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Sidelines: Pats fans need to tune out the haters

Patriots fans, let’s talk about this week.

With one week before Super Bowl LI, you’re going to hear from many people who do not share your zeal for the New England Patriots. They revel in every loss. Every misstep, real or fictional (mostly fictional) is a cause for celebration. Across social media, any time another ill informed or just plain mean spirited buffoon says something bad about the Patriots, New England fans go nuts. I appreciate the fervor. The more people trying to correct the mountains of misinformation out there is a good thing.

The big question is, why do you care? Does somebody else’s dislike for your favorite team really affect your enjoyment? Would you be able to celebrate the Patriots more, if only ESPN would stop perpetuating the lies the helped spawn Deflategate?

If you don’t care, fantastic. Come sit next to me and enjoy the week of hype leading up to the Super Bowl. Enjoy the game. Enjoy Lady Gaga’s halftime show. We can discuss how the Patriots can slow down the Falcons crazy-good offense.

If you do care what other people think about your team, get over it.

I enjoy listening to the music of Pearl Jam and the Tragically Hip. My enjoyment of those bands is not predicated on your enjoyment of them. If you told me you think Eddie Vedder’s voice sounds like a cat gargling glass, I would politely disagree with you before adjusting my headphones to listen to more Pearl Jam.

Admittedly, I gain visceral joy every time the New York Yankees or Duke men’s basketball lose. Not for one second would I expect a fan of either team to give a care what I think.

When a talking head drones on about Spygate or Deflategate or the Steelers headsets picking up Scott Zolak’s greatest hits or whatever contrived scandal is the soup of the day, I tune it out. It’s OK to be hated because of success. Everyone and everything that has enjoyed a prolonged run of success has been vilified. That’s just the way it is, and always will be.

The alternative is apathy, and Patriots fans 35 years old and older know too well what that is like.

Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium was little more than a pile of concrete and spilled beer, and it was a good day when the toilets flushed properly. It was a stadium in name only, and the team it housed wasn’t much better.

I started paying attention to the Patriots in 1981. The first game I attended was opening day that season. They lost at home to the Baltimore Colts, 29-28, beginning a slide to a 2-14 season. Two decades later, that game still stood as a harbinger of bad luck, bad decisions, and bad people that made up the bulk of the next two decades. A few brief bright spots in the 1980s and ’90s are drowned out by so much dark.

When one factors in the lack of on-field accomplishment and barbaric behavior off the field, the 1990 Patriots who went 1-15 may be the worst team in American professional sports history. The 1990 Patriots were last in the NFL in offense and next to last in defense. They ran for just four touchdowns the entire season. That’s a game and a half of LeGarrette Blount’s scoring spread over 16 painful to watch weeks. Off the field, they harassed Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson and were led by repugnant owner Victor Kiam, who became a Saturday Night Live punch line.

The current run of success, while long, is not going to last forever. Don’t concern yourself with the opinions of fans in other cities. They’re built on jealousy and spite. Rather, enjoy every second of this. It will be over before you know it.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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