By Evan Mohl

Killeen Daily Herald

I have yet to write about the 17-0 New England Patriots in my small little space in the world, but I feel, with the AFC Championship set to take place at 2 p.m. today, compelled to.

However, I'm not going to drone on and on about how great they are. We all know that.

My focus is a little different: why does everyone hate the Patriots?

For the last 17 weeks, I have heard people use everything from 'cheaters' to 'they're too good' to 'the coach dresses like a slob' as excuses to dislike New England. It seems that somehow the sight of sports perfection makes us revert back to little kids concocting ways to convince our parents that our bedrooms really are clean.

Unfortunately for all you Patriot haters, like your mother, I don't buy it.

Sure, Bill Belichick is as dispassioned and condescending as coaches come. Yes, New England – well, their coach, at least – is a convicted cheater.

Still, the Patriots as a whole stand for

everything that we want in sports, or at least that we say we want: a team concept. No single individual is bigger than the team.

"The touchdowns passes are not very important," Tom Brady said after their victory over the Dallas Cowboys earlier this season, according to the Patriots' web site. "I think winning the game is most important ... When you win, that's the most satisfying thing moreso than throwing a touchdown pass ... I'd love to set plenty of team records, but the individual records are based on opportunities you get. What's the difference if you throw it in from one yard or run it in. It's just a touchdown for our offense and that's what I get excited about."

Isn't that what sports is all about? Players sacrificing their bodies and individual accomplishments for a W; no one stat or helmet is bigger than the team.

Even Randy Moss, the guy who used to refuse to talk to the media after he had a bad game, has transformed. The wide receiver who once claimed he would pay a fine in 'straight cash, homey,' has become the ultimate team player.

After a one-catch performance in the Patriot's Divisional Playoff game against the Jaguars, Moss told the Los Angeles Times, "I say, man, we win as a team."

Should we not applaud the Patriots for being able to humble Moss? Or do we want our athletes to show up opponents and be concerned with their individual performance?

The latter might make for better entertainment and office water-cooler talk, but, if we're talking sports, I'll take perfection every time.

Even if it is a little boring.

Contact Evan Mohl at or (254) 501-7564.

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