Tomase: Haters gonna hate, hate, hate on Patriots but we know how this story ends

John Tomase
September 08, 2017 - 12:54 pm
The Chiefs celebrate their shocking victory over the Patriots.

David Butler II/USA Today Sports


Patriots haters should tear it up this week. Snort rails off strippers. Re-enact Leo's wildest bacchanal from Wolf of Wall Street. Stagger naked into the nearest police station parking lot and surrender to the gods of synthetic weed.

Have a blast and party like it's 1999, when Tom Brady was just some bad-bodied Californian splitting reps in the Big Ten with a third baseman.

Get it out of your system, pass out in a private superfund site of your own making, and then take a long, cold shower, because guess what?

You're going to be wrong again.

The Patriots got trounced in Thursday's NFL opener, leaving Gillette's cleanup crews to fill a dumpster with 70,000 tear-stained Roger Goodell clown towels. The Patriots threw in one of them with about three minutes remaining in their 42-27 pasting at the hands of the Chiefs, by which the point the gloating had already predictably started.

Students of history know that when we ignore the past we're doomed to repeat it, and it's safe to say that when this season ends -- quite possibly in Minnesota (wait, really?!?) for Super Bowl LII -- Maurice Jones-Drew will be this year's answer to Tom Jackson and Trent Dilfer.

Both seized on an early loss to make bold claims about the Pats, and neither has lived them down. In 2003, Jackson declared, "I want to say this very clearly: They hate their coach," after the Lawyer Milloy-led Bills shut out the Pats in the opener. The Patriots, as we know, ended up winning 14 games and beating the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Jackson remains a punchline.

Likewise, the last time the Chiefs pasted the Pats, in 2014, Dilfer took to ESPN's airwaves to make a definitive statement of his own. "The New England Patriots, let's face it, they're not good anymore," he declared. By the time they hoisted their fourth Lombardi Trophy four months later, Dilfer was subsisting entirely on a diet of crow.

And that brings us to MJD. The former Pro Bowl running back and current NFL Network analyst raised eyebrows when he gave the coaching nod to Andy Reid in the days leading up to the opener. On Friday morning, he rubbed it in by posting a picture of himself staring into the camera with the ironically knowing "I told you so" gaze of Michael Bluth.

He should accept his attaboys now, while he still can.

I don't want to minimize what happened on Thursday, particularly the offensive impact of Julian Edelman's absence, but Brady and Bill Belichick will figure things out. They always do. It may take longer than usual because, hoo-boy, that front seven looks like it's made of particle board. But the Patriots are too talented, and the division too weak, for this season to end with anything other than another AFC East title and probable first-round bye. The Patriots are even in a position, if anything ever happened to Brady, to hand the keys to Jimmy Garoppolo and then really shock the world.

Regardless, if there's one thing we've learned over the last 15 years, it's how desperately rival fans root for the Patriots' demise. They're the most hated team in professional sports, and when they show a hint of vulnerability, the jackals race from the shadows, howling orgiastically, hoping this time finally to feast.

Inevitably, they end up skulking back into the bushes hungry, tails dragging. Because of all the Patriots' hateable characteristics, this might be the greatest of all -- the end never comes. You think they're down. You think they're out. And then they roar back.

So the haters should live it up for the next nine days until the Pats visit Drew Brees and the Saints. Do something irresponsible. Steal one of Mike Tyson's tigers. Sail the high seas with Odell Beckham. Say hello to my little friend in a Florida mansion.

Take your personal Mardi Gras all the way to New Orleans if you want. But then prepare yourselves for reality, because we know how this tale ends, and it isn't with the Maurice Jones-Drews of the world receiving laudatory pats on the back.

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