These Pats fans are gone forever.
Prior to the Patriots upsetting the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, this was a pissed-off Red Sox town. The fellowship of the miserable was a living, breathing organism that dominated the region.
Then the Pats and Sox shocked the world and won championships, the venom absorbed by an atmosphere boasting of six Super Bowls wins, four World Series titles, an NBA championship and a Stanley Cup.
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Record setting television ratings, season ticket waiting lists and vault-busting merchandising sales made the Foxboro faithful easily the most powerful fan base of the local four.
And now they are gone.
That’s okay. Nothing lasts forever.
During the double decade domination of the NFL by New England, things changed.
First of all, winning breeds complacency.
After the Red Sox won in ’04, Dan Shaughnessy told me after his morning jog about beating St. Louis that “it” would never be the same. I disagreed with the Hall of Famer and in the end he was right. I miss the bitter sports fan, and unfortunately that species is extinct. It happened to the Sox and it will happen to the Patriots.
How can anyone be hungry when they are stuffed with nine trips to the Super Bowl? If Stid the Kid sucks are you really going to complain about it? No. You’re not. You’re going to just do something else, like watch the Buccaneers.
Secondly, New Englanders loved watching the NFL prior to 2001, they just didn’t watch the Patsies. They watched the Cowboys, Giants or Steelers. Every kid in my grade school wore Steeler shirts and worshiped Mean Joe Green. This can happen again. Will anyone be surprised if Tampa Bay has better television ratings in New England than the Patriots?
I am not watching Brian Hoyer play one snap and I am not alone. If Stid doesn’t get it done don’t be surprised if Patrick Mahomes jerseys start showing up in New England school yards over the next few years.
Everyone loves a winner.
Finally, the advent of social media, video games and streaming services have watered down the market. A fan doesn’t have to endure the pain of a losing season with Tik Tok, or Insta or Snap Chat at their fingertips. I thought I was dreaming the other night when I heard a voice say, “What a catch by Gronk!” It was my son playing video games at 2 a.m. with one of his fellow quarantined buddies. If the Pats suck, he can choose any of the Pats’ Super Bowl winning teams on his X-Box. And then of course there is YouTube, NetFlix, Xfinity On-Demand etc ... Have you watched "Killing Eve" or "Ozark?"
So, thank you Patriot fans for being there for the last 20 years. You served your team well. There will never be another like you.