I’m the most unlikely football fan – a high school drama club member, a comic-book nerd, a sensitive artist-type who avoids confrontation. Yet when the New England Patriots take the field, I become a beer-swilling loudmouth superfan who can’t help screaming at the television every time Tom Brady throws the football. No wonder no one wants to sit next to me during the games.
I became a football fan later in life, despite the fact my mother had pictures of Drew Bledsoe and Tim Tebow scotch-taped to the side of her refrigerator (covering up photos of me and my brothers). I barely paid attention to the sport unless New England made it to the Super Bowl, and even then it was more about the halftime menu than the actual game itself.
However, something clicked when my oldest son started college. He began hosting Football Sunday parties at my house with a select group of friends. At the same time, Tom Brady’s star was rising, then skyrocketing, and I couldn’t help being drawn into the excitement. Football games became the focal point of my weekend. I loved the drama on and off the field. And there was a lot to love.
A house full of people made the games more exciting. Everyone brought their significant other. Everyone had their favorite spot in the living room for the best angle to view the game on my wide-screen television. Everyone brought their favorite appetizer and something to drink (and a designated driver because the younger generation so much more responsible than we were at their age). As the host, I wasn’t going anywhere, so I could have an extra beer or two (or three or four depending on the circumstances).
I didn’t mind the fact I had to work Monday morning. The rush of excitement during the game made it all worthwhile. And the Patriot’s were such a super team, it was easy to become a super fan. Over the years we cheered on Aaron Hernandez, Chris Hogan, and Julian Edelman. We watched for the latest antics of Rob Gronkowski both on and off the field. And the list goes on. Every game was a spectacular display of football genius thanks to the amazing combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots gave us a lot to cheer about (still do).
Even when the team is not playing, the New England franchise is still entertaining. It’s easy to see why our home team is hated by the rest of Football Nation. From Bill Belichick’s one-word answer press conferences, to Tom Brady’s unrelenting focus on the game. “If it doesn’t involve me it doesn’t involve me” was his latest answer to a reporter’s question TB12 didn’t want to answer. These photo-ops are a joy to behold. Add to the mix Tom’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and you’ve got every facet of the sports and entertainment field covered. Her quote following the Patriots’ loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, in which several receivers dropped crucial passes from Tom, was spectacularly insightful. “My husband can’t throw the (expletive deleted) ball and catch the ball at the same time.” Tell us how you really feel, Mrs. Brady. Now that’s football drama.
The New England Patriot’s are no strangers to off the field drama as well. The tragic Aaron Hernandez case was a horrible experience for everyone involved. Spy Gate and Deflate Gate were two more scandals that tried to tarnish the New England Patriots’ pristine reputation, but both Tom and the team emerged unscathed. As records continue to be broken, scandals seems to fade from view, at least to the fans. Now we have Antonio Brown and his accompanying baggage to deal with. The less said about his case the better until all the facts are in. Hopefully, the Patriot’s will weather the storm.
My days of hosting Football Sunday’s are over. The torch has been passed to my son who now has two children of his own. I’ll be heading to my son’s house in a few minutes to watch the Miami Dolphins lose to the New England Patriots (If I’m not jinxing them by writing this before the game). “Squish The Fish!” as we used to say back in 1985. I hope the rest of the houseguests appreciate the irony of the sushi platter I’m bringing with me. Go Pats!