When you enjoy as much success as the Patriots have over the past decade and a half, there are plenty of teams looking to know you off. Sometimes those teams can develop a healthy hatred, and the animosity that results makes for some interesting showdowns.
Over the years the Patriots have periodically enjoyed some great rivalries with a number of teams. The division foes like the Jets and Dolphins, especially the former, will always have a special place in this pantheon of hate. The Border War brought extra life to the natural New York/Boston rivalry and Spygate only served to fuel that fire even more.
Then there are teams like the Colts with Peyton Manning. During the beginning of New England's historic run, it always seemed to come down to the Patriots and Indianapolis and the winner usually wound up winning the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh was in a similar boat with countless playoff battles between the teams highlighted a contentious relationship between the clubs.
On Monday night the Baltimore Ravens come to town and Bill Belichick talked about how the Ravens are sort of like a division team because of the frequency in which the teams have faced each other over the years. That got us thinking about their place among the Patriots rivals and this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question of the week is: Has Baltimore emerged as the Patriots most-hated rival?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
Ever since John Harbaugh whined throughout his postgame press conference a couple of years ago following his team's playoff loss at Gillette Stadium the Ravens have taken a new spot on the Patriots hate list. He was outcoached under the bright lights of the playoffs and his response was to cry foul because he wasn't prepared for some trick plays the Patriots had in store.
To make matters worse, it was the Ravens who tipped off the Colts about the possibility that the Patriots were using underinflated footballs, leading to the interminable saga known as Deflategate. I would feel this way about Baltimore just for all of my time that was wasted over the next year and a half.
As if all of that weren't enough, add in detestable figures like Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and Bernard Pollard and those silly purple uniforms and the Ravens are truly worthy of our collective hatred. Right now, Baltimore is at the top of my list.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
I won't be losing any sleep over any bad stuff that happens to the Ravens but I can't put them in the category of the Jets when it comes to good old-fashioned hatred. Every year the guys in green love to crow about how the division is theirs and all the great moves they've made will give them a chance to dethrone the champs. Then the regular season starts, the Jets do Jets things and the Patriots dominate as usual.
There's just so much history to hate the Jets about. From the roots of New York and Boston to Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and The Border War to Eric Mangini, Mike Tannenbaum and Spygate, the Jets and Patriots have endured a lot of years hatred.
Some other teams might come and go on the rivalry meter but in terms of long-standing, sustained hatred, nobody tops the New York Jets.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.