Four Teams Left. Four Different Approaches to the Anthem Protests.
The four N.F.L. teams still playing football this weekend have much in common: high-scoring offenses, stout defenses and fans hungering for a championship.
What separates them, other than the New England Patriots’ five Super Bowl titles to the others’ none, is how they reacted to President Trump’s attack on the N.F.L. for allowing players to protest during the national anthem. That story eclipsed nearly everything else that happened on the field this season.
The responses of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Minnesota Vikings and the Patriots ran the gamut, from players locking arms with owners to players taking a knee or raising a fist. Plenty of players stood at attention as if this season were like any other, rather than a turning point for athlete activism in the 21st century. What they will do Sunday in the conference championship games, playing under a brighter spotlight, remains anyone’s guess, though the protests largely fizzled as the season wore on.