Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. The annual tradition of gathering with friends, eating unhealthy foods and watching the New England Patriots.
For the third straight season and ninth time since 2001, the Patriots are playing in the big game. In a league structure designed to promote parity, the Patriots have showcased an incredible run of dominance in the NFL. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s undeniable that their run of success — which includes nine straight AFC championship game appearances, 11 straight playoff berths and 19 consecutive winning seasons — is legendary. That’s a stretch never seen before in the NFL, and it likely won’t happen again for a very long time, if ever.
And it’s here where I plead for fans to appreciate their greatness. That Brady-led comeback in the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs? That was an absolute thing of beauty. And he’s been doing it consistently for almost two decades.
The Patriots operate smartly and efficiently. They rarely make stupid mistakes, and their system is successful with seemingly whoever they put on the field. Every move is calculated and well-thought out. It is so cool to see football played with such precision. And yet, they’re one of the most disliked teams in the sport. According to a recent online Leader poll, 77.2 percent of responders were not excited to watch the Super Bowl, likely due in part to the return of the Patriots to the big game.
A fellow modern dynasty that fans love to hate is the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals four years in a row and have won 11 straight games as of this writing to claim the top spot in the Western Conference standings. It would be more surprising if the Warriors didn’t make the Finals than if they did.
The Warriors have arguably the greatest lineup of basketball players ever assembled in the NBA — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. All five could find themselves in the Hall of Fame one day.
They have revolutionized the game of basketball with their 3-point shooting and fast-paced offense. The NBA has changed drastically since before they came to prominence, with many teams now trying to duplicate their 3-point success. They are incredibly fun to watch. A game could be close, and in a blink of an eye the Warriors are up by 20. Even blowout contests can be fun, simply because of how pretty their style of play can be.
And yet they, like the Patriots, draw the ire of fans nationwide. My question is: Why do fans not enjoy their favorite sport being played at an almost unprecedented level of greatness?
It’s not easy to form an elite team, and they’re usually only around for a short time. But the Warriors and Patriots are in a successful stretch of practically unrivaled territory, and it seems that fans want both to end as soon as possible.
The Warriors being dominant doesn’t take away from the fun of watching a mediocre Minnesota Timberwolves team on the outside of the playoff chase. They won on a buzzer-beater Wednesday night, and it wasn’t any less exciting just because they aren’t going to win a championship this year. My Milwaukee Bucks tout the best record in the Eastern Conference. Knowing the Warriors stand in the way of an NBA title doesn’t dampen the fun.
It’s silly when fans say they are “tired” of watching the Patriots or Warriors, as if witnessing greatness is taxing. Average football or basketball is played all the time. But to get the privilege of watching the sport being played as great as we’ve ever seen it is a treat.
Super Bowl Sunday is supposed to be the biggest and best football game of the year. What better way to accomplish that than to watch the best football dynasty of all time playing in it?
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