LOVE TO HATE

Del Olaleye: Sports hate is healthy, so (bleep) Tom Brady and the Patriots

It's easy to hate Tom Brady. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

F--- Tom Brady might be the most used phrase across Philadelphia the next two weeks. With the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Philly fan will be at full tilt as their city becomes one of the epicenters of the football world.Their what I like to call “sports hate” for Tom Brady stems from a past on-field result and a possible future result. He was the QB of the 2004 Patriots. The same Patriots who beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. He just so happens to be standing in their way again as the Eagles attempt to become Super Bowl champions for the first time. That is entry-level sports hate. Player A has a chance to ruin your season. They hate him because they should.

My sports hate for Tom Brady is at an elite level. I don’t think I’ve rooted against one player longer than I have Brady. As a Dolphins fan, Brady’s career includes countless victories against my favorite team. Not really countless. There is a record of it somewhere. I just refuse to look it up. The victories number so many that he has helped turned the Dolphins into merely a road bump he has to run over twice a season as opposed to a legitimate threat. The Dolphins have done enough to crater their own chances that I don’t really hate the Patriots anymore. They play a brand of football that is so far superior that I don’t even get mad when Miami loses. I’ve been in this stage of acceptance for about a decade. With that being said, I still root for Tom Brady to lose every time he touches the field. I told you I was at an elite level.

I know I’m not alone. There is at least one player, coach, referee or owner for everyone that no matter the situation, you hope they die a slow and painful sports death. I proposed this topic on the Raheel and Del show in mid-December and phone calls flooded the show. From Bud Adams to Matt Schaub to Nick Saban to Drayton McClane, everybody had someone they wanted to fail miserably. You continue to root for their failure long after the adverse effects on your team that they’re responsible for have worn off.

College football is the perfect place to cultivate your sports hate. Your school has the same opponents every year. Sometimes those opponents are in your home state. Opposing coaches, players and fans say things to hype up their squad by denigrating you and yours. I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. So were several of my cousins. Our family football allegiances are divided amongst the big 3 schools in the state. Florida, Florida State and Miami. I have family who love Florida State and Florida. I will never root for the Seminoles or the Gators. I hope they lose every time they touch the field, court or pool. When people tell me they root for FSU or Florida I immediately begin to have thoughts about them as human beings. I can tell you those thoughts aren’t complimentary. Watching FSU catch an L on a Friday night in October at Boston College was better than watching Miami beat UNC the next day.

Like I said, I’m elite.

Spending a perfectly good 2.5 to 4 hours watching a sporting event you have no emotional connection to just to root for the downfall of a person you don’t know means your sports hate has reached Super Saiyian. Embrace that. When your teams are mediocre or flat out terrible you need something to give your sports life meaning. No better way to find meaning for an otherwise empty sports existence than to revel in another’s misery.

The Patriots have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl. Nobody needs that. I’ve got no connection to the Eagles besides Eagles Fan Holly but I know who I’ll be rooting against in Super Bowl LII.

F--- Tom Brady? You're damn right, F--- Tom Brady.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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