In case you had forgotten the reason why the NFL so dearly wanted the Cowboys in the Super Bowl with the Patriots, a reminder has come in the form of a new Public Policy Poll.
According to Pro Football Talk via Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, the poll of 378 respondents named the New England Patriots as the most hated team in the NFL, with 21 percent of the hate vote among fans. Following not too far behind, the Dallas Cowboys came in with 19 percent.
Other particulars of the poll, according to Pro Football Talk, “…42 percent who have negative feelings about the Patriots. Only 19 percent feel negatively about the Falcons, who will represent the NFC in Super Bowl LI.
“Not surprisingly, then, 53 percent of those polled support the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Only 27 percent want the Patriots to win.
“New Englanders who may be chagrined by the results of the poll should take some comfort in the reality that 42 percent disapprove of the job Commissioner Roger Goodell is doing, and that 37 percent view him negatively — more than the 34 percent who have a negative view of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.”
What’s kind of funny about the results of this poll is that this year the Cowboys put together their most likeable football team in recent memory, yet somehow linger only two points behind the Patriots as the second most hated team.
The hate for the Patriots is easier to understand, with two of the largest cheating scandals in recent NFL history, a coach who never smiles, and a quarterback who smiles too much because all he does is beat your team while married to a Brazilian underwear model.
These things are easy to understand.
Hate, though, like every other human emotion tends to fade with time and contrary evidence. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl for the fifth time this year, will the evidence of greatness over the course of the last fifteen years reach a point where the hate starts to fade into a general acceptance of the Patriots prowess?
One thing is for sure, according to fans had the Cowboys made it to the big game with the Pats it would have thrown a lot of gasoline on that fire.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn