Say It Ain’t So…

Every relationship is a struggle. Sometimes, despite doing your best to keep things afloat, the other party’s heart just isn’t in it, things just don’t work out, or other circumstances beyond your control bring the entire deck of cards crashing down upon your head. Despite dedicating years of my life to a particular relationship, sticking it out through the good times and the bad, the time has finally come to say goodbye to a true love of my life. I’m talking of course about the Philadelphia Eagles.

As many of you may have loudly heard me proclaim this season, I will not be back in green and black if Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb are still on the sidelines. I’ve tried to love McNabb, I’ve tried to take up for Reid, but this season (complete with last year’s draft debacle… and nearly every prior draft debacle) has caused me to throw my hands up in frustration. Name one other team in the NFL that “almost gets there” as consistently as Philly. Name one other team that faces gaping holes in certain positions, then drafts or trades for players at a completely different position. Name one team so regularly full of talent that so regularly fails to achieve… other than the Bengals. Hey, at least the Bengals TRY to draft well.

Upon hearing that both Reid and McNabb will be back in action this coming year, I’ve finally done it. I’ve walked away, leaving the City of Brotherly Love growing smaller and smaller in the rear view. Was it letting Jeff Garcia go to draft Kevin Kolb? Was it calling inexplicable 40 yard bombs against a New England team that had proven to be weak? Was it allowing the QB to be sacked seemingly hundreds of thousands of times without ever suggesting to make some changes in the offensive line?

Yes it was. It was that, it was the front office, it was a total lack of interest in actually winning a game.

Thus, I was forced to go on a quest. Since this particular season began to unravel in true Philadelphia style, I’ve been searching for a replacement team. A place to call home in the world of sports, and I’m now proud to say that I’ve found that place.

If the scenery isn’t immediately familiar, or if you’re just hoping that it can’t be so…. yes, that’s Boston.

Now, before you break out the crucifix and the torches, let me explain exactly how I came to this decision. There’s really no way to avoid being called a bandwagon jumper for converting to Boston-area sports this year. In nearly every sport, the Boston faithful are enjoying league supremacy and building evil empires that won’t long be forgotten by the families of the dead lying in their wake. However, since being a kid I’ve always had a love affair with some aspect of the city, even while hating it.

I grew up watching the NBA in a time when you could actually turn on the television and watch the NBA without grimacing. Like essentially every rural white kid in America, my favorite player was Larry Bird. Legally, I think fines were imposed by local authorities if at least one person in the household didn’t want to be Larry Bird, being the only basketball fan in the family meant that I had no other options. Since that era I’ve stopped following basketball, but always tried to check in on the Celtics from time to time. Even when I had absolutely no interest in the game itself, I guess you could say that the Celtics were always my favorite team.

Mid-way through last season I informed those around me that I was going to give the NBA another shot and actually attempt to pay attention in 2007-08. My team, of course, would be the Celtics. As the team was in the gutter at the time, I assumed that it would be a long road of boring, lopsided games before Boston prominence was regained. Fortunately, I was incorrect.

The boys in green have been shot out of a cannon, thus adding to the improbable Boston mystique of the year 2007. Besides, who doesn’t like the Celtics? These are the guys that made the 80’s so great, the guys that picked up Rajon Rondo… the guys that gave Pittsnoggle a chance!

Of course, my youth also allowed for plenty of hockey love. Although my favorite team was always Toronto, a close second (often secretly edging out the Leafs) was Boston. The history of the franchise, the rabid fan base and arguably the greatest hockey player of an entire generation (Cam Neely) were entirely too appealing to pass up. If you’re even remotely familiar with hockey, then I’d imagine you’re familiar with names like Ray Borque, Joe Juneau and Adam Oates. In the early 90’s, all of those names shared a Boston zip code and practically made up the entire Sportscenter highlight reel for the NHL.

Although the Bruins couldn’t compete with the likes of the New York Rangers or the Pittsburgh Penguins, they seemed to be the only U.S. team that truly embodied what I liked about hockey. As I’ve tried to convince myself to give the NHL another chance, becoming a Bruin loyalist only seemed to make sense.

I guess I can convince myself to like the Red Sox, even though I’m opposed to their gigantic payroll and their “Johnny Come Lately” fan section… of which I’m now a part. Of course, I don’t follow baseball as closely as I once did, so I’d say I’ll survive. At least I’ll be fairly certain to have someone to cheer for in the post-season, and I like Josh Beckett.

Now comes the juggernaut. The one that’s impossible to explain, the one that will undoubtedly cause me more grief than any team I could possibly have chosen to side with in any sport (other than the Yankees)…

The New England Patriots.

Let me just address this situation in three points, explaining why I don’t feel one bit ashamed of myself when supporting the Pats:

1. History. Anyone that remembers the good old days of football is likely to remember the years we all spent watching the Patriots get the daylights beaten out of them on a regular basis. When I grew up on football, New England was known more for records like 2-14, 5-11 & 6-10 than they were for Superbowl rings. While cheering for New England now is certainly jumping in mid-dynasty, it’s certainly nothing like cheering for an unstoppable force that’s been steamrolling the opposition for generations.

2. Coaching/Front Office. When the players play their hearts out, I’m a happy fan. When the players are thwarted by horrific play calling and self-destructive front office decisions, I’m depressed. When it comes to New England, neither of those things are even a remote concern. When the Patriots take the field, they take the field as a team. Ego is tossed aside, and you’re looking at one unit consumed with victory, under the control of a coach that seems to view each game as the final battle of WWII. From the owner to the ball boy, the organization is unprecedented when it comes to turning mediocre players into stars.

3. Underdogs. Like it or not, wins and losses aside, The New England Patriots are a team of underdogs. Tom Brady wasn’t a Heisman candidate at Michigan, and was barely drafted by New England with the 199th pick in the NFL Draft. Randy Moss was becoming a “could have been” and a forgotten superstar in Oakland before the Patriots organization revitalized his career, years after it seemed to stall. Wes Welker was a little-known kick returner and 3rd receiver in Miami (after being cut by San Diego) before Belichick morphed him into the best slot receiver in the game. Even Belichick himself was a forgettable coach in Cleveland and mediocre defensive coordinator in New York before the Patriots organization allowed him to become the greatest football coach of a generation, if not ever. Say what you will about the Superbowls and the records, but New England is a team of misfits from around the league, playing football as a team and winning by an astounding margin.

For those reasons, along with dozens of others I could go on and on about, I’ve come home to roost in Boston, MA. The city is wonderful, packed with everything from historical landmarks to Helen Thomas. It’s far away, but not so far that catching an occasional home game is totally out of the question. It gave us baked beans, Barack Obama’s law degree and of course Cheers! But perhaps most of all, it’s a sports city that genuinely wants to win at all costs. The apathetic attitude of owners from Cincinnati to Philadelphia, when paired with small market income, serves to do nothing more that frustrate loyal fans. At least with New York as the main competition, that’s not something I’ll ever have to worry about with Boston.

Now… how about that Jets game?


9 Responses to “Say It Ain’t So…”

  1. corygraham Says:

    A comment from Cory:

    I fully expect to be torn to shreds over this… not just in this post, but in person, and for years to come.

  2. Warren Says:

    I cringed when I seen the picture of Boston. But I have to admit I do like the Boston Celtics. That’s about the only Boston team I like. I could never be a fan of the Red Sox. The only time I was cheering for the Red Sox is when they are playing against the Yankees. I absolutely hate the New York Yankees. My hatred for the Yankees is greater than my hatred for the Red Sox. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if those two teams dissolved. Which will never happen but I can always dream…right?

  3. Sportsattitude Says:

    Cory, as someone who not only lives in the Philly region but blogs my disgust at various times for all of the City of Brotherly Love team debacles they execute…I don’t think jumping off the ledge into Boston’s arms is the way to go. I fully understand the pain, but let’s see how things look a few months from now when the Flyers are in the playoffs, the Sixers have enough cap room to buy three Kobe’s, the Phillies are beating the Mets like a drum…and maybe, just maybe Andy Reid’s kids will commit just a few more indiscretions to have him step down…which in turn will break up the love affair with Donovan. Don’t do it, man. Not just yet.

  4. shane Says:

    The Patriots have replaced Satan and his angels as the most evil force in the universe. I passionately hate the Pats with each and every cell of my body. Tom Brady has now become my most hated athlete. He makes Christian Laettener seem like Notre Dame’s Rudy by comparison.

    That being said, it’s hard to imagine anyone stopping them from winning the Super Bowl this year. The Colts or Cowboys have the best chance to knock them off. The Colts have the experience and the horses (no pun intended) to beat them in the playoffs, but they would have to do it in Foxboro where it is sure to be ice cold in January. My guess is the Pats go to the Super Bowl and play Dallas. The Pats will probably win unless they make God mad enough between now and then to intervene.

    Oh, Cory, as far as you switching to Boston area teams (the actual point of this post), I agree with Sportsattitude. Think this one over.

  5. Kevin Says:

    You gotta love a Philly fan. Who else would wish harm upon Andy Reid’s kids all in the name of the Iggles? Seriously, I love Philly fans. They’re one of a kind.

    And never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever take advice on picking a team to root for from Shane.

    I also need to correct Shane: the order, in reverse, is Satan, The Patriots and Hillary.

    That being said, I love the Pats this year.

  6. Aaron Says:

    Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had a friend named Cory. Back when I knew hiim, he had some sense. But then, there came a dark day when Cory decided to root for the New England Patriots, and it became clear to me that he had, in fact, been possessed by the devil. And when you know someone has been possessed by the devil, it’s hard to look at them the same way.

    What in God’s name are you thinking?

    The Celtics, I can live with. I am in fact rooting for them myself this year.

    I can still tolerate the Red Sox, though my patience with them is seeping away, and by the time next season finally rolls around and they have acquired Johan Santana and every jackass on Fox Sports is proclaiming the greatest baseball team of all time, by then, I will hate the Red Sox.

    The Flyers, I couldn’t care less about. If I had to pick an NHL team to root for (and thankfully I don’t have to do any such thing) I would probably pick somebody like the Phoenix Coyotes or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    But the Patriots? The PATRIOTS? Son, have you gone and lost your damn fool mind?

    Seriously, there is no argument here. There is nothing you can say to justify that and I believe that deep down in your soul you know there is no way you can justify your unconsionable Patriots love. Please, I urge you, think very carefully here about what you could be doing to yourself.

  7. Aaron Says:

    And by the way, did you really say that the Patriots are a team of underdogs? Did you really say that? The New England patriots are a team of assholes. And dickheads. And morphodites. And butt pirates.

    Please tell me this is all a joke.

  8. Daylan Says:

    I think he’s finally caught on to Nathan’s idea of always rooting for whomever is winning.

    Boston? New England? Kucinich? Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

  9. Sportsattitude Says:

    This thread of comments has been as entertaining as any I’ve encountered in six months of blogging on WordPress and I am a) going to be a regular visitor and have added the link to my site and b) would like everyone to check out my blog at from time to time and comment as you like. Relevant to this particular post, one of Andy Reid’s sons couldn’t reach a plea agreement yesterday and continues to figure in the Eagles’ daily medical updates, etc. I’m tellin’ ya, Cory…this whole McNabb-Reid era is gonna be toast…just be patient a bit longer…

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