Gators fans: Don’t root for the Patriots

Alligator File Photo The Swamp is dry. The Gators are hibernating. But that doesn’t mean Florida football fans can relax.

With the Super Bowl six days away, Gator fans have a stake this year:

The Orange and Blue faithful have an obligation to root for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

I realize the link between UF and Atlanta seems tenuous to some, but there are four reasons — some fact-based, some feeling-based — why it’s in Gators fans’ best interest to have the Dirty Birds topple the Patriots.

Reason No. 1: Two former Gators are having huge rookie seasons for the Falcons.

Defensive backs Keanu Neal and Brian Poole went from playing the 2016 SEC Championship in the Georgia Dome to playing the NFC Championship Game in the same building a year later.

Neal, a first-round pick, has upped the stock of Gators DBs in his first NFL season with 106 tackles and five forced fumbles.

Poole, meanwhile, has proven the depth of Florida’s defense. Despite going undrafted, Poole has already become a bona fide starter with 59 tackles and an interception for the Falcons.

If you’re wondering how the Falcons managed to nab two of the most productive rookies of the season, the next reason should clear up your questions.

Reason No. 2: Falcons head coach Dan Quinn used to run the Gators’ defense.

Quinn was UF’s defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 before leaving to win a Super Bowl as the Seattle Seahawks’ DC in 2013.

“My wife Stacey and I loved our time in Gainesville,” Quinn said in a release when he left UF. “We look forward to keeping track of the Gators in the future.”

Thanks, Dan. Florida fans will be keeping track of you, too. Reason No. 3: The Patriots are evil.There are a lot of angles to tackle this from, so I’m going to make a comparison that ought to resonate with Gators fans.Florida fans like rooting for the underdog, but even more fun is rooting against the favorite.No one likes the football team with the menacing, Frank Underwood-esque football coach. The one who never smiles and who strikes fear into players and reporters with a glance. Even worse is that that coach is actually most effective, so he constantly has the best players lining up like suitors to play for him. Even worse still is that since that team constantly wins championship after championship, its fans are insufferably arrogant. I’m talking, of course, about the Alabama Crimson Tide, or am I talking about the Patriots? Because both of these teams should sound alarm bells for football fans who are tired of the top of the pile punching down. Reason No. 4: If there’s one thing Florida fans can agree on, it’s that they don’t want Florida State to succeed. Nothing lifts up one group like putting down another.But while tribalism outside of sports can be crude, crass and cruel, you’re encouraged to express your ugliest instincts and insults on the gridiron.So don’t hold back.The Patriots have one former Seminole and no former […]