As I look around Bleacher Report and read people’s bios and comments, something dawns on me.
This is shocking to me, a lifelong Bostonian. So I am here to give you 10 reasons to embrace the Patriots.
If you see a Patriots fan, give him or her a hug. You may laugh now, but after reading this article, you will understand and see things in a different light. Okay, probably not, but here goes.
Does anyone personify class and dignity better than Troy Brown? A former eighth round pick out of Marshall, Brown’s career almost ended before it got started. He was cut and brought back so many times, you would have thought he was Bill Parcells’ personal Yo-Yo.
But rumors kept floating about Troy Brown. Drew Bledsoe said he had the best hands on the team.
Little by little, the little dude who was almost out of football began to contribute, first on special teams, then as a wide receiver, and then amazingly as a defensive back on a Super Bowl-winning team.
This guy has never been in trouble, and he does not showboat. He is the epitome of a professional.
Out of loyalty to the franchise that once cut him, he has accepted less money on more than one occasion to remain a Patriot. Who would not respect that kind of loyalty?
Knowing the Rules
Come on, who knew about the tuck rule before the 2002 Patriots? Who knew where to draw the line on what kind of spying you can and cannot do on your opponent? Without the Patriots, you would not be as knowledgeable a fan as you are today.
One Week at a Time
Every team says it, one team goes out there and does it better than the rest.
How else do you explain going 16-0? How else do you explain winning 18 straight regular season games over two seasons?
The Pats may lose games, but it is not because they look ahead.
You want proof? The Pats lost in Super Bowl XLII to a huge underdog. Has anyone, even the biggest Patriots hater you know, ever suggested it was because the Patriots took the Giants too lightly?
The Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII because the Giants were better than the Patriots that day.
You may have heard about this Spygate story. It has been in the news from time to time over the last few months.
But to paraphrase Colonel Jessup from A Few Good Men, deep down inside, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you know this was an overblown story.
The Pats did wrong, it was not that big a deal, and if any other team had done it, it would have meant the loss of the sixth round pick and a $25,000 fine.
But it was the Patriots, so Roger Goodell came down hard, and the Patriots have not complained about their punishment at all. Think about this: If it were your favorite NFL team in that scenario, how mad would you have been about it?
If The Pats Can “Make It,” So Can Your Team
Look, I am 34 years old. I have seen some bad pro teams in Boston. I've seen some bad Red Sox teams, some bad Celtics teams (as recently as last year).
If you are a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, the L.A. Clippers, or the Tampa Bay Rays, look no further than the Patriots for inspiration. If the Patriots can do it, and become a dynasty, trust me. Any team can do it.
I grew up hating Joe Montana. If pressed for a valid reason, I would have said something stupid such as, “He is only good because of his system,” or “he just dinks and dunks,” or, “Jerry Rice made him a great QB.”
I was just jealous. So many times, I would see the scores on the 10-minute ticker, San Francisco would be losing by four late in the game, and then a few minutes later, you would see that final score, San Francisco 38, New Orleans 35.
It was not fair! If my beloved Patriots were losing by three late in a game, they would end up losing by 17. I missed out on all the fun of one of the great QBs of all time because I was so mad that my team could not come close to their efficiency.
Now, you hear similar criticisms of Tom Brady. Don’t make the same mistake of a young Andy Miller. Enjoy watching one of the best QBs of all time in the prime of his career.
The Pats Have Given You What You Wanted
They are hated partially because of their success. Okay, that is fine. What have they done the last two years?
They have filled you with happiness, drama, and in your world, a happy ending the last two years. The Pats have gone 28-4 over the last two regular seasons, yet have not been able to win a Super Bowl.
They have lost two heartbreaking games each time to end their season. This is what you want.
Now if the Pats did not get a 12-man-in-the-huddle penalty late in the 2006 AFC Title Game, or if a couple of 300-pound linemen could have brought down Eli Manning, you might be talking about the five-time World Champs, and I would understand your hatred.
But I will defy you to find a team that lost in a more crushing manner two years in a row than these Patriots have. I have not looked it up, but I will pretty much guarantee it has never happened.
As a sports fan, what do you want from an owner?
Shut up, sign the checks, and stay out of the way.
Bob Kraft does just that. He lets his people make the decisions; he stays out of the way.
But he also saved the Patriots when they were in trouble of being re-located. In 1992, Kraft, a lifelong Patriots fan and season ticket holder, went above and beyond, paying $175 million to buy the Patriots and save them from re-location.
Now, $175 million seems minimal for a pro sports franchise, but in 1992, the Patriots were one of the worst franchises in sports, and many in the business world laughed at Kraft.
As fans, we loved him because he kept our team from moving. Sonics fans would love for some Robert Kraft-type person to come in and save the team.
(On a side note, I am hoping that something like that does happen.)
Making the World A Better Place
If you are a fan of the NFL, you love the rumors, the trades, the drafts, and the games.
But unfortunately, we have to put up with a whole lot of other crap, like Michael Vick, Chris Henry, Pac Man Jones, and numerous others.
With a few rare exceptions, like Willie Andres, the Patriots stay out of trouble. Not only that, but the Patriots have taken in supposed “bad-seeds” and have seen no incidents.
Randy Moss did have an issue with a former girlfriend, but Moss vehemently denied any problems, and the charges were dropped. Other than that, Moss has been a model citizen and model teammate.
Corey Dillon came in with a bad reputation, and had a successful, incident-free tenure with the Patriots.
Let me give a small background. Don Tomasso is a lifetime New Englander, who, like so many of us, grew up loving the Red Sox and Celtics.
His primary sports love, however, is the New England Patriots. Don can recall plays from games that happened 15 years ago, and other than his family, Patriot games were the most important thing in his life.
Don is your classic “life of the party” guy, and he brightens every room which he enters (a cliché, but with the man they call DT, it is very true). He is completely stuck in the 80s like no one I have ever met, and he can amaze anyone with his memory of events from the 80s.
Don had some pain on his side recently, and even though he hates going to the doctor, he told his wife to call an ambulance. They went in for what was believed to be a relatively routine appendix removal; they discovered during this procedure Don actually has cancer.
He has significant internal bleeding, and has been on a respirator for several days. The situation has gotten worse, and Don has been in and out while the doctors prepare to remove one kidney.
On top of all this, Don’s wife is nine months pregnant and could give birth to their second child at any moment.
If this was a Lifetime movie, you would ask your girlfriend or wife to change the channel.
But for Don, his friends, and family, this is very real, and we all spend every waking moment praying for the best.
My point is that at the end of the day, we all love sports, we are all very passionate and loyal to our teams. But once in a while, step back and remember what is truly important in this world and what is just a hobby that we all enjoy on the side.
No one is guiltier of forgetting this than me, but whoever your favorite team is, send some kind wishes to Don and his family in this unbelievably trying time.