The New England Patriots are one of the most successful franchises in all of professional sports. They’ve amassed multiple championships and have earned a reputation as being one of the premier franchises in the NFL. But they’ve also had some controversies that would compel some to disregard these achievements. Rather than see them as being successful, the Pats must always bear the scrutiny of being suspected of cheating. Fumble? Cheating. Injured player on the opposing team? Cheating. They won the game? Definitely cheating. At one point, you have to just sit back and let the barrages come as they may. It certainly hasn’t seemed to bother New England.
Conspiracy theories are all over the internet. You can find them anywhere on almost anything from politics to celebrities and sports. Whatever circumstance, facts and evidence that’s available has an equal amount of scrutiny spread by those more than willing to play the contrarian. As a polarizing sports franchise, the Pats have their fair share of conspiracy theories out there. You might know a few of these, and some might very well surprise you based on how ridiculous they are, but the real surprise is that there are enough to make an entire damn list out of. These are 15 New England Patriots conspiracy theories people actually believe.
15 LeGarette Blount Orchestrated his Release from the Steelers
He’s currently a free agent, But LeGarette Blount has had some of his most successful seasons as a pro while a member of the New England Patriots. His future with the team remains cloudy but as the team has given him a last second free agent tender, there’s a good chance he ends up back in Foxborough this season. Most might not remember Blount’s short lived stint with the Steelers. Some strange rumor did manage to circulate around the time he was let go from the team. The rumor goes like this, Blount – who had a history of attitude problems, and who was essentially released by the Steelers because of them – actually orchestrated his release. He intentionally made himself a problem for management because, apparently, the Pats had let him know that they’d keep a roster spot open for him anytime. Of course this would be tampering if true. But nothing concrete’s ever come out.
14 Super Bowl LI was Rigged
It’s one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history along with the most improbable come from behind victory in NFL playoff history. How the Atlanta Falcons blew such a huge lead going into halftime, we’ll never know. But it was a memorable victory nonetheless. That hasn’t stopped people from spewing out conspiracy theories left and right though. It’s not one solid theory either. There are a number of different theories as to why the Pats were able to shift the balance so quickly. One has to do with POTUS Donald Trump helping them rig the game. The other’s point out animations signaling that the Pats won the Super Bowl even before they did – though that can all be taken whichever way you like without context.
13 The Colts Framed the Pats for Deflategate
The Deflategate scandal has run its course. In fact, you could say that it ran its course a while ago, but it seems as though people love to beat a dead horse. There’s no questioning that the entire event would just be best left behind and the rest of the league and its fan base move forward. One of the more widespread conspiracy theories from Pats fans is that the Colts framed the Pats. The actual deflating occurred after a D’Qwell Jackson interception, when he gave a Colts locker room attendant the ball who then proceeded to deflate it. In a case like this, there’s going to a lot of here say and very little to back it up. It’s better to just put it all behind.
12 Ed Hochuli’s Patriot Bias?
Ed Huchuli is known by NFL fans of all kinds, not necessarily for his ability as a referee, but for his hulking physique. It’s gotten him a reputation around the league. But he’s also earned a reputation among Patriots fans for refereeing some of their worst losses. The issue came up last January in the buildup to the AFC Championship game versus the Broncos. The Broncos were undefeated in games that Hochuli oversaw while the Pats were 3-4. He’d also made some pretty harsh calls during those games, much to the disdain of Pats fans. Whether the conspiracy theory held water or not, the Pats lost to the Broncos that weekend 20-18. So in the end, who’s fault was it really?
11 Who Stole Brady’s Jersey?
The mystery of who stole Tom Brady’s jersey after Super Bowl LI was a fitting end to a whacky game that itself would attract a ton of controversy and criticism by the time it was all over. While it’s all been resolved, there were some pretty interesting theories floating around there. Everyone was a suspect, from outsiders to teammates themselves. Everyone wanted a little bit of Tommy T for themselves. One theory had Julian Edleman taking the jersey as a souvenir. Another involved Roger Goodell taking it in an act of petty vengeance. The most out there one had Mike Pence stealing it as a gift for Donald Trump. Either way, these are all pretty out there.
10 Why Lynch Didn’t get the Ball
One of the most frustrating and confounding play calls in league history, the controversial decision not to give Marshawn Lynch the football at the one yard line with the Super Bowl on the line is one that will forever haunt Seahawks fans memories. You won’t find many out there who defend the decision, and most think it was an incredibly stupid move – regardless of how predictable running it would’ve been. While most chalk this up to negligence in play calling, an interesting theory has been floating around the net. The theories mainly revolve around the Hawks and the NFL not wanting to give Lynch the glory, and therefore putting the Pats in a more favourable position.
9 The AJ Derby Trade
Most of you haven’t heard the name AJ Derby, and for good reason. He isn’t exactly a star in the league. Late round draft picks often don’t achieve that kind of celebrity, especially early on in their careers. Derby was selected in the sixth round selection in 2015 and struggled to get playing time behind Rob Gronkowski. Last season, the Pats moved him to the Broncos for a fifth round pick. Nothing weird there, right? Well that’s where you’re wrong according to some conspiracy theorists. The buzz surrounding the trade was that the Pats moved Derby to Denver in order to spy on the Broncos. Ridiculous as it sounds, some people believe this stuff. We’re sure Derby is more concerned with making the team than reporting back to his old boss.
8 Bill Belichick’s Coaching Tree is Made up of Double Agents
If you look hard enough you can find a ton of crazy conspiracy theories online. Some are pretty farfetched while others are really entertaining and seem like whoever came up with them put in a good deal of work. One of the more interesting one’s is about Bill Belichick’s coaching tree. Belichick has been in the league for a long time and because of that, has had a number of assistants and fellow coaches go their own way. Needless to say, most have not had the same success as he has but was that all by design? Do Belichick disciples go on to other teams, not to start their own career but to sabotage them? According to one online theory, that’s the case. It’s kind of a hilarious way to excuse failure for otherwise unsuccessful coaches.
7 The NFL Destroyed Evidence from "Spygate"
Among the many controversies the Pats have been involved in is the infamous Spygate scandal that saw their credibility crushed and really gave birth to the seeds of suspicion that plague them to this day. While it might seem tough to swallow now that the NFL seems to be hell-bent on kicking the Pats off their pedestal, there’s a theory out there that the NFL actually tried to help the Pats burry the whole scandal. Supposed tapes that would directly prove that the Pats recorded the Rams’ practices prior to their Super Bowl bout were never found, according to fans that’s because the league trashed them. While it would make sense for the league to want to keep this all on the down low, covering for New England to that extent seems unlikely.
6 Brady and Belichick Helped the CIA Uncover Russian Hackers
No other quarterback and head coach duo is as prominent and successful as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The two seem like some sort of superhuman duo that can do pretty much anything. What’s the reason for this dominance? Hard work? Talent? A partnership with the CIA perhaps? It’s a very long and somewhat thought out conspiracy, but everything from Brady being drafted where he was to Belichick getting the Pats head coaching gig was all set in motion by the CIA, with Bill Belichick serving as Tom Brady’s handler. All in an attempt at obscure international espionage. It’s a well thought out theory for sure. Pretty strange but well thought out and entertaining nonetheless.
5 They Gave the Steelers the Flu
While some of these conspiracy theories are pretty entertaining, others seem like they were crafted purely out of spite. It’s one thing to theorize like a madman about things that never happened, it’s another to be a douche about your team losing. One of the most ridiculous and otherwise unfathomable of these, is the theory that the Pats gave the Steelers the Flu prior to their AFC championship bout last season. The Steelers had a reported 15 players contract the Flu last January, and while most would look to bad timing – some Steelers fans weren’t so sure. So they theorized that New England somehow got themselves a controlled concentration of flu and proceeded to spread it in the Steelers locker room. Ridiculous, right?
4 The Tuck Rule
Before they were a dynasty, before the championships and the accolades, the Pats were just another NFL franchise chasing their first Super Bowl. That all came to pass after Tom Brady came out of nowhere and led the team to an improbable Super Bowl victory. But that victory was propelled off another improbable win. The infamous Tuck Rule game helped the Pats become one of the most successful and scrutinized franchises in sports. While the rule itself is perfectly legit, it’s still a tough pill for Raiders fans to swallow and has led to some distain. Former Raiders lineman Lincoln Kennedy is still a firm believer in the rule being invoked in order to help the Patriots win, rather than have Oakland move on to the Championship game. It’s unlikely but a fun theory to build upon.
3 The 9/11 Super Bowl Conspiracy
The 9/11 attacks were a terrible instance of terrorism on Western society that still echoes in peoples minds today. While 9/11 has its own share of conspiracies tied to it, the Pats seem to have a something of a deep connection to the aftermath of the attacks according to theorists online. The theory – while somewhat lengthy – is basically this, New England won the Super Bowl, not due to hard work and effort but instead as a symbolic victory for America to rally around. After all, the Pats are supposed to be the embodiment of Patriotism. Like other 9/11 conspiracies, most of the logic is half baked and relies way too much on coincidences and forced logic. But it’s a weirdly entertaining theory to say the least.
2 Hacking the Presidential Election
This past Presidential Election was one of the most contested, hectic and ultimately divisive in American history. As some sports fans might know, some very prominent New England Patriots, including Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft are friends of POTUS Donlad Trump. So naturally, they were asked about their thoughts on Trump’s campaign throughout the entire election process. While they mostly kept it about football, none were secretive about their friendship with the Republican candidate. It angered some, but most decided to focus on football. But after Trump’s victory, whispers of New England’s role in the election hovered online. Most of the chatter involved New England hacking the election in Trump’s favor. How they’d do that is a mystery. But it’s funny enough to warrant a laugh.
1 They Used Drones to Spy on the Falcons
As previously discussed, this past Super Bowl was both one of the greatest sports comebacks ever along with football’s greatest chokejob. Many will wonder about how the Falcons defense blew such a big lead while their offense was rendered ineffective after two quarters of great play. One thing that looms over the situation though is the suspicion of drone use by the Pats. The team already has a history of recording practices, and that’s a stain they’ll never be able to completely hide. While practicing, a drone was spotted filming the Falcons. Officially, the Pats had nothing to do with it. But that hasn’t stopped theorists from casting suspicion on New England. Especially after the nearly perfect second half they played.