By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
I want to use a different word than "disaster" or "sham" to describe the NFL's new list of the "greatest moments in NFL history", but we're a family website. The thing's a mess, and that's mainly because they put it to a fan vote.
When you do that, you're inevitably going to get the vast majority of the country neglecting the Patriots, and/or voting in favor of memorable moments that went against them. That should be understandable for all Patriots fans.
What can't possibly be understood about this list, though, is that it was flawed from the beginning. What they did was have each team submit a "moment" for an NFL 100 countdown to the greatest moment in history. So it's not really the greatest moments across the league.
The 16 moments moving on to the next round of fan voting for the "Greatest Moment in NFL History." Only eight will move on this week, so head to https://t.co/7lKIkPCYJT to vote for your favorite. #NFL100
It has a branding problem. Something like "32 Teams, 32 Moments" would have made more sense.
So it's clear how this fan voting process was going to go. The Patriots' selected moment - the comeback from 28-3 in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons - wasn't going to make the top-16 finalists. But obviously, David Tyree's helmet catch that sparked the Giants' destruction of the Patriots' perfect season is No. 2 right now - and to be fair that play does deserve to be among the greatest moments.
And let's be clear: many of these moments are deserving of recognition. The Patriots didn't have to be No. 1. The Immaculate Reception, The Catch, the Music City Miracle ... iconic moments. But omitting the Patriots' moment is disingenuous at best and at worst an integrity-killer.
The Philly Special checks in at No. 8 after the most recent round of voting. The Philly Special appears to be in the process of going down as one of the league' most overrated moments. The Eagles didn't invent the play, and the Patriots later came back to take the lead in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles won by eight, so they didn't even need the Philly Special in order to win. It's a memorable moment for sure, but more memorable than 28-3? A top-10 moment ever?
It's pretty simple. Fans outside of New England hate the Patriots, so they were going to lay waste to this abomination of a countdown. And to start with each team submitting one moment was a fallacious process in the first place. Guess they had to do it or else the list would have been littered with Patriots, Steelers, Giants, 49ers, and Cowboys moments.
But 28-3 - and, for that matter, Malcolm Butler's interception in Super Bowl XLIX - aren't part of the final countdown. And that's a shame.
This is what Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have done to this league. You have to do your best to minimize them or exclude them from the conversation because they've rendered most debates and discussions meaningless. They're the obvious No. 1 team/quarterback/coach of their era, and perhaps all-time. So you better cater to the fans that despise them and let them have their fun, or else the Patriots will ruin it for everyone except Patriots fans all over again.
Oh shut up haven't you guys won enough?! Sure. Obviously, six Lombardi Trophies will mean more to Patriots fan than any silly list ever will. But this whole thing quite clearly exposed the anti-Patriots bias that some have tried to describe as a myth over the years. Don't whine to Patriots fans about integrity after this, either. This list wholly lacks integrity.
The NFL 100 campaign has had some great programming, particularly the all-time team segments with Belichick, Cris Collinsworth, and Rich Eisen. But the "greatest moments" list has been ruined because they left it up to the fans. What a sham.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].