I have been hibernating since the SB. Not in denial, not in anger and not in dismay, although I experienced all three soon afterwards. But it has taken me over a week to realize that I have become disaffected with football. I have been a fan of the Patriotâs since 1983, and have trodden the hard road of defeat too often in the past to recognize that this time it is something different. So here then are what I have determined to be the four layers of disaffection on what should have been a season to end all seasons. Number 1 of course is Spygate. But what made this much much worse than it ever needed to be was the levels of hypocrisy, calumny and dishonesty amongst all involved with the NFL including the media. The NFL did not show and seems to have no intention to ever clarify the video crime, as a Pats fan I can only surmise that it is against the rules to video the field (including opposing teamâs coaches) from the sidelines. But no clarification came. Nor did they clarify that stealing signals is acceptable, as was proven in the Patriots âMiami game in the previous season. Instead the NFL was content that spygate was a miasma of popular opinion heated and prodded by the mouths of the media. Only a few (Jimmy Johnston) stood up and stated what all the media had to know already but chose to ignore â that the Patriots were never alone in the practice. As a result even the most respectable of publications now uses the term cheaters when describing the Patriots, while the other 31 teams are blameless. Number 2 is the level of hate leveled against the Patriots by fans of other teams and more disgustingly some journalists (members of the media who should know the reality of signal stealing). All through the season I listened to those advocating âembracing the hateâ, and it never felt comfortable. Sport isnât about hate, itâs about competition, itâs about raising humankind to greater levels of athleticism and achievement. Hate is the very opposite of the ideals of sport. It lowers the human condition, it closes the mind and weakens the spirit. Many times through the season I heard grown men encourage the breaking of legs and kneecaps (yet again including several media personalities). Yes football is a physical game but it should never be uncivilized and should never encourage the willful destruction of players and careers. I recognize that the internet has facilitated the ease with which people can insult and denigrate each other, as well as providing long lasting platforms for vitriol and ill-thought opinion. The Patsfans message board seemed to understand that better than most and tolerated many of the trolls, while excluding the worst from our eyes. I enjoy talking and discussing things with rival fans, but hate excludes empathy and rationalization. Embracing hate only fuels negative passions. Number 3 is the postseason character assassination of the coach and members of the team. The regular season was majestic, 16-0 the best feeling in the world. The team prevailed against the tough games and came out shining. And then came the dirt! Randy Moss was the first target, and what should have been largely ignored by the media became a crusade for the anti-Pats cheerleaders. The evidence was flimsy beyond belief. Even when the player faced the press without a prepared statement, encouraged by two lawyers of the highest standing, he was not believed and the three ring circus ran for two weeks. And I have every reason to believe that it affected Moss; 2 catches in 2 games had more to do with the court action than the actions of the Jags and Bolts. But it didnât end then either, because 2 days before the SB we had Specter and Walsh. A threat of congressional hearings and examination by the government filled our screens (on what basis I still cannot determine because it is neither a federal or state crime to steal signals). Not a word from the rest of Congress on this one thoughâŚ..yet the threat promised to open up the past on the Patriots previous Superbowl triumphs. All this without a scrap of evidenceand the fact that the Spygate misdemeanor covered a rule that was introduced in2006. As I was sitting through all this it occurred to me that I was watching an episode of the Sopranos or any one of the 3 Godfather films. After all what does the Don do when he wants something from someone (and it usually doesnât matter whether they are family or not)? He threatens them with the loss of something. It was almost as if the NFL was telling the Patriots not to win the SB. I must apologize for this speculative comment, but it does give a sense of the feelings of a fan of the coerced. Number 4 is the post SB reaction. I can understand that majority of fans of all other teams did not want the Patriots to win (I wanted the Bears last year after all). And I can also understand the loss of attention once thePats failed to win. But to hear fans booing the Patriot representatives at the Pro-Bowl says that sportsmanship is no longer a characteristic of the game. This was meant to be the reward for an unprecedented season (and it still is unprecedented), instead they were reviled like BB, like Moss like the franchise. Somehow the lionization of Eli amplifies the situation. But then again images of the mob and their promotion of the family reminded me of how the NFL treats the Mannings, but praising mediocrity while condemning excellence just eludes my comprehension. I cant even find words to describe Mercury Morris and Shula (sportmen is not one that comes to mind). I am not sure if I can be as ardent a fan as before. This season has been tainted, not be cheating, but by the irrational, unsportsmanlike actions of football barbarians (and yes they include many of the sport journalists and celebrities). Finally I do think that the Giants deserved to win and should be praised for an incredible effort. I also think that Patriots should also be praised for making it one of the more memorable games in my lifetime (especially thanks to Welker who tied a SB record in his 1st appearance, and TFB for taking the punishment like a man, still leading a drive in the 4th quarter and most of all for not throwing his O'line under the bus!). I hope that the hate will go away so that I can enjoy future seasons, but somehow I doubt it.