I promised last post I wouldn’t talk about the Patriots too much, but I make no promises on this post.
I grew up in northwestern Connecticut, where everyone is a Yankees fan and a Giants fan. Unless you’re a Red Sox fan and a Patriots fan. And it seems certain that neither the two shall meet – you are either Boston leaning or New York leaning!
Though I’m uninterested in baseball, my dad is a big football fan. I grew up watching Phil Simms and Bill Parcells dominate the league. For some reason I clearly remember the highly suspenseful Giants win of Superbowl XXV. Lawrence Taylor couldn’t be stopped! Parcells leaving the Giants and moving to the Patriots coincided with my leaving for college in Massachusetts. A football fan is NOT allowed to be a Giants fan in Massachusetts. When Parcells made the jump, so did I. I’ve been a staunch Patriots fan ever since. My dad is a more recent conversion; for a decade it was fun teasing him about how terrible the Giants are and how great the Patriots are. Let me tell you, that Superbowl when the Pats lost against the Giants at the last minute, wow that was painful. I couldn’t even talk about it.
While I didn’t understand how football worked until I was taught how to play the game in high school, the dynamics are fascinating. It’s war in miniature. It’s Capture the Flag times a million. Its a mix of brains and brawn and talent and luck. So many detractors of football call it a brutish game that is only about brawn and running. It’s actually war. The reason Parcells and Belichick have been so massively successful is that they are excellent strategists and strict generals. They don’t put up with bullshit from their troops, they give orders and expect them to be obeyed with 110% effort, and they prize intelligence and adaptability on the battlefield. They’ve had dramatics and allegations and they do what they need to do to get the win. Is it to be admired? Absolutely. Is it something I envy? Sort of. Do I think I would fit into that world? Nope. But I certainly enjoy watching these brilliant and capable men do the work that they’ve devoted their lives to.
I don’t enjoy when these brilliant and capable men do not perform as expected, have a series of bad turns, make stupid mistakes, and generally do incredibly poorly for a majority of the game! It was incredibly frustrating and I was on the verge of turning it off after halftime, but decided to keep watching after the bestie left because I wanted to see it through. I’m a devoted enough Patriots fan that I only buy cable every year for Sept – Feb to watch the Pats games. I wasn’t going to turn off the Superbowl halfway through. I still had a sliver of faith.
And boy did they reward me. Brady and his boys came through in every aspect of the game. It was an amazing experience. I’ve never screamed so loudly in my life. If every other person in New England hadn’t also been watching the game they probably would have called the cops. It was very literally jaw-dropping.
I went to bed extremely late, exhausted, and floating on air. The next day the talk of work was the game, even though most of the people I work with don’t watch football. Something special happened at this Superbowl. It mattered.
Congratulations guys. You deserve every second of celebration.