— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) September 5, 2019
There's a theory floating around the league that Antonio Brown wanted to be a Patriot all along.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) September 7, 2019
Dead serious here: if Antonio Brown thought the Raiders were going to cut him, then apologized, THEN got word (via Rosenhaus) that the Patriots were interested, it's totally possible he forced his way out of Oakland last night.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 7, 2019
New England, this is why nobody cares about deflate-gate, even though you were on the right side of that one. This is why nobody buys your victim act, why nobody takes your side against Goodell. You’ve gotten everything you could want as fans, and somehow, you still keep getting more.
“Someday, New England is going to fall apart,” we whisper, quietly, for fear of attracting the attention of the chowderheads. “Someday, Belichick will retire, and Brady will go off to a life of hermetically sealed supermodel bliss, and New England will struggle to get to .500.” And then something like Antonio Brown happens, and we’re reminded again that someday is not today.
Five months from now, there’s a terrifyingly good chance that New England will bulldoze its way through the league, that Goodell will hand the Lombardi Trophy to Belichick, that Brady will once again flash that insufferable RINGZZZ grin in a cascade of confetti. Once again, Brady will hold up multiple fingers to symbolize all of New England’s Super Bowls. And once again, we’ll all hold up just one in response.
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