BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots haven’t been getting much love this summer, which usually comes with the territory of being defending Super Bowl champs.
But it’s not often you hear them referred to as “The Most Hated Team In Football.” A lot of people don’t like New England and the success they’ve enjoyed over the last 15 years, but that title is usually reserved for the Dallas Cowboys.
According to Sports Illustrated, the Patriots are now the team nearly everyone loves to hate:
Whenever a franchise, in any sport, scores enough success to approach dynasty status, a begrudging dislike naturally forms outside its own fan base. Everyone loves an underdog. With four Super Bowl titles since the turn of the century, New England rarely qualifies under that heading. (Super Bowl XLIX was a bit of an exception, as the line flipped late to favor Seattle.)
Deflategate and Spygate have not scored the Patriots any brownie points, either. The organization doesn’t really seem to care, which might further add fuel to the fire outside Foxborough. Bill Belichick is still the same as always, casting an almost smug figure. Owner Robert Kraft and Tom Brady have remained defiant and unapologetic.
Winning amid controversy has added numbers to the anti-Patriot crowd. Those numbers will keep growing, too, so long as New England stays a title contender.
But the Patriots hate doesn’t stop there. Head coach Bill Belichick was also named “The Most Hated Head Coach” in the league:
If we’re talking about the NFL coach who is most hated outside of his own building, there’s no doubt that Belichick gets the vote. Between Spygate and Deflategate, his constant on-field trickery, his generally moribund press conferences and his undeniable football genius, Belichick is the guy most football fans love to hate, even if there is a grudging respect for his accomplishments. However, when it comes to his own players? You’ll rarely find any, past or present, with a bad word to say. Players know that coaches like Belichick bring the best out of them and put them in positions to win.
While most fans in New England have learned to embrace Belichick’s curmudgeon persona and constant sniffs and snorts, it seems other NFL fans haven’t bought into it just yet.
It sure sounds like players don’t mind playing for him though, and that’s really all that matters.
Fortunately for the Patriots, that’s where the hate ends in the SI post. Washington owner Dan Snyer was named “The Most Hated Owner,” Buffalo Bills receiver Percy Harvin was named “The Most Hated Player In The Locker Room,” and Johnny Manziel is “The Most Hated Player Among Fans.”
And though it’s been a rough offseason for fans of the New England Patriots, and a lot of people around the country don’t want to hear anymore “Free Brady” chants, they’ll be happy to know they aren’t the worse fans in the country. According to SI, that honor belongs to the, who else, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.