Re: Perspective of a 50-year Pats Fan
posted at 12/7/2010 2:24 PM EST
I agree with ATJ. I've been a fan for 46 years now, and it's been a bumpy ride overall. I remember being in a bar in the 1980's in Syracuse, NY, and I left my Pats jacket on a chair as I went to the men's room. In the jacket pocket was a Sony Walkman (remember those?). When I came back, tehWalkman was gone but my Pats' jacket wasn't...that tells you right there even crooks didn't respect them!
I remember going to two games at Sully Stadium in 1987, one of them being a replacement game (vs. Buffalo) and one a real game vs. The Jests in December. Grogan threw five TDs in the first half and almost had a sixth, as he missed a wide open Irving Fryar at midfield.
The high/low point sof those first years had to be the first Super Bowl season in 1985. I was living in a house with four undergraduates (I was a grad student): one loved the Gints, another the Bills, a third the Dolphins, and the fourth wasn't into football. I remember all the grief they gave me after the Super Bowl loss. I was so bummed.
Then came the tough times in the late 80's early 1990's, starting with 1989. Raymond Berry released Tony Eason half way through the season and I wrote a letter to Victor Kiam voicing my displeasure over that move. He actually replied. That seemed to send the team spiraling downward, as Flutie was also released a few weeks later (I never LIKED him). The futility lasted until Parcells arrived and the hope was snatched away when Parcells let us down by looking for another job instead of concentrating on getting the team ready to win the Super Bowl. I really feel that we should have beaten the packers that year. I remember there was a sequence in that game that has ired me to this day: we were up 14-10 in the second quarter and we had the ball. What do we do? Rather than put together a nice drive that kils some clock, we threw three straight passes, all of which were incomplete. The Pats then put and GB takes it down for a TD. We were never ahead after that. That was the turning point.
All that changed in 2000 wiith the arrival of BB and the drafting of Brady. Contrary to what anyone will tell you, BB wanted Brady to be his starter in 2001, but Kraft had just written Bledsoe a huge new contract. BB doesn't want t a player on his roster that he feels that he can beat if that player was on another team, and that is how he felt about Bledsoe. He also felt the same way about Bernie Kosar in Cleveland. Brady got his chance thanks to Mo Lewis and we moved the Statue to Buffalo. i know some of you out there loved Bledsoe, but I was really only impressed with him when he was a rookie. After that, he kind of lost it in my eyes, as he couldn't win the big game. He was kind of a predecessor of Manning in his own way.
This run that we have been on is great. I hope it continues, but I know that it won't. One day we'll be on the bottom, but hopefully not for a long time. Last night was one of the most satisfying moments for me as a Pats fan, as I think we shut a lot of people up. I truly would have like to have heard what Cris Carter and Tom Jackson had to say after that game. I knew both would pick the Jests, but as usual, Ditka picked the Pats.
Not that I want to brag, but I did have the feeling that the Pats were going to score 40 on the Jests, and they beat my prediction: they scored 45. I also felt the D would be much improved if they could just hold on to some of those passes that tehy were almost intercepting. The last thing I will say that irks me is this: last night on ESPN radio, they were talking about how the Jests had a field day "running the ball" with over 150 yards. Well, I would say that most of that over 150 running yards came after the game had been decided, including the last Jests drive where they just basically ran out the clock. That is the first time i can remember since perhaps the 1980's(?) where a team way behind hasn't gotten into what I call a run up the score mode when behind. In the "old days", when ateam was way behind, they would just run the ball to end it. Now, even when too many scores behind, teams are still passing, and trying to score, which generally leads to scores for the other team. I give kudos to the Jests for just running the ball at teh end and not trying to score a meaningless TD.
I hope this ride never ends. Since I have been out of work since the end of April, this team has been one of the bright spots in my life. The Pats are 10-2 and the best.