The New England Patriots Are the Team to Beat, Again

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Ed Lasater of Jacksonville, FL, fan of the New England Patriots shows support for his team outside the stadium prior to Super Bowl XLII against on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

I’ve lived long enough to hear the words “Team to Beat” far too often. This time, again, everyone is saying it about my team, the New England Patriots.

I’ve been a fan of the Patriots long enough to hear the phrases associated with the Pats morph several times. I used to hear “Losers” then finally I heard “Playoff Hopefuls.”

I was actually happy when the Patriots rose to the level of “Playoff Bound.” My chosen team had arrived.

I haven’t suffered like the life-long fans from this area. I’m a transplant and I’ll bring my fan-hood wherever I go and bestow it upon the teams of my choosing.

Before now, the teams that I chose were always perennial losers. So for me, who suffered more, me or the teams that I chose?

To finally pick and support a team that went from the cellar to the penthouse was better spent money than if I had supported a psychiatrist the whole time instead.

I can imagine how those costly psych sessions would have gone.


So you think that you bring a losing mentality to every team you support?


I was an Atlanta Falcon fan back in the '60s and early '70s.


I’m a football fan and I remember that there were some outstanding dynasties that were the “Teams to Beat,” like the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins. The Falcons couldn’t hope to compare to them back then.

It would be unreasonable to consider yourself as the catalysts for their poor play.


Sure Doc, but what about the Atlanta Braves? I was a fan of theirs too. It seemed like they could never string together any wins either.


It wasn’t you.


Well how about when I moved to San Diego and started rooting for the Chargers and the Padres in 1980.


As I remember the Chargers had winning seasons early on in the '80s.


Yeah but that went away as soon as I moved there.


It wasn’t you.


My point being is you can convince yourself of anything if nothing ever changes for you.

The change for me came when they started saying the Patriots are the “Team to Beat.”

I walk a little taller. I sit a little straighter.

My bald patch is filing in. My teeth are whiter.

A winning attitude is everything.

Basically, I’m writing to all those fans of the other teams out there that are not the “Team to Beat.”

I only have one thing to tell you.

It’s not you.