Friday, February 6, 2015
A Letter to Haters of The Patriots
This column originally appeared in the Sun Chronicle on Friday, February 6, 2015
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
This is an open letter to all you Patriot-haters out there.
We Pats fans (the real ones, not the bandwagon folks) want you to know and understand a few things. Please take a moment, set aside your natural and instinctive distrust of our team and organization, and try and comprehend a few simple facts.
First of all, we are New Englanders. We take our sports seriously. Yeah, we know – you think you take your sports teams seriously too. And that’s cute.
But you have to grasp the reality here. These teams are our family, and we treat them with the same love, respect and lack of patience you generally reserve for those actually related to you. In New England, we don’t ask or care about your religion. However, if you have the wrong sports team affiliation, we could have some serious problems.
But here’s the thing. No one is tougher on our teams than we are.
We are not sycophants who blindly pledge allegiance to our sports franchises and never say anything bad about them. We don’t take what they tell us at face value. We question them, we criticize them, and we hold them accountable. We ain’t easy.
It’s popular to think of us as obnoxious and spoiled sports fans these days. New England teams have won nine professional championships over the last 14 years. The latest – in case you missed it – was this past Sunday when the Patriots and Tom Brady won their 4th Super Bowl title. And we are enjoying this Golden Age immensely, often at your expense.
But it took the Patriots over 40 years to win their first title. They spent most of that time as the laughingstock of professional sports. The Bruins had a 39-year barren stretch between Stanley Cup acquisitions. The Celtics had a 22-year gap between NBA championships.
And the Red Sox? That was an 86-year drought they made movies about. So when you call us obnoxious and completely spoiled – well, you’re half right.
My point is we know what type of an organization the New England Patriots are. They are business-like, they make a lot of money, and they carry themselves in a manner often seen as brash and arrogant. They are not always an emotional group towards fans or players. We don’t deny any of that.
Our coach is a downer. He doesn’t really care what you or we think of him. He wins football games and has built the best organization in sports. If he had to cut his own son from the roster for salary cap purposes – he would. He doesn’t like the press, feels no need to answer simple questions, and knows exactly how good he is at his job.
But the Patriots are not cheaters. They are champions.
Spygate? Come on, you didn’t really fall for that, did you? We know the Patriots did something after specifically being told not to do it. In the words of Bill Belichick, they videotaped a guy who was giving signs in front of 80,000 people. They broke the rules and were punished.
That happens to every NFL team on a weekly basis. They hold, they jump offsides, they grab a facemask. They get caught, and they are penalized. The Patriots were stupid about it, and they paid a price. A steep one.
Deflated balls? You can’t be serious. There may now have only been one football that was seriously under-inflated in that 45-7 AFC Championship game. People are believing this crap because they want to, not because there is any real proof. It just suits your purpose and your hatred.
We get that. Mention the word “Yankees” around us and watch what happens. Irrational hatred of winning franchises is not new or unfamiliar to us.
We have no problem telling off our teams when they deserve it. If the Pats had actually done something, we would be all over it.
But this team and this franchise are just good. They are winners. You can call them cheaters and invent excuses for their success all you want. But it won’t work.
Sorry to let the air out of your complaints. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some celebrating to do. My team just won the Super Bowl.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime Patriots season ticket-holder. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.