The biggest question a sports fan gets asked is why are you a fan of your favorite team. Or at least this should be. Sports fans usually have favorite teams in all the major professional sports and college, and for some there is European Soccer. But who is your favorite team? The team that if they were in the Playoffs your life stops? The team who every time this is the slightest alteration in a hat or jersey, you are at your favorite sporting goods store to buy it. That is what we are asking and telling you, our favorite teams and the answers may surprise you.
I became a fan of the New England Patriots early in the 1994 NFL Season. I was raised a New York Giants fan and to this day my Dad is a Giants season ticket holder and I was a huge fan of Phil Simms ( I still love Phil Simms). After the 1993 New York Giants season, the Giants parted ways with Phil Simms and as every 11 year old kid does, I didn’t understand the business of the NFL, all I knew was that the Giants had released my favorite player. At this point, I told my father that I no longer wanted to be a Giants fan, and his words to me were ok, but remember you can’t take it back and please don’t root for the Jets, Eagles or Cowboys and if the Giants play in the Super Bowl or you go to a game with me root for the Giants unless they are playing whatever team you choose. OK so who do you root for is my thought. I had heard a lot about Drew Bledsoe, he wore #11, the team wore red, white, and blue, ( which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy a new quarter back hand warmer for when I played touch or tackle football with my friends. You know the things you think about when you are a kid. So at this point I decided that I would root for the New England Patriots and it might have been my finest decision as a fan. The 1994 season saw the Patriots make the playoffs behind Drew Bledsoe and Ben Coates, but ultimately fall to the Cleveland Browns. The 95 season saw me purchase my first Patriots jersey a Wilson Drew Bledsoe jersey, which I still own to this day. For Christmas that year, I received a Ben Coates jersey, one of the starter ones, that looked like it could have been an authentic jersey but had screened on numbers and letters, which I wore to the point of the jersey’s numbers fading off. 1996, was the first time that I saw the Patriots play in person a December game against the New York Giants, with the win coming on a late touchdown aided by former Giant David Megget, I got a home Curtis Martin jersey and an away Drew Bledsoe jersey, as well as a trip to the Super Bowl to take on the Green Bay Packers, the first time in my life a team I rooted for lost the NFL’s biggest prize. 97-2000 were lean years for the Patriots a playoff trip and loss to the Steelers in 97, and then the Parcells purge came and we lost Curtis Martin to the Jets.
The 2000 season, brought promise. Belichick. A teacher in grammar school once told me that to really be a fan of a team, you have to go to a home game. So in 2004, me and my best friend made the pilgrimage on a cold and rainy afternoon in October to see the Patriots take on the New York Jets, the Patriots won that day. At that point I knew that I was officially a member of Patriots Nation. A year later I met Mr. Robert Kraft outside of Giants Stadium before the team took on the New York Jets and he even allowed me the opportunity to try on his Super Bowl ring, which is one of the greatest feelings of my life. I have made the pilgrimage back to Gillette, a couple more times for games in the past couple of years as well as trips to the Hall at Patriot Place, which have helped me learn more about the team that I love and the region that the team plays in. The last 12 years have been football nirvana for me. 3 Super Bowl victories, 5 Super Bowl trips, 11 trips to the playoffs, a 16-0 regular season( I was at win number 16) the coming of age of Tom Brady, I can honestly say, that the New England Patriots have given me more joy as a sports fan that any team that I root for and I want to thank Mr Robert Kraft and Mrs. Myra Hiatt Kraft for purchasing a team in southeastern Massachusetts and guiding them to being the best sports organization in sports, but keeping the team a family. You can’t pick your family, but can your friends, but in this case the Patriots are a family and at Thanksgiving, I won’t fight it, if I’m asked to sit at the kids table.