When the Patriots aren’t playing for the Lombardi trophy, I’m just not as interested.
I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. Hell, I’m willing to bet most people aren’t even serious sports fans. They like the VERY IMPORTANT FOOTBALL GAME WHOSE NAME, LIKE VOLDEMORT, MUST NOT BE MENTIONED because it’s an excuse for a party, you get to have a few beers with friends, and — most importantly — for the commercials.
Admit it, you know you love them. You crave them. You rate them in real time and decide which ones ruled the day and which ones stunk up the joint. You laugh because they’re funny, ridiculous, cringe-worthy, or just plain awful. But however you react, you’re watching. Always.
Well now you can watch AND win a year’s worth of mortgage payments and/or car payments.
Progressive Insurance is a client of mine, and I’ll be spending game day getting people to play their Super Duper Bingo game. They’re not spending a kajillion dollars during the game on an ad, opting instead to host this virtual bingo game that lets you play along with the commercials. Here’s how it works:
Get your Super Duper Bingo card on your phone, tablet, or laptop and keep it handy during the commercials
You’ll have squares like “Shirtless Dude” and “Perfect Beer Pour.” When you see a commercial that matches one of your squares, click on it.
You get an entry for your email, an entry every time you click on a square, and 25 entries for each Bingo you tally (4 in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally)
And now for the best part, the prizes.
One grand prize winner will receive a year’s worth of mortgage (or rent) and car payments, worth $25,000. Five 2nd place winners will receive a year’s worth of car payments valued at $5,000 each. And 20 3rd place winners will receive a WiFi-enabled home thermostat valued at $250 each.
All for watching commercials and clicking a few buttons.
Yes I’ll be watching the game (Go Panthers, I loathe Peyton Manning and the Broncos), but this year — without Tom Brady the GREATEST OF ALL TIME — I admit I’m more interested in the commercials. I can’t win because Progressive is my client, but you can. So please click here to enter and keep this handy during the commercials so you can win one of these awesome prizes. Tell your friends, too, and if you spread this on social media (pretty please) be sure to use the #SuperDuperBingo hashtag.
Loving my Boston sports teams isn’t enough. I need a rival to hate.
Look, I know it’s crazy. I know I’M crazy. When it comes to sports, I have issues because essentially I’m just rooting for laundry. But I don’t care. I don’t care that I place an unnatural significance on the outcome of professional sporting events played by millionaires who don’t care about me personally. Want to know why? Because it’s fun.
It’s fun to love a team you’ve inherited from your father who inherited it from his father. It’s fun to bond over that love, go to games, and dissect play calls like it actually matters what we think. It’s fun to have common ground and to celebrate victories while knowing you’re in good company after defeats.
But most of all, it’s fun to share a mutual hatred of hated rivals.
Being a Boston fan, I’m lucky to have no shortage of hated opponents in that department. As Boston Bruins fans we have no patience for those sniveling turds from Montreal. Growing up a Celtics fan, it was all about my favorite player, Larry Bird, and loathing Magic Johnson and the reviled slickness of the LA Lakers. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, it goes without saying my hatred for the pinstriped Yankees from New York knows no bounds, and 2004 was the ultimate purging of demons as the Red Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history while the Yankees choked away a sure thing.
While I love all sports, football is my favorite to watch. And the Patriots are our beloved hometown team to which we swear fealty and pledge to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
My father is entering his 44th year as a Patriots season ticket holder. I’ve been going to games since the age of 6 with my dad and brother, and soon my sons will join the club. With the arrival of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady 15 years ago came an unexpected string of good fortune, which transformed the Patriots from a laughingstock to a model organization and paragon of success, which means one thing — lots of haters came out of the woodwork. Thankfully, I give as good as I get.
Let’s start with the division rival New York Jets, who haven’t won squat since before men were able to walk on the moon. Yet these wretched souls are filled with hope every single year and they actually believe they have a chance, until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick put them in their rightful place. Also, this:
Then you have the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long the kings of the NFL decades ago, they were bested by the upstart 2001 Patriots and Hines Ward and company have been whining ever since. I had the pleasure of being at Heinz Field for the 2001 AFC Championship game, where smug Steelers fans taunted us mercilessly before the game. So when Brady, Bledsoe, Bruschi, Brown and the Patriots slapped them into stunned silence to advance to the Super Bowl, we danced on their lawn and sent the double freedom rockets into orbit.
And then you have the Indianapolis Colts. Sweet mother of crap do I hate the Indianapolis Colts.
It started in the early 2000s when Peyton Manning got all the credit and accolades, despite Tom Brady being the better quarterback. While Manning was racking up stats, Tom Brady did nothing but win with FAR less talent at his disposal. In the 2003 AFC Championship game, the Patriots intercepted Manning four times to advance to the Super Bowl. The following year in the playoffs, the Patriots held Manning to 3 measly points en route to another Super Bowl win.
And then, in 2013 when Manning was playing for the Broncos, Brady led the Patriots to overcome a 24-point deficit to beat “I don’t like the cold” Manning in overtime, prompting this celebration from my dad.
And now the Colts are led by Andrew Luck and a team of crybaby maggots who whined about deflated footballs that didn’t even factor into a 45-7 butt-whooping. I was wondering how I’d manage to hate Luck, who by all accounts is a nice guy and fantastic football player. But now I have my answer. They, along with the NFL, tried to catch the Patriots in a sting in an attempt to besmirch the greatest QB ever to grace a football field. Even though it didn’t work and a $5 million report came up with no hard evidence against our Lord and Savior Tom Brady, his name is still being dragged through the mud. And that will never be forgotten. Not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not on October 18, 2015, when Tom Brady travels to Indianapolis and once again crushes the spirits of Indy players and fans who dare oppose him.
In the end, I’m thankful for the rivalries. Rooting for the Patriots is awesome, but rooting against hated rivals and reveling in their defeat while dancing on their withered bones, is what makes it all worthwhile.
Smack Apparel, the official home of all collegiate and professional sports rivalries, realizes this and caters specifically to fans like me who enjoy irritating fans of other teams to no end. Their Smack Zone blog makes its inaugural debut today, focusing exclusively on sports passion and rivalries, because Smack has been assisting smack-talkers give as good as they get for nearly 20 years.
That’s why I’ve teamed up with Smack Apparel to offer a free t-shirt to a lucky recipient. You have to leave a comment here describing which teams/opposing fans you love to hate, and follow Smack Apparel on Twitter to win. You’ll receive a virtual gift card to buy a shirt of your choosing, just in time for the start of the season on Sept. 10 (when the defending champion Patriots kick off against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers).
Also, be sure to check out the #SmackZone Twitter party on Sept. 8 from 8-9 pm EST for more great prizes. So leave a comment here and that will automatically enter you in the drawing, which will be finalized later this week.
Now LET’S GO PATRIOTS!!!
*I have partnered with Smack Apparel on this campaign and while I received compensation, all opinions expressed here are my own.
If it seems like I’m beginning to collect a library of unbelievable memories this season, it’s because I am.
First the Patriots pulled off a miraculous comeback win against the New Orleans Saints (my phone was dead so the video is someone else’s). Then they overcame a 24-0 deficit to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. And last night, I hit the trifecta as I was present for yet ANOTHER miracle finish.
With just more than two minutes to go in the game, the Patriots were trailing the Cleveland Browns by 12 points. And although the Patriots have pulled horseshoes out of their asses twice already this season, some fans just never learn because a bunch of people began to head for the exits.
Screw those morons.
Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field and scored a touchdown with a little more than a minute, and after the 2-point conversion it was a 5-point game. Thanks to a personal foul penalty on the touchdown, the Patriots ensuing onside kick was moved up 15 yards. But still, all the Browns had to do was recover it and the game would be over. Here’s what happened (NSFW due to my nervous swearing).
But even then, the Patriots had to go 40 yards in less than a minute with no timeouts. No easy task for sure, but this is Tom Brady we’re talking about.
After a couple of plays and an admittedly ticky-tack pass interference call in the end zone (hey, the Patriots were due for a call to go their way after getting robbed in the Jets and Panthers games), the Patriots found themselves with 1st and goal at the 1. Just one yard away from perhaps their biggest miracle to date.
Here’s the result (again, NSFW because of swearing).
The Patriots lost their most important offensive player next to Tom Brady in Rob Gronkowski, and I still don’t expect them to do anything much in the playoffs. But with all their injuries this year, I’m really proud of this Patriots team. And regardless of what happens, we’ve some some unbelievably special games this season.
And the best part is when I look back on these videos I’ll see a familiar pattern. The Patriots win, I scream like a maniac, and I immediately turn the camera toward my dad — the screaming maniac who taught me how to be a screaming maniac and also to ALWAYS stay until the end.
I can’t wait until my boys are filming me going nuts at Gillette Stadium one day.
I don’t remember much about my first trip to Fenway Park.
My first memory is the Green Monster. I had seen it on TV, but in person it loomed like the Great Wall of China to my 7-year-old mind. I remember the rickety wooden seats in the third-base grandstand being ridiculously uncomfortable (some things never change), to the point I had to sit on my red backpack. I remember Roger Clemens was pitching because I had begged my dad to pick a game when the “Rocket” was on the mound. And I remember thinking Fenway Franks taste a million times better than hotdogs at home.
I can’t tell you how many strikeouts Clemens had, what the score was, or even who won. But I’ll always remember being with my dad, because at one point during the game he grabbed my brother and I and said “I always dreamed about taking my boys to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox.”
On Saturday night, it was my turn to live the dream.
When I went to my first Celtics game I took in the cramped confines of the beautifully antiquated Boston Garden in a fit of parquet wonder. And every Boston kid remembers the day he first laid eyes on the lyric little bandbox of a ballpark that is Fenway Park. The grass impossibly green, Pesky’s Pole flashing down like a lightning bolt in right field, and the Green Monster looming in left. Both the Garden and Fenway are marvels — resplendent in every way and rich in unique history — that leave you slack-jawed and awestruck.
Sullivan Stadium — where I took in my first New England Patriots game — was none of those things.
Simply put, it was a shithole. It was built in 1971 for a paltry price of $7 million, and one look at it explained why. No luxury boxes, no real club seats to speak of, and not a frill to be seen anywhere. There was ugly concrete as far as the eye could see, and fans were treated to aluminum benches with no backs. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, before the first preseason game all of the toilets overflowed — a sign of things to come regarding the team’s on-the-field fortunes. But hey, considering the Patriots were forced to play at various Boston stadiums (Fenway, Boston College, Harvard) because they were the redheaded stepchild of the Boston sports scene for years, at least they finally had a home of their own.
Back then you couldn’t give Patriots tickets away because no one wanted to watch a craptastic team play in a rundown pit of a stadium with their asses frozen to an aluminum bench. But even though Sullivan Stadium couldn’t hold a candle to the Garden and Fenway, it was OUR place. Every Sunday, these guys and that place were ours. For better or worse. Almost always worse. It wasn’t flashy and it certainly wasn’t trendy, but we loved it. In the cold, in the rain, in the snow. We were there because the Patriots were our thing.