True Patriots Love: How I Became a Fan Of The New England Patriots

Danny CarewCorrespondent IMay 24, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 21: Fans of the New England Patriots react after touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium on December 21, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 47-7. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Long before I fell for Tom Brady and the Patriots, there was Joe.

I should be forgiven for not becoming a Patriots fan as soon as I knew who the Patriots were, because in 1991, after moving from Scituate, Mass. back to Halifax, Nova Scotia where I was born, I played Joe Montana Football for Sega for the first time.

On the schoolyard I would only throw the football to Jerry Rice. I followed the 49ers because they were good from what I remember. By 1993, Joe was no longer a 49er. I can't recall who the Patriots were playing, but one Sunday my brother sat me down in front of the TV and said, "You should be a Patriots fan."

My brother went on to explain who Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells were. I was enamored by the fact that Bledsoe was a top pick and by the way Parcells yelled at his players.

In 1996 the Patriots drafted Terry Glenn. Even at that young age, I knew he would be an instant upgrade over Vincent Brisby. Ninety receptions later, my brother named his car the "Glenn Mobile."

I can clearly remember the great players of the 1996 team. Curtis Martin one was the best young running backs in the game, and Ben Coates would always be coating the end zone. Bledsoe had the arm, while Ty Law locked down the defense. Plus, we acquired two other pillars of the Patriots that season, Lawyer Milloy and Tedy Bruschi.

Unfortunately for all Patriots fans, we were crushed in the Super Bowl that season, when Reggie White smacked Bledsoe all game and Desmond Howard trotted his way to a ninety-nine yard kickoff return touchdown, ending all hope for a Patriots comeback.

One of the greatest things to ever come out of 1996: Bill Belichick.

I know he followed Parcells to New York after that season, but to think he wouldn't have returned to the Patriots if he hadn't first been there in 1996 is scary.

I liked Pete Carroll. He was always smiling, encouraging his players. Good guy. But after two playoff losses and an 8-8 record in his final season as coach, Pete had to go.After that, I was caught up in the hoopla of trying to figure what team Belichick was coaching.

On October 15, 2000, I saw my first Patriots game at Foxboro against the Jets. The game was the day after my cousin’s wedding, so we arrived towards the end of the first quarter. And by the beginning of the fourth quarter we were exiting the stadium.

On the way out, I heard a loud roar as Michael Bishop came in for Bledsoe. From what I remember, he was awesome at Kansas State, but now he's been bouncing around the CFL.

Then there's the matter of Tom Brady. I don't want to say I knew he would take over for Bledsoe and have the success he has had, but I do remember getting a funny feeling in my stomach when I was checking the draft results in the newspaper and saw his name belonged to the Patriots.

The rest is history.

I go to a Patriots game each year. Now that I've graduated from journalism school, I want to cover the team I've always covered personally.

Joe Montana turned me onto football. My brother turned me into a fan of the Patriots. Hopefully it's Tom Brady and the Patriots turn for another Super Bowl this season.