Shaun just asked me, given that the Patriots just lost an agonizingly close Superbowl to the Giants, if we knew ahead of time, before week one of the season, exactly how everything was going to turn out this season, would I rather be a Rams fan or a Patriots fan?
There are a few ways to answer this question honestly. You may ask, how can one possibly answer a question multiple ways while still remaining honest? I don’t @#$%ing know. I’m not a shrink. Leave me alone.
What’s indisputable is that we as sports fans end up with our allegiances to teams in unusual ways. Some of us inherit our teams from our dads, some base it on geography, some on particular players, and some people (including many that I know) simply support whatever team is in first place when they open the sports page because they think it gives them license to talk a little bit louder in the local sports bar.
There are other ways, surely, but let’s not stray off topic. Fact is, there are logical arguments in favor of both teams in question. Let’s begin.
Patriots: If it was easy to simply put down decades of allegiance to a particular team and choose a new one, who wouldn’t choose the Patriots? They have great players, compete every year, and have a way of turning ordinary players into Cinderella stories (see: Woodhead, Danny, among others). Plus, if you live in a major media market that doesn’t have a team (Los friggin Angeles for example), they televise pretty much every Patriots game. They play something like 9 Monday night games. And analysts can’t stop verbally ejaculating all over themselves about everything Tom Brady does. It must be pretty gratifying for fans.
Rams: They’ve been my team since I was old enough to comprehend football. Old loyalties die hard. Even though they are in the throes of one of the longest streaks of epically sucking in the history of pro sports, it’s not as simple as throwing in the proverbial sports towel. When the Rams won in ’99, it was directly after another extended period of futility. You just never know when it’s going to happen. They do have a few players on the squad who are worth cheering for. And it’s plain convenient to not have to donate several dozen shirts and hats to goodwill, and purchase a whole closet worth of new apparel.
And the verdict is… ok, you ought to know better. We can’t make a call here until both the pros and cons have been weighed. And there are plenty of both for both teams.
Patriots: The elephant in the room is that any Pats fan, real or bandwagon, is immediately branded the latter living on the West Coast. That’s a big scarlet letter for any sports fan to want to wear on their foreheads. Object vehemently enough, and you’re likely to end up in fisticuffs if alcohol is involved, and at my age (even though 33 isn’t that old), that’s never an ideal scenario. Additionally, their coach is an unapologetic cheater willing to break just about any rule to gain an advantage, and the purist in me has a serious issue with that.
Rams: For decades, team management has held up a giant middle finger at the fans by consistently fielding a subpar product. The only three year interruption was by accident, when a future Hall of Famer named Kurt Warner ended up the quarterback due to a severe injury to starter, Trent Green. It’s almost like The Smartest Guys in the Room. A bunch of executives laughing about how their stupid fans will keep paying for the product despite it being markedly inferior to the rest of the league.
Sidebar: Tosh.0 has got to be the dumbest show in the history of television. Yet I can’t look away. I want to slap the smug smile off his face, and spend the majority of any episode wondering how someone could profit from the stupidity of the masses in such an abrasive manner, but it’s undeniably gratifying to know that so much of the world’s population is dumber than me.
The Verdict: It’s a slam dunk. I would rather be a Patriots fan. To know that your team will compete each and every year, and will do its best to put a product on the field its fans will appreciate is valuable beyond description. Sure, they lost a heartbreaker today, and they lost a heartbreaker after the 2007 season, but they’ve won a few in there too. You can’t win them all, and logic would dictate that if you make the Superbowl most years, you will take one on the chin every now and again.
But I’m not. I’m a Rams fan. And I will sit here in envy. With my beer.