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

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"


Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.

Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited


Patriots-Texans practice report: Gronk sits out; Gilmore limited

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:


RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)

WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)


G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)

CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)