The video was shot as the New England Patriots were leaving Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium after their 37-31 overtime victory over the Chiefs in the AFC championship game on Jan. 20.

Tom Brady is walking toward the team bus, Rob Gronkowski trailing behind his left shoulder.

The two smile – maybe smirk – while shrugging their shoulders and strutting as a P. Diddy song plays in the background. They don’t say a word.

But as a clip of Rex Burkhead scoring the winning touchdown appears on the video, their message becomes quite clear as the lyrics kick in: “We ain’t going nowhere / We ain’t going nowhere / We can’t be stopped now / Cause it’s bad boy for life.”

That, in a nutshell, is why you love the New England Patriots. Or hate their guts.

Were Brady and Gronkowski – two of the greatest players ever at their positions – just goofing around? Or were they being smug, cocky, arrogant?


Likely depends on where you live.

Consider an informal Twitter survey showing which states are rooting for the Los Angeles Rams to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday night. Only nine states outside of New England side with the Patriots. And that includes Louisiana – which surely wasn’t going to root for the Rams after the New Orleans Saints lost to them in the NFC championship game on a controversial non-call.

The Patriots’ unrivaled success – nine Super Bowl appearances and five championships in 18 years – has Patriot loathing at a fevered pitch. No other team has played in the Super Bowl more than three times in that same stretch.

“I cannot sit here and watch the New England Patriots – the Mongol Empire of the 21st century – win week after week, year after year,” wrote Washington Post columnist Norman Chad. “The Patriots and their fans are so loathsome, I wish we could Brexit New England.”

Even here, smack dab in the middle of Patriots Nation, there are haters. Javier Gorriti, the popular sports-talk host of the PM Jab on 96.3 FM in Portland, is one of them. The fact that he’s a New York Jets fan has something to do with it.

But he said he’d hate them even if he wasn’t. And there isn’t just one thing that makes him revile them.


“It’s all of it,” he said. “It’s Tom Brady being like the movie-star quarterback. It’s the perceived good fortune they’ve received over the years. It’s the Tuck Rule, (Adam) Vinatieri in the snow, the crazy things that seem to go their way that help them win. All of those things.”

Gorriti, who was a goalie for the UMaine hockey team, has an action figure of Brady that he has been trying to jinx the past few weeks. “I’m routinely performing different voodoo acts on it,” he said. “Anything to help.”

It’s not easy being the king. Go on Facebook and search for the term “hate Patriots” and you’ll find no fewer than four pages devoted to fans who despise the Pats.

New Englanders often say, “They hate us cuz they ain’t us.” But it’s not that simple. The Patriots aren’t hated simply because they win and win and win and win.

“Patriots haters are convinced that they cheat,” Gorriti said. “They’re the perfect sports villain. There is nothing endearing about this team.”

Ah, yes, the “cheating.” There’s Spygate, when the Patriots were caught in 2007 videotaping their opponent’s signals from the sidelines. And Deflategate, when they supposedly used underinflated balls to help Brady get a grip on the ball in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC championship game. After a lengthy legal battle, Brady was suspended for four games for his role in Deflategate.


So there’s always that suspicion. And bitterness. A Pittsburgh TV producer was fired last week after an image of Brady came with a label reading “known cheater.” A GoFundMe page has been set up to ease his journey into unemployment. It had raised $2,700 as of Saturday morning.

There’s no question the Patriots play mind games with opponents, such as when Bill Belichick has had huge thermometers installed in the tunnels leading to the field when warm-weather teams come into Gillette Stadium in frigid temperatures. But haters insist there’s more to it than mind games.

Some members of the then-St. Louis Rams insisted that the Patriots filmed their final practice before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, when the Patriots grounded the Greatest Show on Turf and won their first NFL championship.

Visiting teams have long insisted that the Gillette locker rooms are bugged and often have their own security team sweep through to find them.

Then there’s the way the NFL has changed its rules because of the way the Patriots play.

Start with the Tuck Rule – since abolished – that allowed the Patriots to overcome what appeared to be a game-losing fumble by Brady and beat the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 divisional playoffs.


After Patriots cornerbacks manhandled Colts wide receivers in the 2003 AFC championship game, the NFL revised its rules to limit how much a defensive back could impede a receiver, thus opening up the wild, wild passing games that exist today.

Then, in a wild 35-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the 2014 divisional round, the Patriots had running back Shane Vereen report as an “ineligible receiver” on several plays, confusing the Ravens and their pass coverage and helping the Patriots rally for a victory. The NFL later banned such a ploy.

Gorriti admits – and not that reluctantly – that the Patriots’ success is impressive.

“There’s no question, you can hate them and respect them for what they’ve done,” he said. “I respect everything that Belichick and Brady have done.

“I hate the team.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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