- By Belch
Confessions of a Patriots’ Fan
Every time I play Madden, if I don’t have a great first drive, I restart the game. There, I said it. If I start on defense, and I don’t create a “3 and out,” that’s it. If my offense takes the field and stalls in the least, its time to power off.
Because when I play Madden, my goal is to break records and to do something that’s never been done before, even if it’s purely digital and make believe. I don’t cheat online, I wouldn’t even know how; for that very reason, I don’t play online.
Now, at this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “Typical Patriots fan, always obsessed with winning.” I have no rebuttal or excuse for that kind of response because in the Madden scenario, that’s exactly what I wanted. But the reason that I’m writing this article is not to warn you that my long list of Playstation trophies is phony, but to let you in on a little secret that every single Patriots fan keeps hidden deep inside. We are scared.
The technical definition of fear is being afraid that someone or something is likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening. I guess in this regard, fear may not be the right word, but I’m begging you to bear with me.
When it comes to sports, there are only a few things that a fan may be afraid of. A fan could be afraid that their team will lose, that a key player will get injured, or in some extreme circumstances, a fan may be scared to death that their team will move, and thereby stop being their team. The fear that Patriots’ fans across the world face is far worse.
Among all of the allegations of cheating in the past, the Patriots now face yet another hurdle to overcome. The report that game balls used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game were underinflated did just that to everyone wearing red, white, and blue. We were deflated by what seemed to be another incredible kick in the groin. How can I even wear a Brady jersey in public without hearing all about how I’m a cheater, the Patriots are cheaters, Brady is a cheater, Giselle married into cheating, et cetera. How could I again put on a hat with the Patriots symbol without getting an earful from the world? It would be impossible. Still, this is not the kind of fear that I am talking about.
The fear that I am talking about is way, way worse. Let’s say that an amazing player like Brady retires, is he enshrined in the Hall of Fame? If this is to be tarnish on the bronze, then the ultimate question rests on the minds of the collective nation representing New England. Are the Patriots, OUR Patriots, as good as we have believed for all of this time? Yes, we understand the greatness of individual players like Revis and Brady, but if we can never be sure why we won any single one of our games, then how good are we?
I’ll wear number 91 in honor of Collins, who left 110% of himself out on the field on that Sunday. I’ll go and buy a Bryan Stork jersey, because he has busted his ass to show that he was worth an NFL start. What I won’t do, however, is feel comfortable in saying that the Patriots are one of the best teams to ever step foot on a field, because these accusations have taken that claim away from me, and it is that loss that causes this irreversible fear that everything that I believe in is lost.
I’m afraid that soon, I will have nothing that I can cheer for…