NFL Fans Speak Out Loud and Clear: Keep the Patriots Out of the Super Bowl


News flash: Most NFL fans outside of New England don’t like the Patriots.

That’s not exactly breaking news, as dynastic franchises like the Patriots are usually extremely polarizing and most fans either love them or hate them, with very few having no opinion.

But the dislike of the Patriots’ dominance is stronger than the usual, as it manifested itself in an SB Nation poll this week.

SB Nation’s FanPulse poll of 1,970 fans showed that nearly 70 percent of those polled said the Patriots were the NFL team left standing that they most wanted to see lose this weekend.

The Saints came in second place at 11.88 percent. The Chiefs were third at 9.9 percent and the Rams were fourth at 8.78 percent.

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The Super Bowl fatigue of the Patriots undoubtedly stems from them appearing in The Big Game so often this millennium. They’ve represented the AFC in eight Super Bowls since the 2001 season while the rest of the AFC teams have gone to a combined nine Super Bowls.

Scandals surrounding the team — especially Spygate and Deflategate — certainly haven’t helped the Patriots’ reputation, as many opposing fans believe there is some level of cheating that goes on within the organization.

In late December a map emerged on Reddit that showed the most hated NFL teams by state, based on geotagged tweets. It wasn’t surprising that the Patriots led the “hate,” with 13 states choosing them as their most disliked team, But it was a bit of a surprise to see where those states are located.

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Usual suspects were states with AFC East divisional opponents such as New York and Florida, but the Midwest also had an unusually high level of hate for the Patriots.

Indiana and Kentucky both hate the Patriots, likely because of the decades-long Colts-Patriots rivalry, but the Great Plains also got involved as well.

Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming all picked New England as their most-hated NFL franchise, while even Alaska and Hawaii got in on the Patriots hate.

It seems that the Patriots have seemingly done the impossible — they have replaced the Dallas Cowboys as the most-hated NFL team.

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A FiveThirtyEight poll before the 2017 season showed that 30.3 percent of NFL fans voted the Cowboys among their top three least-favorite teams. The Patriots came in second with 26.2 percent.

A year later, at least in terms of the Final Four NFL teams, the Patriots are now the team that fans least want to see continue to the Super Bowl.

The task of defeating them will fall on the Kansas City Chiefs who, in that same FiveThirtyEight poll, generated the least amount of hate as just 3.7 percent of NFL fans considered them to be among their top three least-favorite teams.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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