The New England Patriots, heavily favored to win the AFC playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, are not strangers to controversy. Deflategate comes to mind. However, as Newsweek points out, electoral politics has intruded on football. It seems that quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are Donald Trump supporters and this fact is giving New England fans a dose of heartburn as the run-up to the Super Bowl continues.

Anyone who can read a map will note that the New England states are some of the deepest blue in the country, where support for Hillary Clinton was the most pronounced.

However, the friendship that Brady and Belichick have with Trump predates the former mercurial businessman turned American president. Trump milked this fact for all that was worth during the campaign.

It is not as if Brady and Belichick were especially fervent in their support of Trump. Brady mentioned once over a year ago that he hoped that Trump might become president before quickly turning the conversation to football. Belichick penned a letter supporting Trump but then walked it back a little bit, downplaying the fact.

Indeed, politics has proven to be a minor but unwelcome distraction in the post-season. Trump was able to parlay his friendship with Brady, with whom he has played golf, and Belichick to some effect.

The two, on the other hand, would rather talk about football and the prospect of the Patriots going all the way to the Super Bowl.

The good news is that the intrusion of politics into football may have tempered the enthusiasm of some New England fans, but it has not eliminated it. The recent election may have been more polarizing in recent memory, but that is not going to cause the team’s fans to suddenly root for the Steelers out of spite.

Some things are more important than who sits in the Oval Office.

Outside of New England, though, the Patriots are pretty much the most hated team in professional football. The team has been too good at crushing the playoff hopes of other teams, rolling over them as they did the Houston Texans. No one is going to appreciate a football team unless one is part of its fan base that does that.

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