Yes, teams are jealous of the Patriots. But the Patriots deserved scrutiny


Robert Kraft believes the league is working against the Patriots out of "envy and jealousy." Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft echoed the talking point of the most abrasive fans of his team this week when he attributed “envy and jealousy” as motivating forces behind the NFL’s investigation into whether the Pats illegally deflated footballs two years ago during the playoffs.

Now that the Pats have won two Super Bowls since the investigation began, it’s fair to say they’re feeling their oats. Kraft is free to gloat and call out the haters. There’s probably even more than a modicum of truth to his words. Teams were and are tired of seeing the Patriots steamroll the competition, usually with little difficulty, from year to year. Few organizations have seen or even come close to enjoying the sustained success that the Patriots have over the course of the past 16 seasons. It would be impossible for any team to admit they aren’t envious of the run put on by this Patriots’ extended dynasty.

That said, there’s an incredible amount of revisionist history being put forth by Donald Trump’s chum. For starters, there’s the fact that the evidence of the Patriots malfeasance in the Spygate scandal was destroyed by the NFL, casting into doubt the validity of New England’s first three titles. It was immense favor done to Kraft and his franchise by a commissioner who was publicly tight with the Patriots owner. For years Roger Goodell and Robert Kraft shared a bond that made many in the NFL uncomfortable, and carried with it a perception that the Patriots received preferential treatment.

There was plenty reason for other owners to be resentful, whether it was lingering lack of closure on Spygate or continuous headset communication issues for road teams playing in Gillette Stadium. And for what it’s worth, just because the NFL was unable to prove that the Patriots were conspiring to deflate footballs before games doesn’t mean that it absolutely did not occur. There were plenty of suspicious details unearthed within the NFL’s investigation into the deflated balls. Certainly the league deserves grief for being unable to find a smoking gun, and for suspended Tom Brady for not turning over his cell phone, but it’s not as though there was nothing there. The Patriots try to play the victim, and there’s little reason to give the organization the benefit of the doubt.

For Kraft to cite jealousy as an operating factor betrays a not insignificant amount of insecurity on his part. It’s one thing for fans to bleat things at one another. We’re pathetic onlookers who have decided to attach ourselves to the athletic achievements of others, operating under billionaires bilking the publics out of hundreds of millions in public funds.

For Kraft to be upset, even as his team still wins championships, and he personally makes money hand over fist, is a monumental showing of internal discomfort. Wouldn’t success alone be enough without concerning himself with the perception of jealousy from his peers?

There are no objectively good NFL owners, at least on a moral scale. Some are better than others at hiring the right people, at staying out the way and letting them flourish. It’s fair to say none of them truly understand the sport. Even for the ones reaping the benefits on on-field success, they should know luck plays a significant role. And if those under them have done things to enhance that luck, well, the owner should just be happy the team’s titles haven’t been invalidated.

Mike Tunison is a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Va. and the former editor of Kissing Suzy Kolber. You can follow him at @xmasape on Twitter.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
17 SLIDES
Players with the most Super Bowl appearances
QUIZ: Every player who has caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady

Tom Brady has thrown touchdown passes to 62 different players. How many can you name? The number of touchdowns caught by each player is listed. All stats are current through the end of the 2015 NFL season.

Score:
0/66
Time:
10:00
67
Rob Gronkowski
39
Randy Moss
34
Wes Welker
24
Deion Branch
24
Julian Edelman
18
Aaron Hernandez
17
Daniel Graham
17
Ben Watson
16
David Patten
15
Troy Brown
13
Christian Fauria
12
David Givens
10
Kevin Faulk
9
James White
8
Danny Amendola
8
Mike Vrabel
7
Brandon LaFell
7
Shane Vereen
6
Martellus Bennett
6
Jabar Gaffney
6
Tim Wright
4
Reche Caldwell
4
Scott Chandler
4
Aaron Dobson
4
Bethel Johnson
4
Brandon Lloyd
4
Donte Stallworth
4
Kenbrell Thompkins
4
Danny Woodhead
3
Doug Gabriel
3
Chris Hogan
3
Chad Jackson
3
Antowain Smith
3
Jermaine Wiggins
2
Sam Aiken
2
Chris Baker
2
Brandon Bolden
2
Kyle Brady
2
Alge Crumpler
2
Corey Dillon
2
Tim Dwight
2
Marc Edwards
2
Donald Hayes
2
Dion Lewis
2
Keshawn Martin
2
Brandon Tate
1
Tom Ashworth
1
LeGarrette Blount
1
Larry Centers
1
Cam Cleeland
1
Andre Davis
1
James Develin
1
Heath Evans
1
Michael Floyd
1
Terry Glenn
1
Michael Hoomanawanui
1
Chad Johnson
1
Charles Johnson
1
Matt Lengel
1
Laurence Maroney
1
Matthew Mulligan
1
Patrick Pass
1
Nate Solder
1
David Thomas
1
Brian Tyms
1
Dedric Ward
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mavericks issue statement in response to SI article on uncomfortable workplace

NCAA upholds penalties against Louisville related to scandal

Lindsey Vonn tears up during emotional interview

Andrew Luck: Surgery 'is not an option for me right now'

David Price warns JD Martinez that fans in Boston will boo him

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Yelich: ‘Everything changed’ for Marlins after Fernandez’s death

Mattingly fires back at Harper over Marlins criticism

Report: Jets could pay Kirk Cousins $60 million in 2018

Doug Martin released by Buccaneers

Cuban: Losing is Mavs' 'best option' for rest of season

Figure skater Scott Moir jabs Brett Favre with retirement talk

The 'All muscle hamsters go to heaven' quiz

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

Offseason needs for every NFL team

Donovan Mitchell's limiting nostalgia

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

Grading the deal: Eric Hosmer finally finds a home with Padres

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

Patriots News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Offseason needs for every NFL team

MLB's top 10 second basemen for 2018

The 'All muscle hamsters go to heaven' quiz

A.J. McCarron might be the best consolation prize in free agency

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker