A New England fan on why the team has to win this weekend: He's not ready to live in the past.
There is no team in the United States today that engenders more united, eloquent, and well-reasoned hate than the New England Patriots. In the past month alone, their coach has been called " the NFL's last real antichrist ," their quarterback an "arrogant [bleep]," and their whole operation football's "most miserable and fascinating dominance-machine."
I agree that Bill Belichick's crew seems to, as David Roth, the talented acquaintance of mine who came up with the last of those three digs, put it, "embody all the joyless, thwarted smallness of our culture—snarling from victory to victory, accumulating and accumulating and somehow getting both smaller and heavier in the process." Not that I'm burdened by any of that weight. The Patriots are, and have been for a while now, my evil binky. While I've loved them since I pulled on my first oversized red and blue Starter jacket (Mitchell & Ness, which specializes in vintage sports apparel, now sells a version of my old coat. It makes me feel old.) in the 1990s.
Things were different back then. Drew Bledsoe, who had a cannon arm and cement feet, was the quarterback. Tight end Ben Coates, my favorite player back then, was that era's version of Rob Gronkowski. I even had a "Big Ben" poster hanging above my bed. Bledsoe, Coates, and company made the Super Bowl once, but lost to the Packers. Those teams were good, but never inspired the kind of confidence like the current Patriots. Their merciless success over past decade has transformed me into an addict.