Speaking as a fairly dedicated Patriots fan, I can’t begin to describe the excitement of watching the Patriots in the Super Bowl again this year.
While I always make it a point to have some sort of get together with a wide array of food and beverage no matter who is actually playing in the Super Bowl, there is no doubt that I get a little more excited about the whole thing when it’s the Pats playing.
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Imagine my excitement when this year, it was not only the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but also the Giants, the team who stopped the Patriots in their quest for the perfect season back in 2008 for Super Bowl XLII.
This Super Bowl was certainly going to be epic from the moment we learned it was a Giants/Patriots game.
Unfortunately my roommate, who happens to be a Jets fan, is rooting for the Giants, in an effort to continue her streak of rooting for “anyone but the Patriots.”
Let me say that does make for some awkward football watching when my cheers are met with boos and vice versa. However, this rooting for any team but the Patriots is not a new phenomenon.
While this may come as a shock to many New Englanders, the Patriots aren’t well liked outside of New England. From what I’ve seen hanging around the sports world, the Patriots are arguably the most hated team in football.
It’s not clear, though, where this hatred comes from. Is it that in the last ten years the Patriots have become the team to beat? That we have a good-looking ace quarterback who could go down as one of the best ever? That our team was tarnished by a cheating scandal forever known as “spygate?” Or is it just because we’ve been a consistently high performing team and that makes us the target for being hated?
Everyone has a different reason, but there is no doubt that we’re not exactly liked by many.
Even some Patriots fans have been complaining that the Super Bowl coverage has been a little Giants-centric on ESPN, a sure sign that perhaps New England is finally catching on to the hatred of their hometown team.
What’s funny about thinking of the Patriots as the most hated team in football is the notion of what teams are the most hated in other sports, specifically baseball. The answer that immediately pops into mind for most New Englanders has to be the New York Yankees.
The New York Yankees are the “evil-empire” of the baseball world. Baseball fans the world over rejoice in the Yankees’ failures, but no place is more adamant about disliking the Yankees than right here in New England.
Call it a symptom of the deep rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, but the hatred of the Yankees runs deep in New England.
There is a certain strange dichotomy among New Englanders in their hatred of the Yankees for being the “evil empire” in baseball, but being diehard fans of the Patriots, the “evil empire” of football.
We’re more than willing to defend to Patriots through the throes of a cheating scandal and carry on like it never happened, but we will gladly roast the Yankees for simply being the Yankees.
I feel as though every reason for hating the Yankees is equally applicable to the Patriots, but because the Patriots are a New England team and the Yankees are a New York team, (and the rivals to the hometown Boston Red Sox) it does not matter.
As both a Yankees and a Patriots fan (an apparent contradiction, I know) I struggle with the hatred aimed at both teams I strongly support.
In the back of my mind, I know that it’s just a game and it means absolutely nothing beyond the game itself. But I’ve been accused (both jokingly and seriously) that I’m a fan of both teams only because they’re good. In sports, bandwagon fans are a serious concern for those fans that consider themselves diehard.
The results of the Super Bowl have opened another can of worms when it comes to both hating the Patriots, and loving the Giants.
People were chastised for joining the “Hate the Patriots, Love the Giants” bandwagon even though they had supposedly never watched a game before.
I’ve been an inexplicable Yankees fan since I could talk, and I’ve been a Patriots fan my whole life.
Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of any team as the evil empire, it creates too much bad blood between fans. It’s time to start appreciating the teams as only a part of the game.
Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org