Does the SouthCoast Want Brady or Belichick to Win on Sunday?
It used to be easy to be a New England Patriots fan. Tom Brady was incredible, and the team almost always won. Even if they found themselves trailing late in the fourth quarter, the game was always in reach with Tommy Terrific. Six Super Bowl championships later, all was right with the world in Foxboro – or was it?
The marriage started to falter. Like a couple that has been married for decades, it could have gone one of two ways: either your relationship embraces the time you've spent with one another, or resentment and bitterness start to build. In Foxboro, it seems it was the latter.
As a result, Patriot Nation faces one of the most bizarre weekends in the franchise's history. The man who was responsible for bringing so much joy to Patriots fans over the course of 20 years returns with yet another Super Bowl ring on his finger to face off against his Jedi Master.
It puts Patriots fans in an uncomfortable position. We're like children of a divorced couple being forced to pick sides. We want nothing more than for them to be together, but that is just not the reality.
So which side will Patriots fans choose? Are they loyal to the quarterback that was the crown jewel in the dynasty, or are they loyal to the Patriots organization?
Nearly every single caller we asked this morning on the air said they'd be cheering for Brady on Sunday night. We sent our intern Sierra to talk with people in the Fairhaven Dunkin' line. Again, nearly all of those people said they'd rather see Brady win on Sunday than the Patriots. Granted, the sample size is small, but there is definitely something going on here.
Other players have left the Patriots and gone on to play on other teams. There was never a groundswell of fans cheering them on while they were wearing different colors, but if you were lucky enough to get tickets to the game Sunday night, you'd better be ready to see a lot of Buccaneer Red, Pewter, and Bay Orange.
I have a better understanding of what it must be like to be one of the Manning parents watching Peyton and Eli go head to head. I've been a lifelong Patriots fan, and a particular fan of the "Patriot Way." But what happens when Brady, a guy who personified the Patriot Way, is lacing up his cleats in the visitors' locker room?
I've spent the past week examining my football soul. I'm here to say that somewhere over the past year and a half, I have come to the realization that I'm a Tom Brady fan first and a Patriots fan second.
I blame the Patriots for not getting it done in 2020. They should have done everything necessary to make sure No. 12 retired as a Patriot. If Brady goes into Gillette on Sunday and cuts the Patriots into pieces, they will deserve every bit of it.
I'm sure it was a bitter pill to take to watch Brady bring the Lombardi Trophy down to Tampa Bay while we should have been clearing more space inside the Patriots Hall of Fame.
They'll be pouring a nice tall glass of "we screwed up" up Sunday night after the game.
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