Are Boston fans spoiled?


Are Boston fans spoiled?

Who says that? They ran the ball good this year. I dont know what happened in the playoffs, but heres what I say to you guys in New England: You guys are spoiled. Really, you are. Youve got to remember how the other half lives. You forgot. I was there for it, so I know. Just remember, you could be like some of these other franchises that you see. You got a couple of em in your division."

This quote is from Bill Parcells, and was taken from a conversation he had with the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. The conversation took place shortly before Parcells learned that he's finally headed to Canton; long before Bar Refaeli sucked face with Walter, the Superdome wasn't ready for Beyonce's jelly, and the Ravens held off the Niners to win Super Bowl XLVII.

The game was a classic. It may not have played out exactly how Patriots fans had hoped, but what else is new, right? These days, the Pats and Super Bowl disappointment pretty much go hand in hand.

OK, everyone take a second and re-read that last sentence.

That's exactly what Bill Parcells is talking about. That's the spoiled attitude that he's apparently so fed up with. And in that sense, you can't argue with the Tuna. Which is great, because who wants to argue with the Tuna? But while he definitely has a point, Parcells statement misses on a larger level, and does so in a way that (I think) can help explain exactly what's going on here in New England.

Basically, how the most fortunate fan base in recent NFL history has morphed into a seemingly miserable crew of ungrateful monsters.

Now I don't think that the "miserable crew of ungrateful monsters" description is necessarily true, but that's definitely the perception. That's where Parcells is coming from, and it's one of the major reasons why so many football fans around the country have grown to hate New England.

Are Patriots fans spoiled? Yes, of course. In today's NFL, I'd say one championship in a lifetime qualifies you as spoiled. The fact that New England's experienced three Super Bowl wins, five Super Bowl appearances and 11 ten-win seasons in the last 12 years puts Pats fans on a level of spoiled only visible by telescope (like the one Marshall Faulk used to spy on the Patriots walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI).

New England is so ridiculously spoiled.

As a result, we sometimes lose perspective. We hold the team to an unfair standard. There are things we say and do that are so far lost on (essentially offensive to) anyone outside of the region. On the surface, we're the little kid at the movies, throwing a tantrum because his mom won't let him have a fourth candy bar and the rest of the theater hates our guts.

At the end of the day, what are you going to do? That's what happens when you experience this kind of success. It rubs people the wrong way. It changes who you are. And when that success comes on the heels of a long string of disappointment, those changes are very rarely for the better. It's like all these people who win hundred of millions of dollars in the lottery something everyone dreams of and then watch as their lives spin out of control and into the dumpster.

Truth is that folks who aren't used to insane levels of success aren't always the best at dealing with it. And if we're being honest, considering where we were before the Pats started this run, New England has fallen victim to that. Even if it's just a little bit (or a lot bit). My point is that either way, you can understand the outside hate. From Parcells, Deadspin or whomever.

But here's where that hate goes wrong . . .

Actually, I should start by putting Parcells' statement in a little better context.

Who says that? They ran the ball good this year. I dont know what happened in the playoffs, but heres what I say to you guys in New England: You guys are spoiled. Really, you are. Youve got to remember how the other half lives. You forgot. I was there for it, so I know. Just remember, you could be like some of these other franchises that you see. You got a couple of em in your division."

This was a response to Shaughnessy raising the notion that the Patriots have become a "finesse team" in recent years. Basically, implying that the Patriots eight-year Super Bowl drought is a matter of them not being tough enough.

You can you understand why that would get Parcells heated. He has too much respect for Belichick. You know he has a distaste for the media, and especially the Boston media. For the face of that contingent to ask such an insulting (at least to a football coach) question was a recipe for disaster.

For that reason, I think it's far more likely that Parcells just snapped (Dan has a knack for bringing that out in people) than it is that the Tuna walks around fostering so much hate for New England. But either way, on some level, he believes what he's saying here, and the opinion certainly matches what so many others around the country think: Patriot fans Boston fans, in general are ungrateful morons; they've lost touch with reality, and don't remember how the other half lives.

Now, for real this time, here's where that hate goes wrong.

Patriots fans remember everything.

Maybe not 100 percent of the population, but a majority of Patriots fans understand what's going on here. They haven't forgotten how the other half lives. In fact, more than stupidity, arrogance and ungratefulness, it's that knowledge of what it really means to be an NFL fan, and the memory of what it was like before the Pats started winning that fuels New England's current (and seemingly unreasonable) behavior.

Patriots fans are spoiled, but we're also realistic.

We know that this won't last forever, and that there's a rude awakening on the other side. Once it's over, we know that there's no guarantee we'll ever see it again.

Patriots fans are spoiled, but we're also a little desperate.

Tom Brady has two years left on his contract. And while there's certainly a chance that he'll play beyond this current deal, he'll also be 38 years old when it ends. John Elway's the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl and that age, and he was riding the coattails of Terrell Davis' 2,000-yard season. Is there a Davis in Tom Brady's future?

We can hope, but we can't count on it. We can't count on anything, except for that fact this era of Patriots football is finally starting to wind down.

But in the meantime, like I said: What can you do?

In the words of Winston Churchill: "Haters gonna hate." And there's no doubt that as long as Brady and Belichick are leading the charge, the rest of the world will hate the Patriots. Mostly, because as long as Brady and Belichick are leading the charge, Pats fans are going to carry themselves in a way that will inspire that hate.

They're going to hold this team to an unreasonable standard. Complain about problems that three-quarters of the league would love to have. And resort to subtle, bitchy little tactics like entirely avoiding the fact that the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

All while walking the tight rope between trying to enjoy this while it lasts, and fearing what will happen next.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Flashback: Belichick breaks down lasting impact of Buddy Ryan's '46' defense


Flashback: Belichick breaks down lasting impact of Buddy Ryan's '46' defense

When news broke on Tuesday of Buddy Ryan's passing, it wasn't very long before the NFL community at large paid tribute to one of the most well-respected defensive minds in the history of the league. 

Ryan, a longtime coordinator and head coach, leaves a legacy that includes two sons -- Rex and Rob -- who have carved out length careers spent on NFL sidelines. His legacy also includes a defensive scheme that confounded offenses, particularly in 1985, when the Bears '46' defense dominated all comers. With eight men in the box and just three defensive backs, Ryan's defense could be as confusing for quarterbacks as it was intimidating.

On the day of Ryan's passing, we can add to the list of Ryan rememberances a long quote from a Bill Belichick press conference back in 2012. The Patriots were getting ready to play Rex Ryan's Jets, but as the topic of conversation shifted away from the game itself and toward football philosophies, Belichick explained how Ryan's '46' defense changed the game, and where it can still be seen today. 

(To see the video of the press conference, you can head here. It's a bit slow for the first six or seven minutes, but when Belichick is asked about the idea behind being a "game-plan offense" and which coaches inspired him to take that mindset into his own career, things start rolling. Belichick rattles off the names of those who influenced him, including Annapolis High coach Al Laramore, Phillips Andover's Steve Sorota, Navy coach Wayne Hardin, Baltimore Colts coach Ted Marchibroda and several others. He calls the list of coaches who educated him -- including his father, of course -- a "menagerie." If you're into those types of Belichick responses about football philosophy and his own personal football upbringing, it's a video that's worth your time.)

Here is Belichick's response to a question from Sports Illustrated's Greg Bedard, then of the Boston Globe, concerning Ryan and his '46' scheme. A tip of the hat to Chris B. Brown of Smart Football for pointing out the quote on Twitter early Tuesday. 

Q: You mentioned Buddy Ryan earlier. How come we don’t see more 46 defense? I’m not talking about for a full season – not everybody is the ’85 Bears, but in a one-game situation. Is it because of the quarterbacks and the shotgun?

BB: "A lot of the success that Buddy had with the 46 defense came in the ‘80s when there was a lot of two-back offense. It was one of the things that probably drove the two-back offense out. If you remember back in the ‘80s when Buddy was in Philadelphia, he had a lot of trouble with the Redskins and their one-back offense, a lot of trouble. There were a lot of mismatches of Art Monk and Gary Clark on the middle linebacker and stuff like that.

"I think the 46 was really originally built for two-back offenses, whether it be the red, brown, blue and the flat-back type offenses and eventually even the I-formation. I think it still has a lot of good application; a lot of teams use it in goal-line situations. They either use a version of it like a 5-3 or cover the guards and the center and however you want to quite fit the rest of it, but that principle you see a lot in goal-line, short yardage situations. You see it and some teams have it as part of their two-back defensive package.

"As it has gone to one-back and it’s gotten more spread out, if you’re playing that, it kind of forces you defensively to be in a one-linebacker set. You lose that second linebacker and depending on where the back lines up and what coverage you’re playing, then there’s some issues with that. If you’re in a one linebacker defense and you move the back over and the linebacker moves over then you’re kind of out-leveraged to the back side. If you don’t move him over, then you’re kind of out-leveraged when the back releases and that kind of thing.

"There are some issues there that, I’m not saying you can’t do it, but you have to work them out. In a two-back set, I’d say it was probably a lot cleaner and it always gave you an extra blitzer that was hard for the offense. Even if they seven-man protected on play-action, there was always an eighth guy there somewhere. You didn’t have to bring all eight; if you just brought the right one and they didn’t have him or somebody would have to have two guys and that creates some problems.

"I think that’s what Buddy, really, where the genius of that was. He had by formation a different combination and group of blitzes so depending on what formation you were in, then he ran a blitz that would attack that formation and then when you changed formations, then he would change blitzes. Now, plus the fact [he] had Dan Hampton, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary, [Otis] Wilson, [Wilbur] Marshall, that was a pretty good group there. You could have probably played a lot of things and that defense would have looked pretty good, especially when they put Hampton on the nose. That was pretty unblockable."

Amendola forced Brady to break a ping pong paddle in first week with Patriots


Amendola forced Brady to break a ping pong paddle in first week with Patriots

Tom Brady has never been one to hide his emotions when he's on the field, and it sounds like he's not much different at the ping pong table.

When asked about Brady during an interview on ESPN's NFL Insiders show, Patriots receiver Danny Amendola recalled one story from his first few days at Gillette Stadium back in 2013.

"He's the best teammate," Amendola said. "He's so competitive . . . I remember one story, it was my first week in the building and he wanted to play some ping pong. I didn't know how to go about it. I knew I was better than him, [but] I didn't want to beat him too bad because I wanted him to throw me the ball.

"I knew I was better. Needless to say, his competitive nature unleashed a broken paddle by the end of it. It's the reason we love him, and the reason why he's the best quarterback."

That first encounter at the ping pong table didn't seem to hinder Amendola's relationship with Brady in the least. In their first game together, Amendola fought a groin injury and still ended up with 10 catches for 104 yards in a win over the Bills. Since then, when healthy -- and particularly since New England's most recent run to a Super Bowl title -- Amendola has established himself as one of Brady's most trusted targets.

Amendola and the rest of the Patriots are facing a start to the regular season without their No. 1 quarterback as Brady awaits a decision from the Second Circuit on whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Should backup Jimmy Garoppolo take the reins in Brady's place, however, Amendola said he'll be confident. 

"He's a great player," Amendola explained. "He's been in the system a couple of years now and he's learned a lot. He's picked up everything that Tom has taught him and then also what coach [Bill] Belichick has to offer him. So we're all excited to see where he goes and see what the future holds for him."

Amendola says he feels 'really good' following offseason surgeries


Amendola says he feels 'really good' following offseason surgeries

Danny Amendola did not participate in OTA or minicamp practices that were open to reporters, but that doesn't mean he's ailing. 

"I feel really good," Amendola said while paying ESPN's NFL Insiders show a visit. "I had a couple minor procedures done after the season. Everybody knows how long the season can be. I wanted to go into next season feeling as fresh and ready as I can."

Amendola joined a relatively long list of Patriots regulars -- including LeGarrette Blount, Julian Edelman, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon -- who were not spotted during spring workouts. There exists, however, some optimism that he'll be ready to participate in training camp.

Though Amendola has battled nagging injuries in three seasons with the Patriots, he's often played through them rather than miss time. The 30-year-old wideout has played in all but six regular-season games since 2013.

Amendola is coming off of his best year in a Patriots uniform, finishing 2015 with 65 catches for 648 yards and three scores. He now helps make up a receiving corps that will include Edelman, newly-acquired wideouts Chris Hogan and Nate Washington, Aaron Dobson, DeAndre Carter, Chris Harper and rookies Malcolm Mitchell and Devin Lucien.