First, credit where's credit's due: ESPN's Bill Simmons inspired this article by comparing the AFC Champion New England Patriots' behavior over the past two weeks to Ben Affleck during the first two acts of Gone Girl. Genius comparison. Spoiler alert!
Affleck didn't do it. But he acted so strangely, everyone thought he did.
And that's kinda sorta how the Pats have been acting. They've been accused of cheating (there's precedent) by the national media during the lead-up to the biggest game in professional sports and they haven't exactly helped themselves. They're accused of deflating footballs to make them easier to throw and catch and they've denied everything. That's always a recipe for disaster, especially in life, and extra-especially in movies (particularly Hitchcock movies). And we'll get to that...
But what else could they have done? Admitted something they didn't do? The truth is, the seeds of doubt have been planted even if a million New York Times articles are published exonerating Patriots coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, and anyone else on the team or staff. The haters will hate them no matter what. The court of public opinion swings the scales of justice to whichever side is most sensational and the media industrial complex follows suit.
So to keep things in perspective, and tone down the aura of finger-pointing and misinformation that has hounded the prologue to Super Bowl XLIX lo these many days, let's revisit some films that examine the guilty-before-proven-innocent mentality that muddles American due process (and makes for killer ratings). I'm not saying the Patriots didn't do it. I'm saying I don't know if they did and neither do you. Before we convict, maybe we should question the one-armed man. So let's not judge. Let's sing "Kumbaya."
These are the 2014 New England Patriots of movies: