How I Helped the New England Patriots Become a Dynasty

Steven FennerCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2009


As true sports fans, we all know how each of us are directly responsible for a win or a loss.

It could be wearing a favorite shirt, eating a certain breakfast, or even how you set up your viewing area before the game. Everything has to be just right before a game, or your team might lose, and it will be all your fault.

For me, during the 2001 season, I was living in North Carolina, just outside Raleigh, and I felt I had to make Boston Clam Chowder from scratch every week, OR ELSE! It turned out I was onto something with the Pats going 11-5 and taking the AFC East Crown.

I continued this throughout the playoffs and it worked great, as we all remember, even making sure the refs took an extra look at a certain called fumble play in the snow. Thankfully I had made Chowda!

Here they are, poised for a shot at the true Crown, Super Bowl XXXVI. Would the Chowda be enough? All week long I had thought it out, where I would get the clams and all the other ingredients, even how my living room would be set up. Would I have anyone over or watch it alone?

These are important factors; you certainly don't want to be the one that blew it for everyone else because you didn't do your part as a fan.

Well sometimes fate intervenes and assures you a little extra going your way.

It was the Thursday before Super Bowl XXXVI, and I was in Durham, North Carolina checking on a construction project (NCCU Basketball Gym) assigned to me as a project manager. I had spent the week catching crap from the rest of our staff because I am a Pats fan and they had all jumped on the Rams bandwagon since the company owner's son-in-law played for the Rams.

As I was walking to my truck, a large well-dressed gentleman walked up to me and asked if I was in charge of this particular project. I identified myself and said, "Yes, sir. I am." He said he was the athletic director for the school and we spent a few minutes discussing how the project was going. At the end he asked me if I was a Pats fan or just liked that hat I was wearing. I explained to him that I was originally from Massachusetts but currently living in North Carolina and had been a Pats fan since I was a kid.

He smiled and asked if I thought they would win. I said, "I always think they will, even in '86 when they were toasted by the Bears; otherwise, what kind of fan I would be?" At that moment he stuck out his hand to shake and said, "I'm Lin Dawson of the New England Patriots. Nice to meet you."

For those of you who don't remember the name, he was the starting TE for the Pats in the Super Bowl verse the Bears and he played on exactly one play. Unfortunately for him he was hurt on the first offensive play tearing ligaments in his knee. He was also the team's spiritual leader, as he is a deeply religious man and the type of player the NFL could use more of today.

We talked for a bit about the game and then we said goodbye. I drove back to the office somehow feeling, "Yes, they really are going to upset the Rams." When I got back, I printed out a sign and hung it on the owners door. All it said was "JUMBALYA!" just to tease him a bit before he headed down to New Orleans for the game (it's nice having a relative play for one of the teams and getting you tickets).

Well, the rest is history—the Pats went on to win with a game-winning field goal and the start of their dynasty. So, all you Pats fans have me to thank for it, with my Chowda each week for the game, and a chance meeting with one of the original Super Bowl members for the Patriots. Sometimes, it takes fate to help get the win.

It should also be noted I had made a bet that if the Pats won, I would do 2 full laps around the outside of my house naked immediately following the game.

All I can tell you is I am a man of my word.

I think this year, I'll make scallops each week.