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      Smack Zone — Eli Manning

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      How to Win an Argument with a Patriots Fan

      [caption id="attachment_853" align="alignright" width="300"]New England Patriots Fan You actually can't win an argument against a Patriots fan, because they no longer have a firm grasp on reality.[/caption] (Note: This is part of a recurring series that launched with the Yankees last week. This week, it's New England's turn in the Smack Zone. We still love you, Pats fans!) First, let's be clear: There is no way to win an argument with a New England Patriots fan. The arrogance runs too deep. True minions of Brady and Belichick no longer are capable of humility or rational thought -- of any kind. They are as intractable as a field of volcanic rock, as aloof and unapproachable as an Apple store employee five minutes away from a smoke break. Patriots fans simply can't be wrong. For evidence of their innate superiority, they unveil four compelling exhibits: Super Bowl XXXVI. Super Bowl XXXVIII. Super Bowl XXXIX. Super Bowl XLIX. OK. Championship caliber franchise. Got it. No one is saying New England hasn't gotten extremely proficient over the years at acquiring hardware. [caption id="attachment_1038" align="alignleft" width="300"]Played memes are played, but sometimes the only way to get through to myopic Patriots fans is to say it as slowly and simply as possible. Small words, y'all. Played memes are played, but sometimes the only way to get through to myopic Patriots fans is to say it as slowly and simply as possible. Small words, y'all.[/caption] Yet, their very success reveals their weakness. How? Two main things to remember when attempting to take a Patriots fan down a notch. One: They cheated. Two: Their fans respond to success with all the grace of a pack of hyenas, bellowing with frustration that the world is against them. By the way: They're right about that. The world IS against them. There's a history here, of course. Patriots fans are what Red Sox fans become during the long, cold New England winters. Take all those years of Fenway bitterness, add an unhealthy dose of sub-freezing and ice-encased fury, toss in years of obviously tainted victory and voila: Patriots fan. All right. We've established that they are insufferable and deluded. They don't care what you think. Still, even the most rabid Patriots fan has no comeback for these two bits of unassailable history: New England Patriots FansOne: The Patriots are Eli Manning's Super Bowl squeak toy. Two: Aaron Hernandez murdered a dude while he was an active, productive and well-loved member of the New England Patriots family. To expound a bit on Eli: If the younger Manning brother ever joins brother Peyton in the hallowed halls of Canton one day, it will be as a direct result of his and the Giants' mastery of the Patriots in not one, but two Super Bowls. New England Patriots FansWithout the Patriots, Eli Manning would be in the career neighborhood of Dave Krieg and (hey!) Drew Bledsoe. Good QBs in their day, but hardly Canton fodder. Thanks to the Patriots, Eli is a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. (Yes, we're aware that you have to get to the Super Bowl to lose in the Super Bowl, but Patriots fans are the first to define themselves in terms of championships. Runner-up is FIRST LOSER.) As for Hernandez ... well, to their credit, even though they knew Hernandez had issues, at least the Patriots didn't wait until he had been convicted before cutting ties. And owner Robert Kraft testified for the prosecution in Hernandez's trial. That said, YOUR TIGHT END MURDERED A DUDE IN COLD BLOOD. A guy Patriots fans cheered with all their collective heart on Sundays turned out to be a stone, cold killer. How's that taste, Pats fan? (Editors note: They still don't care.) MostInterestingPatriotsThen there are the Twin Gates: Spy- and Deflate-. Look, we're not going to rehash those infamous instances of cheating here. Besides, Patriots fans are so deep in denial that many of them won't even acknowledge the wrongdoing by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Those who do acknowledge it are sitting in their easy chairs with their fingers in their ears saying, "LA LA LA LA LA LA! I can't hear you! LA LA LA LA LA LA! Brady is God! LA LA LA LA! Not listening! Not listening!" Sigh. OK. At this point, there is no shame in admitting defeat. Those four Super Bowl rings are tough to argue against -- legit or not. Winning an argument against a New England Patriots fan must be accomplished in small increments. As they bellow about Brady and Goodell and the God-awful Wells report; as they name their children after Tom Brady and their Great Danes after Gronk; as they wallow in their us-against-the-world self pity, go exercise a form of civil disobedience by sharing something funny from the Twitter account for Tom Brady's Ego. It's a parody account, but humor often reveals truth. And the truth is, perhaps the best way to win an argument with a New England Patriots fan is to ignore him. New England Patriots Fan Case closed. Next week: How to win an argument with a Green Bay Packers fan.    

      5 Things: Winston in Good Company, Gator on Gator, a Little Soccer Talk

      OK, it was ugly. Uglier than pre-boiled crab meat. Uglier than school cafeteria lunch smeared on the walls after a food fight. Uglier than a lot of things associated with Jameis Winston. Bucs fans could not have imagined anything this ugly, this soon: Titans 42, Tampa Bay 14. And it wasn’t even THAT close. It actually was uglier than the average four-TD blowout. What we need is perspective. So, here’s a related, ugly little statistic to keep in mind after Famous Jameis’ less-than-stellar debut as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-10. That was the combined record in debut NFL starts for the past 12 QBs selected with the No. 1 overall pick. These guys, like Winston, all lost their first NFL starts as rookies:

      • Andrew Luck, Colts
      • Cam Newton, Panthers
      • Sam Bradford, Rams
      • Matthew Stafford, Lions
      • JaMarcus Russell, Raiders
      • Alex Smith, 49ers
      • Eli Manning, Giants
      • Carson Palmer, Bengals
      • Tim Couch, Browns
      • Peyton Manning, Colts
      Among the quarterbacks selected with the No. 1 overall pick since 1998, only David Carr (Texans) and Michael Vick (Falcons) celebrated victory in their first NFL starts. Carr’s team finished 4-12 that year, and Vick was 4-for-12 passing in his first Atlanta start. What can we read into Marcus Mariota’s brilliance (158.3 passer rating) for Tennessee and Winston’s ugly incompetence Sunday at Raymond James Stadium? Not much, frankly. One horrible day does not a bust make. Similarly, one fantastic day does not mean Mariota is destined for the Hall of Fame. Still, if you’re a Bucs fan today, the question naturally becomes: What if? And that’s legit. It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder if the result would have been reversed if Mariota wore pewter, red and white on Sunday instead of Titans red, white and blue. It’s a question we won’t be able to answer for months or even years. Yet, today, it is telling that Bucs fans can ask that question without an ounce of hesitation. It’s OK to ask the question in the wake of that kind of embarrassment on the football field. Now, how will Winston answer? That’s what we’ll be watching in the weeks ahead. Gator on Gator [caption width="300" id="attachment_980" align="aligncenter"]Gators Tackling Image: SB Nation[/caption]Jarrad Davis made perhaps the most important tackle of the day for the University of Florida Saturday in its 31-24 victory against East Carolina. What made it newsworthy was that the Gators defender didn’t tackle a Pirate – he tackled teammate Alex McAlister after McAlister recovered a fumble and headed needlessly to the end zone. Ah, nice job, Jarrad. Heads up play. A far, far better instance of Gator on Gator than this infamous moment from 2013 against Georgia Southern: [youtube] Super Dumb The Giants had it locked up Sunday night against Cowboys. It could have been a game that threw Dallas into disarray already – a tough opening week loss, compounded by losing star WR Dez Bryant to a broken foot for at least five weeks. Instead, the Giants inexplicably gave the Cowboys a last gasp by passing, rather than running, when the game clock was winding down. Think the New York media was pissed about it? Check out this game story from the Daily News: Questionable Call Costs Giants. Coach Tom Coughlin took the blame, as he should have. It’s a comfort, actually, to know that multiple-Super Bowl winners like Coughlin and Eli Manning can suffer this kind of serious brain cramp. It puts our own fallibility into perspective. We’re sure Giants fans can appreciate that big-picture outlook. Right? Yeah. Sure they can. Chelsea's Not-So-Special One  During the 2014-15 Premier League season, Chelsea was as dominant as a club could be. It won the league by a whopping eight points (87 points to 79 for second place Manchester City), it won the League Cup domestic tournament, and it lost three games in league play ALL SEASON. With the “Special One,” Jose Mourinho, back in the manager’s chair, a long stretch of prominence among Europe’s soccer elite seemed inevitable. Nope. After a 3-1 loss to Everton Saturday, Chelsea finds itself in 17th place out of 20 teams. It was Mourinho’s third league loss in five games already. So far this season, Mourinho has complained about his own team physician taking too long to treat an injured player during a game and has cursed out Everton manager Roberto Martinez when Martinez had the audacity to speak first to members of the media after Saturday’s game. This is glorious for Chelsea haters all over England and the world. Watching the Special One implode is an unusual experience, and the schadenfreude is thick in the air in London these days. Want an American equivalent? It would be like if defending national champion Ohio State had lost a squeaker at Virginia Tech, then got blown out at home against Hawaii this season. Chelsea’s struggles are a wonderful life lesson. Take nothing for granted, even if you have a Russian billionaire bankrolling your season. Oh, and it gets no easier for Mourinho’s lads this week. After a Champions League match against Maccabi Tel-Aviv Wednesday, they face title contenders Arsenal Saturday in what will surely be a scintillating London derby match. Brace yourself. The Special One is slipping. Uncle The biggest winners of the football weekend were, without a doubt, the competing one-week fantasy sports services Draft Kings and Fan Duel. We sincerely hope you didn’t give in to temptation and play the latest drinking game – slam your beer/beverage of choice throughout the duration of every Draft Kings or Fan Duel commercial. If you did, we don’t envy you the headache you woke up with this morning. Remember: Friends don’t let friends play drinking games tied to the hundreds and hundreds of Fan Duel and Draft Kings ads.