The New England Patriots are my favorite team of all time. Throughout the years there have been so many star players it becomes hard to keep tabs. I have been following them my whole life, and have gone through dozens of favorite players, and some have even been before my time. In fact, growing up I used to idolize many of them. Despite this, I never graduated past the couch, but when it comes to the remote and sitting, I am an all star! Anyway, I was bored alone in a bar thinking about the Patriots like this, and their history, when I started compiling a list on a napkin of who the Patriots best players of all time are. I brought it home and by the end of the night the napkin was all torn up from the pen and my indecisiveness about picking players. I got home and fired up my computer and started doing some web searches to consult other peoples opinions (not that I really cared, like any good sports fan lol) and decided that I would have to limit my number of best players. Now my personal list, in no order (because I could not pick one) starts off with Ben Coates. Back in the early ninties he dominated. He got into the Patriots’ Hall of Fame and is one the best tight ends in all of football history in my opinion, which is probably why he was honored as a memebr of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team. After that is linebacker Tedy Bruschi. Bruschi helped us get three titles and then even suffered a stroke, then came back to football, and that is awesome. Adam Vinatieri is probably my favorites, winning us three Super Bowls with his epic field goals. This list can not be made without mention of Steve Nelson. Nelson is a legend to me. Three-time All-Pro and only having missed three games in his entire fourteen year NFL career (I guess having a job you love probably helps that lets be honest). The legendary linebacker was MVP for the Patriots as part of the defense that got them into Super Bowl XX. An other from before my time, Steve Grogan. Grogan was not selected in the first or even second round of the draft, but the fifth, but even though this might seem like he was at the bottom of the barrel, he certainly was not. He spent his entire NFL career with the Patriots from 1975 to 1990. An other of my Patriot faithful, Bruce Armstrong. Armstrong was a six-time Pro Bowler at offensive tackle and spent his entire fourteen year career with the Patriots, earning his number 78 to get retired with him I think lastly my favorite player would have to be Mike Haynes. Haynes went to nine career Pro Bowls and became a member of NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. His number 40 jersey got retired as well. So those are my favorite players from my scattered list of the top of my head.
You may have heard of sports superstitions, but I think my uncles takes the cake. My uncle is a weird guy. Funny, entertaining, larger than life, but also an odd duck. It is what makes him a character that everyone loves. But here is the thing. Every single Patriots game, he wears the same shirt. Not so bad you might say right? Wrong. He has worn this same shirt for the past eighteen years and never washed it. That is right, he has never washed the shirt. The story comes from a game before I can really remember where he had just moved out on his own, and was really bad about doing his laundry. He used to bring it over to my grandmothers house for her to get it done. For whatever reason, grandma forgot to wash his laundry that day (maybe because he was an adult and should have been doing it himself but whatever) and he was adamant about wearing this shirt since the last time he wore it they won. Apparently the game was a tense one (hopefully he was not sweating too much lol) but in the end the Patriots pulled through. So for whatever beer fueled reason, my uncle decided that that shirt helped them win, and from then on would never wear anything else on game days. I remember once when I was a bit of a punk kid asking him if the shirt was so magic why the Patriots did not win every single game, and the look he gave me was the most serious I have ever seen on him. It kind of froze me in my tracks. I remember an other time, when he was wearing it during a rain storm our house started getting a roof leak and it dripped all over his jersey. Did he take it off with all that weird roof water getting on it? You guessed it. He definitely did not. Incidentally I do remember the Patriots did win that game, but that is besides the point. That jersey has seen a lot. My uncle has celebrated too much with the beer and spilled it all over the shirt so many times that it honestly its very own color scheme. There are salsa stains from when I was still learning how to walk. It was last season that my uncle pulled me aside and told me he wanted to talk to me. He never had kids of his own and so I was the closest thing to a son he would have. He told me very seriously, that after he passed he wanted me to have his jersey, and that I had to wear it for every game and never wash it. At first I wanted to balk at him and make fun of his nasty jersey like I always did, but he was so serious I could not. I realized that day that the Patriots love in our family was bigger than just the team, it brought us all together so you had better believe I will never wash that thing and stink up every game until it is nothing but a rag.
I have been a New England Patriot fan my entire life. I remember when I was just a little kid, and I used to watch the games with my father. It was his favorite thing in the world, watching the game with his boy, and it was my favorite thing as well. I was never very athletic, and my father was. He had hoped to have a star athlete son just like he was, and as I started to get older, it became more painstaklingly obvious that this was not the case. However, my old man loved me very much and was always a family man, and never made me feel weird or bad about it. We still had the Patriots. The New England Patriots will always be dear to me for this reason. They bonded me with my father. Together with the Patriots, we laughed, we cried, celebrated victory, and mourned defeat. Despite our differences in interests and even personality, we had our team to bond over. My father and I are so opposite that as we got older together, we never really had much to say. Once again, not to say that we did not get along, but we simply are very different. My father is all about physical work, mechanics and woodwork, a real mans man. I was more interested in mathematics and geography, or video games and comic books. Basically I was a nerd. Despite this, for my entire childhood, my father and I never missed a game. I remember my mom always making us awesome salsa and sandwiches when my dad started getting older. He used to always grill us burgers, but when I was about fifteen he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease which slowed him down, and after a while he could no longer handle any of the equipment. My mom picked the sandwiches and salsa because she did not want to make him feel bad about not being able to cook burgers, so she just switched the menu. When my father passed away I will not lie it was one of the hardest things I ever had to face in my life. My mother was devastated (they had been married for twenty four years) and could not even leave her bed for quite a while, so I stayed and took care for her. After a few months when things settled, football season began. I really did not know how I was going to cope with it. The first Patriots game was coming up and it would be the first that I had not seen with my father in my entire life. It tore me apart. I tossed the idea back and forth between my head as to whether I would continue watching or not, but when the time finally came I decided I had to watch it. We won the first game and I wept, I felt like my father was there. The next year I got my season tickets, and I have still never missed a game. Every time I watch my Patriots I feel like my father is with me.