On the surface, being a 25 year old New England Patriots fan will get you no sympathy from fans of every other sports team across the four major sports in North America. Since I was ten years old, my favorite team has had one head coach, one starting quarterback (save for an injury in 2008 and a 4 game suspension in 2016), and have only missed the playoffs twice (2002 and 2008). I will never complain about supporting this team, but it is not without epic emotional swings during this big games. Super Bowl 49 was the prime example of this. Here’s how the game unfolded in my parent’s living room that fateful night.
Tom Brady INT at Seattle 10, 1st Quarter 0-0: The most uncharacteristic throw I’ve ever seen given the stakes with Brady. Red Zone picks are what the Brandon Weeden’s of the world do, not the greatest QB of all time. Still a lot of time left but my god what a dumb dumb dumb dumb throw. Would have really put Seattle up against it.
Brady to Gronk TD, late 2nd Quarter, Pats 14-6: Seattle covered Gronk with some fat LB split out to the sideline! Pats might hang a hundo on this team! Let’s Go!!!!!!(Brady voice).
Wilson to Mathews TD, super late 2nd Quarter, 14-14: Kyle Arrington should have been cut 3 years ago (but with a lot less nicer language mixed in between). Seattle can double dip now and I’m starting to panic.
Wilson to Baldwin TD, late 3rd Quarter, 24-14 Seattle: I need and adult…
Brady to Amendola TD mid 4th, 24-21 Seattle: Get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop, get a stop!!! The tease is getting too much now. Patriots clearly setting up to break my heart again. Anyone else you’d rather have in this situation than Brady though?
Brady to Edelman TD, Late 4th, 28-24 Pats: IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU’D RATHER HAVE! THAT’S MY QUARTERBACK! It would suck to be the fan of another team right now. Brady Brady Brady! (oh yeah, get a freakin stop D!)
Kearse catch, super late 4th, 28-24 Pats: Never meant to get Lombardi IV I guess. 2007 all over again. How much torture can happen. 2005 Super bowl seems like a lifetime ago. Sun questionable to rise in the AM.
Butler INT super duper late 4th, 28-24 Pats: I blacked out and fell off my couch and onto the floor. I still do not remember how I got face down on the floor but my first thoughts after I came too were: “S*** we are way to backed up! How we gonna kneel?! Gotta give them the hard count Tom! Give them the Hard COUNT!” I’v coached football too long to even enjoy the INT for the amazing play it was. I was too concerned with taking the knee to end it. Was sure something would go wrong. My buddy calls me in the moment reacting similar to me. Utter and pure shock.
Brady gets them to jump, Bruce Irvin gets DQ’d Pats win 28-24: The moment Michael Bennett jumped offside was the single happiest moment of my watching the Patriots since Vinatieri’s kick to beat the Rams. Pats win, Super bowl champs against all odds. Tom Brady is the greatest of all time. Felt like I didn’t breathe for 4 straight hours.
This is not by any means a unique experience. I’m positive every other Patriots fan went through this same emotional swing during the game. I never in a thousand years thought I would experience such emotion with this team. My first memories of Patriots’ games were my dad having to find them on the bunny ears with the old TV in the early 90s because they wouldn’t sell out home games and put the game on TV. I had to watch Desmond Howard and Reggie White destroy any hope of a Super Bowl I thought we had in 97. I had to deal with Pete Carroll taking a Super Bowl team and driving them into the ground. Even in 2001, the Pats were 5-5 and using a backup QB before they went on this historic run. I wouldn’t trade this team for anything in the world. Remember when you’re watching the game Sunday between Atlanta and New England that the Pats’ fan base may be insufferable at times, but it’s because our peaks have been as tall as our valley’s have been deep. We live on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Our sports town has had its collective heart’s ripped out by giving up home runs to end seasons, giving up 3-0 series and 3-0 game 7 leads, and miracle catches. We’ve been on the right side of all those things as well. I’m sure Sunday will be no different but, as I wrote for my dad before I went to bed after searching for Championship t-shirts all night after Super Bowl 49, “Thanks for making me a fan of this team!”