The good news for the Patriots is they are in first place in the AFC East. The bad news, however, is much like the rest of the conference their record is hovering right around .500 and from week to week no one has any idea what to expect from them. Today they stand trial in our prestigious fictional court room, facing several counts of “being an average team”. The entitled fan base has been rioting outside the court house for days, screaming profanities in cliché accents in anticipation of this high profile trial. Ben Van Iten will head up the prosecution, while Nate Raby will be handling the defense.
Below you will find a transcription of the lawyer’s closing arguments.
Ben: I was going wear my hoodie and mumble a bunch of jargon under my breath like a Bill Belichick press conference because my case speaks for itself, but let’s go ahead and do this thing anyway.
He removes the hoodie to reveal a suit underneath, and approaches the jury.
The defense is going to tell you that you about how Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the league…and he’s right. He’s going to tell you that this is a team that has a plethora of weapons and a newfound balance, and he’s right again. He’s going to tell you that he has always looked up to my sharp fake lawyering skills, and you’re going to be like…dude, let’s stay on track here, keep your head in the game!
But these things do not make up for the fact that this team has struggled at two positions that you can’t afford to struggle at…the offensive line and defensive secondary. While Brady’s stats are looking good again, and the run game has been better than anyone expected, late game protection issues have plagued the Patriots again and again. And as far as the secondary, it is an injury riddled and incompetent mess. New England’s brain trust can trade for forty six draft picks every year, but if they repeatedly fail to fix this secondary what is the point? What wide receiver is Troy Brown teaching how to play nickel back this year?
The New England Patriots that I have known from the last decade would not drop a game at home against the Arizona Cardinals, the Tom Brady that I have known for the last decade does not get outplayed by a rookie. There is something slightly off about this team, and just when you think they are figuring it all out they go out on the field and lay an egg.
But maybe they aren’t going to figure it out. Maybe they are just another team in this big confusing AFC mess. Will they make the playoffs? I’m sure they will, because they are playing in a terrible division. But don’t expect another 14-2 season from this team. You know how I know that? They’ve already lost three games! Math! Booyah!
Ben’s fist pump alarms several jury members.
But you want to know the easiest way to tell that this team is in trouble? This last Sunday, for a majority of the game, they made Marc Sanchez look good. The prosecution rests…comfortably knowing they won this case.
Ben produces a microphone from his pocket, and drops it on the ground for effect before returning to his table. Nate approaches the microphone and looks at Ben, then back at the microphone, before shaking his head .
Nate: I didn’t know I walked into a rap battle.
He turns towards the jury.
Ben’s right. The Patriots team is average. They’re not the dominating offensive presence they once were. Where are the touchdowns? Where are the ridiculous stats? For God’s sakes, where are the random, white, gritty skill players? It’s just not the same.
But does it have to be? Let’s look at the last couple of Super Bowls. The last Super Bowl to have 2 #1 seeds was the Saints/Colts game, but since then the winner hasn’t been a #1 seed. In fact, as our prosecutor is clearly aware of, the Packers won the Super Bowl as the last seed to get in.
Ben fist pumps again, causing a lady juror to scream.
Will you cut that out?
Anyway. The next year, the Giants had to wait til the last game of the season to be granted a playoff berth. And the teams they beat? The #2 seed Steelers and the #1 seed Patriots. This shows that you don’t have to be dominant all season long to win the Super Bowl. All you really have to do is play well enough to get in. After that, it’s a whole new ballgame.
Do the Patriots have flaws? Of course they do. But right now, in this NFL, everyone has flaws. The only team not to lose yet is the Falcons, and they’ve had to sneak wins out against a few 1 and 2 win teams. The ball isn’t going to bounce their way forever. And the Texans have proven that they’re inconsistent, getting smoked by Green Bay, then smoking the also-inconsistent Ravens the next week. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is certain. And the fact that the Patriots are average is a lot easier to swallow with the knowledge that most of the AFC is, too. Did you know the Patriots are one of THREE teams in the AFC with a winning record? Isn’t that disgusting?
Ben: I told you that.
Nate: And now I’m using it against you in a court of law. AMERICA!
So yeah. Maybe the Patriots aren’t streaking towards the finish line this year. Maybe it’s more of a hobble. But that doesn’t mean they’re not a potential Super Bowl winning team. Because in this race, everyone is limping, and all it takes is one push of the wheelchair to break away. Clearly, I’m comparing the entire conference to crippled people. Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning being in the AFC helps my argument! With that bombshell, the defense rests.
So who made the more convincing case? The jury can deliberate in the comments section.