(Cue Monday Night Football Singer’s Voice) ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBAAAAAAAAALLLL! The NFL is back in full swing. It’s September, and that means the start of a new year and a new opportunity for the 32 teams in the National Football League to show why they are among the best athletes in the world.
Football has always been one of the most popular sports in the United States. According to Bleacher Report, in 2016, the average NFL game was watched by 16.5 million people. Naturally, being as popular as it is, right here on campus we have a few football fans.
So we decided to ask some Pilots what they think about the 2017 season so far and what’s to come. Here’s what they had to say.
Some people REALLY don’t like the Patriots (Except for Phil)
I feel comfortable saying there are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Patriots putting together a winning season and making the playoffs. The Belichick/Brady Era has produced 14 playoff runs, including seven AFC Championship wins and five Super Bowls in the span of 16 years. And for the most part, it grinds the gears of some Pilots.
“I think I hate the Patriots more than I like the Seahawks,” admits D’Marquese Tyson, a senior guard for the Pilots men’s basketball team and lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan. “I would rather the Seahawks never win another Super Bowl than the Patriots win another Super Bowl.”
Ben Carlson, a sophomore, also has a sore spot for the Patriots, but with a small caveat in the form of a 6’6”, 265 lb manchild named Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski plays tight end for the Patriots and has been a perennial fan favorite ever since entering the league.
“He just seems like a good guy,” said Carlson, another passionate Seahawks fan who started following the team after their 2005 Super Bowl appearance. “I hate the fact that he’s a Patriot, but he just seems like a good guy and a great football player.”
Believe it or not, not everyone hates the Patriots. Phil Hartwich, a junior center for the men’s basketball team, is a passionate Patriots fan and has been for the last ten years. He got into the Patriots from watching the Cologne Centurions, a team that was a part of NFL Europe, where a lot of players signed or drafted by the Patriots were sent to play.
“I was a fan obviously because it was my hometown team,” Hartwich said. “So I fell in love with the Patriots because that was basically their second team.”
Not only is he a big Patriots fan, but a diehard Tom Brady fan. When I mention that Tom Brady is one of the best ever, he quickly questions me, asking, “What do you mean one of the best ever? He is the best ever.” He even named his fantasy football team “Tom Brady Issa GOAT”, a play on 21 Savage’s debut album “Issa,” glorifying the quarterback that came back from being down 28-3 and beat his Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl.
One thing is certain: Phil really likes Tom Brady.
They Like the Unity Around the NFL Shown this past Sunday
While they might not agree on whether the Patriots are the worst or not, they do agree that the 100 plus NFL players kneeling or not standing on the field during the National Anthem was important, and justified.
“I feel like it’s great that they do that,” Hartwich said. “They used their platform to protest an issue that didn’t have a lot of attention two years ago. I hope there is some conversation that gets sparked by this.”
Tyson and Carlson both agree. “I think it’s good that they’re taking a stand for what they believe in,” Tyson said. “I like that they’re taking a stand.”
In the eyes of these students, NFL players are doing exactly what they should be doing; making their voices heard however they can.
“I think it’s awesome the way they’re choosing to do it,” Carlson addes. “It’s peaceful, non-violent, perfectly in line with the Civil Rights Movement. I fully stand with all the players.”
Who Wins the Super Bowl?
The regular season is great and all, but in the end, teams only care about one thing, and that’s making the playoffs. So who do these Pilots think we’ll see in Minneapolis on February 4th for the Super Bowl? According to Carlson, we’re going to see a rematch of Super Bowl 51.
“I think it’s going to be a Falcons and Patriots rematch,” Carlson said. But he sees it going differently this time around.
“I’m going Falcons.”
Hartwich disagrees. His beloved Patriots are not only going back to the Super Bowl, but they’ll repeat as football champions of the world, he says. The only question for him is who do they play. After some deep thinking, he has an answer.
“I’m going to go with the Seahawks,” he said. “I like that matchup with D’Marquese so we can just talk a lot of trash.”
Time will only tell how this season will unravel. Who knows? That’s where half the fun comes from! Maybe the Patriots will totally fall apart and they, by some act of God, don’t make the playoffs. That would certainly make these Pilots happy.
Well, maybe not all these Pilots.