This is why everyone hates you, New England. No matter what woes befall the rest of the league, no matter how many conspiracy theories both baseless and valid you whip up, no matter how much you try to convince us that your horde of scrappy Do-Your-Jobers are the real victims in Roger Goodells NFL, we know the truth:
You are the absolute luckiest team and fans in human history, and every news cycle that breaks New Englands way—which is every damn news cycle—only underlines that fact in blood.
Youre the kid who gets Christmas every week, the dog who gets grilled steak for every meal. Youre the lottery winner who collects their check, swings by the Quick Stop on the way home, and—oh, would you look at that!—wins another lottery.
They hate us cause they aint us, Boston fans bray, and theyre absolutely right. We hate the fact that somehow, in every situation, against all odds, all laws of nature, all belief in a benevolent higher power, New England wins, again and again. Every year, Bill Belichick plucks the perfect combination of castoffs, has-beens and never-weres and transforms them into a sleek playoff-bound machine. Every year, Brady turns some random gaggle of grocery baggers and truck drivers into a ninja-lethal receiving corps.
The AFC East has spent the past two decades rolling over like a needy puppy. The Chiefs, Steelers and Broncos suddenly forget how to play football when they head to Foxborough in January — and, strangely enough, the route to the Super Bowl always seems to run through Foxborough in January.
And then there are the Super Bowls. The Rams quivered into Jell-O on the big stage against New England earlier this year. The Falcons had a wooden stake sharpened and ready and somehow hammered it into their own hearts. All the Seahawks did was gift New England another ring by running the single dumbest play in the history of football. You realize that were two ridiculous Eli Manning throws and one just-barely-missed Gronk Hail Mary reception from nine Patriot Super Bowl wins? Nine. The football gods denied New England those wins because nine Patriots wins would have forced us to shut down the league once and for all.
Brown, a former wide receiver, acknowledged it must have been tough for the Raiders to let Brown walk, but he said they did what they had to given the circumstances.
Now Brady has his most dangerous deep weapon since Randy Moss. Brady now has a receiving corps of Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, which is the kind of air attack you dont usually see outside of a four-team fantasy football league with your grandparents and your dog. Its like giving Mike Trout an aluminum bat, like letting LeBron James shoot on a 7-foot rim. Its not fair. Its not even in the same hemisphere as fair.
Look, I dont blame Brown for wanting to play for the Patriots. Who wouldnt want to jump from the three-wheeled red wagon that is Oakland into the Lamborghini Murciélago that is New England? (License plate: DFLT THS.) But the way it all went down — Brown sowing chaos at every turn, raising the stakes every day like a player shoving more chips into the center of the table until the Raiders had no choice but to fold … why, its almost enough to make you think something was afoot. But thats crazy talk, right?
Bill Belichick getting ready to send a 2041 7th-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for Antonio Brown… pic.twitter.com/kMghSfXp8W
Im letting it be known right now I hate the New England patriots now like I dislike the cowboys! pic.twitter.com/xBRVFxf8AT
Dead serious here: if Antonio Brown thought the Raiders were going to cut him, then apologized, THEN got word (via Rosenhaus) that the Patriots were interested, its totally possible he forced his way out of Oakland last night.
New England, this is why nobody cares about deflate-gate, even though you were on the right side of that one. This is why nobody buys your victim act, why nobody takes your side against Goodell. Youve gotten everything you could want as fans, and somehow, you still keep getting more.
Someday, New England is going to fall apart, we whisper, quietly, for fear of attracting the attention of the chowderheads. Someday, Belichick will retire, and Brady will go off to a life of hermetically sealed supermodel bliss, and New England will struggle to get to .500. And then something like Antonio Brown happens, and were reminded again that someday is not today.
Five months from now, theres a terrifyingly good chance that New England will bulldoze its way through the league, that Goodell will hand the Lombardi Trophy to Belichick, that Brady will once again flash that insufferable RINGZZZ grin in a cascade of confetti. Once again, Brady will hold up multiple fingers to symbolize all of New Englands Super Bowls. And once again, well all hold up just one in response.
Browns fellow Patriots wide receiver made it clear hes excited to play alongside a former rival.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
In todays episode of The Adventures of Antonio Brown, our protagonist has a change of heart less than 24 hours after issuing a tearful apology to the members of his football family for the embarrassment he caused them.
Suddenly, he finds his situation undesirable, and his bosses disloyal. Angered by the punishments they dole out for his antics (acts of injustice in our friends mind), Brown plots an escape.
Utilizing his favorite weapon — his social media platforms — Brown makes a series of calculated moves, forces his way out of yet another tough scrape.
Yes, he lands in an even better situation — an opportunity with elite of elites, the most enviable franchise in the league.
Taking to social media yet again, Brown triumphantly shares a picture of himself in that New England Patriots white, blue and red, grinning ear to ear. His hashtag, #GodsPlan.
But we do know that financially, hes quite all right having signed a one-year deal worth $15 million, including a $9 million signing bonus to cap off a wild Saturday.
And having now joined the defending Super Bowl champions, who are coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time, and quarterbacked by one of the best to ever do it, Brown couldnt ask for a better opportunity.
This of course is both a marvel and not surprising at all. Well before the Raiders announced on Friday that they would let AB slide and that they planned to let him play on Monday, NFL fans had already come up with hilarious memes of Bill Belichick gearing up for an acquisition of Brown.
None of us could blow off assignments from our supervisor, cuss another boss out and then tell them were not coming to work again and instantly upgrade our employment situation.
And we dont have world-class talent that makes it easy for people to excuse our behavior that some deem transgressions. The majority of Browns NFL peers dont even possess this second- and third-chance-earning kind of clout. Just ask Colin Kaepernick.
But, if there were any franchise that would take a chance on such a volatile player, its the Patriots. Thats what they do.
Belichick embraces the cast-offs. He capitalizes on their hurts and feelings of rejection. He helps them turn those pains into chips on their shoulders and gets them to conform to his standards. He promises redemption and revenge in the form of a very real shot at a Lombardi Trophy, or two, or six.
Embracing the Patriots Way, those second-chance players often do succeed in rewriting their narratives, and they shine on the new stage New England provides.
Itll be interesting to see the language in Browns new contract, but he likely understands that this opportunity does come with a short leash.
Hell likely fly straight because of the chance to face his former team, the Steelers, who traditionally frequently face the Patriots in the postseason with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. (Coincidentally, the Patriots open against the Steelers on Sunday night, but because he just joined the team Saturday, he is not eligible to play.) Meanwhile, hell relish this new setting because hell no longer have to deal with the headaches of rebuilding as he would have in Oakland.
People looked the other way or swept his transgressions under the rug for a decade in Pittsburgh. And the Raiders were prepared to make exceptions for him as well, to a certain extent.
Hell have to learn quickly, however. Because there will be no enabling in New England. If Brown does anything to embarrass this franchise, Belichick will bring swift punishment, and likely end the experiment.
If hes smart, Brown keeps all of this in mind and once again commits to carrying himself like one of the best wide receivers in the game. And if he does, hell wind up with the last laugh, despite having ruined many relationships with people who cared about him and having soiled his reputation in the eyes of many NFL players, coaches and fans.
But thats OK, in Browns book. His happiness and fulfillment are top priority. If he comes out on top, how he gets there doesnt matter as much.
Hell draw criticism for that. And many NFL fans will gnash their teeth, jealous that the rules they must adhere to daily dont apply to Brown.