Thursday, February 7, 2008

OK, I'm ready to talk about it

I don’t expect you to understand.

A sports franchise can easily go an entire generation or longer without a championship. Plenty have. Boston franchises have been very successful lately, and with such a large and vocal following, the rest of the county has had to listen to New England fans tout the recent success – and bemoan the previous failings – of their teams for the better part of this decade. And hearing other people blowing their own horn for nearly ten years is really fucking annoying. I get this.

So I know that you don’t understand.

The New England Patriots got caught spying on opponents. They were accused of running up the score on opponents. Their quarterback is a GQ cover boy who dates super models and left another girlfriend pregnant. I get why people dislike this team. I get why people were rooting for the underdog Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

With a little perspective, however, you may look at things differently, if only slightly. For example, did you know that for decades the Patriots were the laughingstock of the AFL and then NFL? That the Jets and the Dolphins used to come into Fenway Park (where they once played) and then later the junk heap that was Schaffer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium and run up the score all over the hapless Patsies? Did you know that for decades, the joke ran that if a crime was committed in eastern Massachusetts, the first place the cops looked for suspects was the Patriots’ locker room? That their two prior Super Bowl appreances ended expectedly with them representing sacrificial lambs at the alters of the Mighty ’86 Bears and ’96 Brett Favre Coronation?

The Patriots were – in short – an embarrassment for many, many years. Then, in Super Bowl XXXVI, after the St. Louis Rams came out individually, shaking their butts and hollering to the crowd as their names were called, the announcer said: “The New England Patriots have requested that they be announced as a team. So, lady’s and gentlemen, the New England Patriots.” And nothing has been the same since.

I don’t expect everyone to suddenly turn around and join New England fans in weeping for history lost. I get why you don’t like the Patriots. But all things considered, this wasn’t so much the slaying of Goliath as the slaying of the Bad News Bears. The Patriots are not so much the Yankees as the Major League version of the Cleveland Indians. It’s just been spread out over a few years rather than one season.

So now this incarnation of the Patriots, which scored more points and broke two kinds of touchdown records, goes down as chokers rather than The Best Team Ever. They had a great year and blew it when it mattered. For the rest of the country, it’s an historic upset and reason to cheer. For Patriots fans, it kind of just feels like old times.


Kelly said...

Foxboro Stadium a 'junk heap''re WAY, WAY too nice. Metal bleachers belong at high school stadiums, not professional sports teams home stadiums.

Nathaniel said...

Are you high? The Pats have been to super bowls before the current run. All you Massholes want to play the victim. Look at the poor fans of say the Houston Oilers who team won two AFL championship and Zero trips to the Superbowl. Then, the ultimate insult their team moves on them and after that the team wins it all. Shut your mouth Boston fans and taking losing with class, oh wait you are incapable of doing that as your coach showed us.

Red said...

I'm glad you are coping Liz. It's hard for me to sympathize (being an SD sports fan), but I understand what you are saying.

Don't listen to Nathaniel. He's just a bitter old man...

Dave H said...

Sorry your team lost, but the rest of America's sports fans dodged a bullet.

Thanks Elisha!

Liz said...

Nathaniel, what I'm trying to do here is give this a sense of historical perspective, which many sports fans lack. I acknowledged that a lot of other teams have suffered way worse than the Pats,I'm just trying to point out that Patriots aren't exactly this ancient dynasty that's been a power in the league forever. I'm the first to admit a lot of Boston fans are whiny and obnoxious, I guess this was an attempt to explain why. Maybe I failed -- or maybe, like Lora said, you're just a bitter old man. Hope the tornadoes didn't get you.

Dave H said...

BTW, Bill Simmons Randy Moss jersey that he wore at the game is up on ebay for auction.

Figured someone here might want it, either for wearing or burning.

Dave H said...

Wow, a real discussion thread, I'm impressed.

If nobody else posts I'm just going to comment back and forth to myself until it hits 30.

Liz said...

Bill Simmons has actually been bugging me a bit lately. I don't agree with him as often as I used to. Not exactly sure why.

Dave H said...

Seems like he's kind of run out of material.

Aside from Boston sports, there are only so many Madden/Vegas analogies you can make...

Liz said...

haha, yup

Nathaniel said...

Ahh Liz exactly like a Boston fan more excuses about how "We are nobody and nothing good happens to us, poor us" Meanwhile 14 Southies will shank you cause they can't take a fair fight.

You stay classy Massholes.

Nathaniel said...

That stings

jbox said...

They were Goliath. The Bad News bears were likable and scrappy. The Cleavland Indians were funny and terrible. The Patriots were cocky and unbeaten. Their fans were the most annoying in the history of the universe.

This is a great moment for people who are so fed up with people from Boston. Let us have our moment! It doesn't get any better than this.

I think the rest of America is finally waking up to the fact that Boston is not the underdog and never was. Bostonians have been trying to get empathy from the rest of the nation ever since I can remember. They can't be cocky, loud, obnoxious and win championships and still get others to empathize with them.

People were drawn to Boston sports because of the story and now they are cheering against Boston because it makes for a better story.

Egos have gone unchecked in Boston for far too long. I'm glad they lost, now I just hope that they continue to lose.

For some reason people in Boston expect everybody outside of Boston to care about their team, I think that's what annoys me the most.

I don't want to understand their joy or sorrow, I just want them to try and understand that we have our own teams to root for and we're sick of hearing about them.