Lane Johnson vs. The Pats Is A Stupid Feud, But Exactly What The NFL Needs

With the NFL entering their offseason, it looks like they may follow in the awesome footsteps of the NBA and drum up some controversy to keep people discussing the game.

In terms of popularity and in ratings, the NBA is rapidly approaching the NFL as the country’s hottest sport.  One of the keys to the recent resurgence of the NBA was an exciting offseason, which was filled with big moves and some ridiculous feuds and stories that kept the league in the spotlight during the summer months.

KD had a burner account; Steph Curry threw shade at LeBron for dancing in the weight room; Rudy Gobert filmed himself listening to “Loyal” by Chris Brown right after his ex-teammate Gordon Hayward left in free agency; KD and Russell Westbrook kept bringing up cupcakes; Joel Embiid roasted everyone on social media – the list goes on and on.

And those feuds have continued during the regular season, especially surrounding the dysfunction in Cleveland and various players seemingly hating playing with LeBron.  You’ve got former Celtics’ point guards arguing with each other; drama over a tribute video that has yet to be played; and a contender trading their entire roster.

With the NBA and NHL entering the home stretch towards the playoffs, and MLB starting Spring Training (after the most BORING offseason known to man), the NFL needs something or someone to stay relevant between now and at least the NFL Combine and Draft.

Enter Lane Johnson vs. the New England Patriots.

In case you missed it, Johnson has been feuding with the most hated organization in the NFL for a few weeks.  The Philadelphia Eagles OT started right after his team won the NFC title by calling Tom Brady a pretty boy – which us Pats haters loved hearing – and has continued his crusade against the Pats after Philly’s epic Super Bowl victory with his two appearances on the Barstool Sports’ podcast Pardon My Take.

Johnson said the Pats are a fear-based organization, that players seem robotic, and that he’d rather win one title having fun than win five Super Bowls being miserable.  Former Patriot and current ESPN personality Tedy Bruschi took offense and made some pointed comments, stating that the Eagles have no clue how to sustain their success and that the Pats had plenty of fun while he was with the team.

Johnson defended his beliefs on Friday by saying he thinks there is more than one way to succeed in football and the Patriot Way isn’t the only guidelines to win titles.  He also said he’s received a ton of hate mail from Pats fans and that he is looking forward to reading all of it.

That last line will entice Pats fans, who will continue to lambast Johnson’s social media accounts with harassment and hate mail.  And there will likely be some sort of response from any of the former Pats players who are employed by media outlets, both local and national.

This is exactly what the NFL needs right now.  They just had some ridiculous drama in the Super Bowl – are we ever going to find out why Malcolm Butler didn’t play? – followed by a swerve that you’d see in reality shows and not in real life – does Josh McDaniels actually get credited with being the Colts coach for a few hours or not? – and now we have a silly feud that will likely carry on for a while thanks to who it refers to.

Fans of the Patriots are an odd bunch.  They root for the most successful organization in recent history, and seem to get personally offended any time someone says one thing against their team.  They haven’t embraced or even realized the fact that success breeds jealousy and hate from other fans, and their outlandish responses to opposing opinions rapidly adds to other fans’ detest for them and their team.

Trust me on those last couple sentences.  I live in New England, I’ve worked in a sporting goods store for a looooooong time, and I don’t like the Patriots.  Dealing with this fan base will change your attitude from “oh I’d rather see someone else win but if the Pats win it’s fine” to “screw the Pats I’m going to root for every team they play” real quick.

But I don’t really blame the fans (that much) for this feud continuing.  I’d love to know why Tedy Bruschi took offense to anything Lane Johnson said.  Did ESPN and/or the NFL orchestrate this whole thing?

Why else would a former player add to this nonsense?  Are we really getting pissed off about comments on a comedic podcast from Barstool?  I mean they had him on because he speaks his mind and he has a sense of humor.  The Eagles had fun all season long – and had some tremendous touchdown celebrations – but were clearly prepared and played the game of their lives to win the Super Bowl.  So why criticize them?

There is more than one way to win titles.  The Pats do it their way, and the Eagles excelled by being loose and having fun but still being serious and calculated when they needed a big play.  We won’t know for a few years whether the Eagles are able to string together more success or whether they were a one-hit wonder.

There’s a bunch of comments saying this guy has never won anything and the Eagles will never win again so they should stop talking about the Pats.  We don’t know that for a fact.  Philly’s roster is pretty stacked and they won with a backup QB.  If Carson Wentz comes back and plays at anywhere close to the level he did before he tore his ACL then the Eagles will be the favorite next season.

It’s almost like the fan base in New England is afraid someone else is going to take over as the dominant team in the NFL.  So maybe Lane Johnson was right about New England being a “fear-based organization”.

Either way, the NFL needs this feud to have more life in it.  They need players to start popping off on Twitter and social media.  And maybe they need another coach and/or player to just up and leave five minutes after committing to a new team.

To stay relevant in the offseason, the NFL needs to be more like the NBA and do the complete opposite of the MLB – which shouldn’t be hard.  As long as they don’t totally hibernate for six months they’ll have a more productive offseason than baseball just had.

Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)

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