Murphy’s law: Patriots fans savor success, everyone else’s hatred
If you’ve ever seen the movie “Interstellar,” chances are you know a little bit about Murphy’s Law. Typically written as “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” I’d imagine that it pretty much sums up the feelings of the majority of American football fans about the New England Patriots and their 17-year winning streak.
And after watching the Patriots make an appearance in the Super Bowl 10 times—eight of them with current head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady—and with 15 AFC titles in 17 seasons, I’d probably feel the same way. Growing up in a household based on the mantra “If you’re not a Patriots fan, you’re sleeping in the backyard,” I haven’t had to face trivial issues like “will my team be good?” or “will we be in the Super Bowl?” or, even, “will we win the Super Bowl?”
While I was raised as a Pats fan, my knowledge base has significantly decreased since my superfan phase during the infamous 16-0 season in 2007. The only remaining evidence I have of my Patriotic roots are the four beanies I’ve acquired through various Christmas presents from my dad (and the lingering crush I had on Rob Gronkowski during his rookie season). So, in preparation for this year’s Super Bowl, I decided to turn to more credible sources: the two biggest Patriots fans I know, my dad and brother.
My dad was raised in Boston, where, in his words, “being a Patriots fan is almost a birthright.” He’s still a diehard fan: On each birthday or gift-giving holiday, he can bet on receiving a book of crossword puzzles and some form of Patriots merchandise. My 14-year-old brother, on the other hand, suffers the anti-New England badgering in silence as a diligent follower of Patriots stan Instagram profiles. While he wants to make it known that he is not directly involved in the ensuing comment wars, he “has seen a lot of bashing going back and forth” in preparation for this Sunday.
Dad: “The Patriots are the standard of excellence in the NFL and across professional sports. This is their 8th trip to the Super Bowl in the 17 years of the Brady/Belichick era, and they’ve won five and lost two. They have achieved all the success in an era of the NFL that has been ruled by parity and salary caps where the goal is to make all teams equal, but still they have excelled.”
Brother: “This is their ninth straight AFC Championship…and everybody always wants to see New England lose.”
Dad: “I went to school in Philadelphia, but there is no part of me that would ever consider rooting for the Eagles…In the Eagles’ entire franchise history they have never won [a Super Bowl], and the Patriots have won five in the last 17 years. I mean, that’s like every three years we get another Super Bowl. But this season, [the Eagles’] record was 13-3, same as the Patriots.”
Brother: “I think the Patriots are going to win because Tom Brady has more experience than [Eagles’ quarterback] Nick Foles, and overall, they’re just a more experienced team. The Eagles haven’t been in the Super Bowl for like 15 years, where the Patriots beat them.”
Dad: “Brady says he wants to play until he’s 45; I hope he plays until he’s 100…He’s often called the ‘GOAT,’ ‘g-o-a-t,’ you know, like ‘greatest of all time.’”
Brother: “In the playoffs, Brady was the only experienced quarterback of the final four. So, against Foles, he was expected to be dominant, but now it’s expected to be a much closer game now that predicted point spread went down four points after Foles beat the Vikings.”
Dad: “When you’re that successful, everybody else hates you. There have been national surveys that have shown that the rest of the country is rooting against the Pats and for the Eagles—and for Patriots fans like me, that’s a badge of honor…They sell Patriots bumper stickers in Boston that say ‘They Hate Us Cause They Ain’t Us.’”
Brother: “[In the Instagram comment wars] Eagles fans are calling Pats fans ‘cheaters’, Patriots fans are calling Eagles fans ‘criminals’…My friends at school are more college football fans, but of those that do watch NFL, only a few are rooting for the Patriots—most are going for the Eagles. Everybody wants to see New England lose.”
For most Patriots fans, the possibility of future success seems inevitable. Last year, upon being asked if she planned to get tickets to see the Pats in the 2017 Super Bowl, my aunt replied “Nah, I don’t really feel like going to Houston—I’ll just go next year.”