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Rams Cardinals Football

Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, before their teams' game on Dec. 23. Kroenke moved the Rams from St. Louis to LA after the 2015 season. Bidwill's father, Bill, moved the Cardinals to Arizona after the 1987 season. (AP Photo)

Like so many in St. Louis, Tipsheet has been doing its best to ignore the looming Super Bowl pitting the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots.

Our divorce from the Rams was a bad one, even if we saw it coming for a while. The things that were said, the words that owner Stan Kroenke and his people put down in documents . . . things got really ugly.

And with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and their Patriots on the other side, there is nothing to like in this game, as our colleague BenFred pointed out so eloquently earlier in the week. Other than people from New England, who can cheer for the Evil Empire?

So when we come across some particularly negative prose about Kroenke or the Patriots, it's hard not to dive in and enjoy. The provocateurs at Deadspin posted a number of entertaining items this week.

Here are two samples, the first of which needed some paraphrasing due to multiple profanities. Here is part of Patrick Redford's rip job:

Most vultures like Kroenke at least have the good sense to pretend to care about civic will and the mood of their fan base, but to him, the team was just another asset in his portfolio. If there’s any silver lining to Kroenke’s ruthless maneuvering to (cheat) St. Louis, it’s that he so transparently showed how the NFL’s only priority is to make a (lot) of money. The (man) with wombat hair at least understood that he was supposed to play the victim, even after lying to Rams fans about the possibility of staying.

St. Louis-based Rams fans loathe Kroenke, naturally, and judging by a series of stories checking in on them before the Super Bowl, they all feel either resigned or enraged that they don’t get to enjoy what should be their city’s Super Bowl berth. Kroenke faces four lawsuits relating to the team’s move. Andy Cohen even called him out for being a jackass.

Kroenke isn’t just despised in America. The raccoon-hair-haver recently became the sole controlling owner of Arsenal, buying out fellow billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s shares to own 98.82 percent of the team. His ownership stake now gives him the right to buy out all of Arsenal’s citizen shareholders. Fans hate him for killing the community spirit of the team and treating it like nothing more than a business, which English fans have the good sense to loathe. The team has deteriorated under his leadership, and he’s already tried to siphon off £6 million of the team’s money for himself.

The unfortunate reality of this year’s Super Bowl is that either Bill Belichick or Stan Kroenke is going to raise a trophy and make a speech about willpower or some (B.S.). However, one of them has to lose.

Yes, well, there is that. This prompted veteran Bay Area scribe Ray Ratto to wonder if the Patriots were really the bad guys.

In part, he wrote:

Are they really more detestable than the Los Angeles Rams, who fled St. Louis on a train whose tracks were lined with middle fingers so they could help recolonize a city that hates local professional football? Or the game officials who cannot see cynical rules violations play out in real time before their faces because the game is too fast and the players have been taught that the risk of getting caught is way less than the reward for having cheated? Or the competition committee, which has built through its laziness a rulebook thicker than a rhinoceros frittata and about as digestible? Or Roger Goodell, the front man for a football company that can no longer present football? Or his 32 bosses, for whom he takes the bullets because they know we in the journalism dodge are too lazy to name them all every time the league does something stupid or vile? Or the Super Bowl itself, which is nothing more than an annually perpetrated trade show with an occasionally amusing football game tacked onto the end of it?

The Patriots? They’re now merely the most familiar part of the ensemble, playing the main character in a show on which supporting actors have the more interesting roles. More to the point, they are the one unchanging character in a show that struggles desperately to be different every time—kind of like the Oscars, only with the same movies every year. The Patriots are designated as evil because they used to be evil, and you decided they should always be evil when what they should be faulted for is persistently being, well, “there.”

Sort of like Maroon 5, for those of you who think the Super Bowl halftime is a cultural metaphor rather than a 25-minute beer-and-bathroom break.

You say you hate Belichick, but all he’s really done is play the same aggressively under-engaging character he always has—the next-door neighbor who rarely leaves the house and never says hello when he does. You say you hate Tom Brady when in fact he’s shown more personality, both slickly and prickly, than any other Patriot-related figure since Will McDonough. You say you hate Bob Kraft when his practiced unctuousness is no more convincing than it has ever been. You say you hate Patriot fans when most of us never really have to deal with Patriot fans; they stay in the upper right-hand corner of the nation, occasionally yelling incomprehensibly at the outworlders but otherwise congratulating each other for cleverly choosing to live during a time when they could be profanely smug about their new favorite sports team.

So what time is the Puppy Bowl?

LET'S MOCK ROGER GOODELL

And here are a couple of items regarding our favorite commissioner:

Bryan Curtis, The Ringer: "There are plenty of things to dislike about Roger Goodell. But what stands out most is his baffling refusal to pick up his trident and take a firm stand on anything. Citing an article published today, the AP’s Barry Wilner noted the league’s paucity of minority offensive coordinators and QB coaches—which are now the gateway jobs to becoming a head coach. Who’s not for more minority offensive coaches? Goodell seems to be for it, but he has a way of hiding a moral crusade under a load of bureaucratese. He defended the Rooney Rule and cited some forthcoming discussions. This is another Goodell distraction technique. When confronted with a thorny issue, Goodell says he is studying it. The future of linebacker Reuben Foster, who was charged with domestic violence but then saw the charge dropped? The league is investigating. Ex-Chief Kareem Hunt? Ditto. A possible comeback for wide receiver Josh Gordon? The league will 'evaluate that at the right time.' The right time is never during the annual commissioner’s press conference."

Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports: "The New Orleans Saints versus the NFL commissioner may have waded into more personal waters. That is, if you believe a T-shirt conspiracy that seems to have convincing evidence. In what would unquestionably be a direct shot at Roger Goodell in the fallout of the non-call that may have cost New Orleans a Super Bowl berth, Saints head coach Sean Payton appeared to deliver his season-ending news conference on Wednesday wearing a concealed Barstool Sports T-shirt featuring the commissioner with a clown nose. At least, that’s what a growing segment of internet sleuths believes, many of whom spotted the shirt under a partially zipped pullover that Payton wore during the presser. Payton’s zipper was pulled down just enough to reveal the top portion of an image on his T-shirt, which bore a striking resemblance to Barstool’s infamous Goodell 'clown' image. The same shirt that was previously donned by former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in 2015 following a four-game suspension of Tom Brady for his role in deflate-gate."

MEGAPHONE

"I think everyone has to stop being divas. I think we need to stop being the Kardashians and just play ball."

• Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster, at the Pro Bowl, on the state of his franchise.


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Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.