In case you missed it because you’re so engrossed in America’s last election like Roger Goodell says you are, Chris Chase of Fox Sports took the occasion of the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict’s ninth career fine for personal foul penalties to power rank all 32 NFL teams from most dirty to least.
Now, it would be logical to assume Cincinnati would win this title in a rout. After all, this is the team that bounced themselves out of the playoffs just last year with double personal fouls on the same play. First, Burfict delivered a Code Red on defenseless receiver Antonio Brown, then Pacman Jones got all handsy with Steelers’ assistant Joey Porter, who came on the field to check on Brown. And given the fact Burfict was suspended for the first three games of this season, you’d be smart to guess Cincy tops the list.
Smart, but wrong. That dishonor goes to … well, you know who it goes to.
1. New England Patriots
How do you define dirtiness? Is it the kind of late hits made famous by Vontaze Burfict (we’ll get to him in a minute) and headhunters such as (former Patriots) Rodney Harrison and Brandon Merriweather? Is it perennially being near the top of the league in various holding categories? Are you dirty if you whine to the refs like a Golden State Warrior? Or is it the Nixon-like shenanigans of Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, those videotaping, ball-deflating, John Le Carre wannabes? While the off-field stuff is what propelled the Pats to No. 1, the real answer is that it’s all of them, friends. It’s all of them.
Is it me, or is the national media just not trying any more? You take a perfectly valid argument like who the dirtiest team in the NFL is, and rather than research how many unnecessary roughness penalties Cincinnati (second on the list) commit compared to say, Pittsburgh (fifth), or consider how many times Seattle (third) has had players suspended for banned substances, you just go to your default setting.
The Patriots cheat. Spygate. Deflategate. Nixon. John Le Carre. (Note: John Le Carre? What the deuce?) Whining for calls. (Like Ben Roethlisberger didn’t bellyache last year, claiming the Patriots defensive line had no right to shift prior to the snap.) You go back a decade to find a couple of safeties who drew roughness flags. (What? Was Chase too lazy to look into whether Gino Cappelletti ever got extra-curricular when he was playing cornerback in 1960?)
But this is what it’s come to. If you’re making a list of anything negative about anything to do with pro football, you automatically put the Patriots at the top and fill in the details later. Every NFL argument now is like asking “Who’s the best Chicago Bull ever?” or “Which member of the Jackson 5 had the most talent.” Everything is a non-starter and everyone else is vying for second place.
So come on, Chris Chase’s of the world. Try harder. Put in the effort. Use your imagination a little. The week two Patriots get assaulted with intent to injure by the most notorious, recidivist punk in football is not the time to be calling them “dirty.”
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