"There is a line to this harmless fun that should not be crossed and I think your team crossed it with your behavior during your celebration parade. Flying off at the mouth during the intensity and high stress moments of a football game is one thing, but going out of your way to parade around in front of your fans holding disrespectful signs and t-shirts directed towards the opposing team is simply bad form. The spectacle that players on your team have created not only rubs salt into an already painful wound but it tells those around you that you have no respect for any other teams or their fans. You are telling the world that it?s ok to beat someone while their down and that when you win you should throw it in people?s faces."
- Amanda, from Tacoma, Washington
Amanda's "open letter" condemning the Patriots' parade on the Q13 Fox Seattle website. [You can read the entire letter here.].
It is hard for people outside New England [plus those in Fairfield County, Connecticut] to understand that the Patriots won this game. The Seahawks did not lose it.
Nothing else matters.
Not the last play. Not the parade. Not the way the Patriots celebrated.
Football is brutal.
The end Sunday night was abrupt and concise.
There is no nuance here.
There was no room for quarter before the game.
The same holds for its aftermath.
So, with that in mind, here is our response.
Dear Amanda -- And Your Fellow Seahawks Fans:
The Patriots are not out to win new fans, nor do they care to score points for etiquette. Those who support the team and cheer for it at their parades feel the same way.
Have you ever met a native of Boston, Andover, Framingham, Lynn, Reading, Malden, Watertown, or pre-2000 Arlington? We're good people. Regular folks. We take care of each other, and even outsiders, when it really matters. You saw that after the Marathon Bombing, and see it whenever the area is pummeled by snow.
But we really don't give a damn about what anyone outside of our borders thinks of us.
Many of us want to be called "Massholes."
Patriots Nation stood alone against the football world last weekend. Bill Belichick was our Churchill. Tom Brady was the RAF.
"Never in the course of pro football have so many owed so much to just two."
And out of nowhere came Malcolm Butler. A true Spitfire if there ever was one.
This championship would be a reward for these Patriots, and in turn, their fans. This was a team that was being compared to the 1919 Black Sox [who conspired with real-life criminals to fix the World Series] over a few deflated footballs.
Here's a little history and background so that you know where we're coming from.
The Patriots used to suck. I mean really suck. They played their games at Harvard Stadium and Fenway Park. They once played a home game in Alabama. The old stadium in Foxborough was so bad you'd get soaked standing beneath the stands when it rained. The traffic on Route 1 was like a line of cars trying to escape the invaders in "Independence Day." The team almost moved to St. Louis and Connecticut. The Patriots were long defined by a cocaine scandal, the near sexual-assault of a female reporter in their locker room, bungling ownership, and poor play.
Among their former coaches: Rod Rust. Dick MacPherson. Pete Carroll. They needed Belichick just to purge those memories.
Currently, one of their former players is on trial for murder.
We've learned post-Super Bowl, the Patriots were ready for the Seahawks to throw a slant to Ricardo Lockette inside the 2 on that last drive. The Patriots practiced the specific play before the game. Butler got beat by the legendary Jimmy Garoppolo when no one was watching. He made the play when 120.8 million were watching [in the U.S. alone.]
All against a team -- the Seahawks -- that had perfected the art of trash-talking to a level not seen since Larry Bird.
Hence the cathartic nature of Wednesday's parade.
It was Richard Sherman, as you remember, who went to social media and posted that infamous "U Mad Bro" Tweet featuring him and Tom Brady after the Seahawks beat the Patriots in 2012.
This came during the regular-season. When Sherman had never finished an NFL season above .500, appeared in the playoffs, or won a Super Bowl.
Sherman wanted to tell the world he was better than Brady.
U Mad Bro.
Admit it, Amanda, U loved it.
So did the "12th Man." Football fans in the Northwest savored that moment. They were joined in glee by the haters in New York, the crybabies in Indianapolis, and the wanna-bees in Baltimore. Even the Spygate Truthers emerged from their bunkers to grab a few rays of sunshine.
Sherman was better than Brady that day. For one game. He earned the right to brag. A few in New England were upset. Most shrugged it off, focusing more on the Patriots' struggles.
That's the thing about fandom. You own it when you win. You own it when you lose.
As Henry Hill once so brilliantly imparted: "Every once in a while, I had to take a beating. By then, I didn't care. The way I saw it, everybody takes a beating sometime."
Hill was speaking in literal terms. We're talking in terms of fan metaphors.
Sherman's brag from 2012, and his remarks about Brady in the wake of Deflategate, were undoubtedly paramount in the mind of the Patriots during Sunday's game, and Wednesday's parade. As were so many jabs and one-liners from the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, and what was said and done on the field during the game.
Remember how Gronk wasn't "that good?"
The Seahawks fired first, second, and third in this war of words.
The Patriots simply fired last.
LeGarrette Blount's "B**ch Mode" t-shirt wasn't very funny, nor was it necessary. But your letter wasn't about one t-shirt. Nor should it define the day.
Meanwhile, this was terrific:
Gronk opening a beer with his teeth, chugging it, then spiking the can. All while wearing a Despicable Me minion hat https://t.co/DbTaKsp3AL— Peter Quill (@apattwhatup) February 4, 2015
As was this:
And well deserved.
It's easy for any of us to pass judgment on the Patriots' antics Wednesday.
We have not practiced, played, won, or lost, in their shoes.
It's often very difficult to give credit to any team that beats your team, especially after a deflating loss such as Sunday's 28-24 nut-crusher.
You want to lash out at anything and everything.
Patriots fans know this all too well.
David Tyree. 18-1. Tom Coughlin. Manning-to-Manningham. The Giants won Super Bowl XLII and XLVI. The Patriots lost. Twice. By a combined seven points.
The Giants whooped it up after each game, as did about 20 million New Yorkers and former Jets fans.
We never whined about what was said during those parades through the Canyon of Heroes. We gave Coughlin and his Kryptonite props. We scratched our heads thinking about well how Eli played.
Boston fans took that "beating" from New York, as they did pretty much each year from 1919-2003.
We focused our ire and anger on why our teams lost/sucked, as much as we did on hating New York. We despised "Billy Martin and his Brownshirts" because they always won, and they cheap-shoted Bill Lee.
No one ever complained about a celebration.
Credit where credit is due. Plenty of "Boston Sucks!"
Boston fans have tasted multiple courses of failure in the postseason, as well.
The Red Sox would lose Game 7 of the World Series four consecutive times from 1946-86.
In just the past 30 years, the Celtics crumbled in Game 7 to the Lakers in 2010 despite having the lead in the final quarter. They were also defeated by the Lakers in the 1985 and '87 Finals.
The Bruins allowed two goals in just 17 seconds in final 90 seconds before losing Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. They had to watch the Blackhawks then lift the Cup on the TD Garden Ice. They also witnessed the Edmonton Oilers hoist the Cup after a sweep and game called due to a blackout in 1988. The same outcome happened in five games just two years later.
Ask the next Bruins' fan you meet about "Too Many Men On The Ice."
The Patriots got demolished by the Bears in Super Bowl XX and were outclassed by the Packers 11 years later.
No one sulked about the "Super Bowl Shuffle."
From the Celtics' title in June of 1986, to
Varitek Vinatieri splitting the uprights in New Orleans in February of 2002, Boston did not win a pro sports championship.
That's 15 years without any titles for four teams. It took the Red Sox eight-plus decades to win a World Series crown before 2004. The Bruins went 39 years without a title before their Cup in 2011. Even the Celtics went 21 seasons between banners number 16 and 17.
The Patriots were a perennial NFL laughingstock for four decades until Brady was snagged with the 199th pick in the 2000 draft.
There's nothing spoiled in Boston except for those idiots who shut down I-93 a couple of weeks ago. We're just trying to balance the books.
One reason why the NFL is so revered and popular in this country is because the games offer finality.
One team wins. Another loses. [Save for a tie once every two or three years.]
There is no denial of the outcome.
There are few moral victories in the real world, and none the football field.
When you win, you get to celebrate, as do your fans.
In whatever way you choose.
The losing team, and their fans, don't get to complain.
It is one of the few areas of society that does not offer 50 shades of grey.
The loss Seattle endured in Super Bowl XLIX will leave you, Amanda, and the rest of your fellow Seahawks fans in emotional bondage for a long time.
There is no quick cure for this pain. Nor is there a "safe word."
Here's some advice for you and your fellow Seattle fans. Stay away from ESPN, Fox Sports 1, or the NFL Network. Butler's interception will be viewed billions of times before the end of time.
It will, in all likelihood, take another Super Bowl win for your team and its fan base to move past this. I'm not so sure your coach can survive this emotionally. His interview on the TODAY Show Thursday was troubling for any human being to watch.
It's hard to be all "rah-rah" when the entire world outside New England thinks you screwed up on the biggest stage imaginable.
Losses do horrible things when it comes to "Team Chemistry," as well. If you think the finger pointing and recriminations were intense earlier this season when the Seahawks were struggling, buckle your seat-belts for this offseason.
When you wave your "No. 12" flags next season, everyone at Century Link Field will see Brady lifting the Lombardi Trophy somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of their football minds.
It doesn't go away.
The antics from Wednesday's parade are the least of your football concerns. Criticizing the Patriots' parade behavior, or pointing fingers at fate, will not make you feel any better.
Been there. Done that. It does not work.
You and your fellow Seahawks supporters have far more pressing football issues to conquer.
The good news for us is that there's no reason to believe Boston's run of championship success is over.
"The Decade of Dominance" is morphing into "The Big Score."*
* - [Copyright, 2015 - Obnoxious Boston Fan]
You can't win a Super Bowl without some good fortune. Or in the case of the Seahawks, reach the Super Bowl. You're free to accuse the Patriots of "cheating" this year, but you'll be hard-pressed to produce any real-world evidence besides the musings of Bill Nye "The Former Engineer Turned TV Guy."
Jerry Rice went all self-righteous against Brady before he admitting he used Stick-Em when it was illegal.
A real pain in the asterisk.
There's only one thing on the playground worse than a "cheater."
That's a "sore loser."
It's very unbecoming.
These Boston championships have come from a combination of hard work by the players, lots of preparation by the coaches, shrewd moves by upper management, and a willingness of ownership to spend money where often others won't.
To wit: Seattle could not even keep its NBA franchise in Seattle.
The last team of note to leave Boston was the Braves back in 1952.
Boston also boasts a devoted fan base that is willing to pump millions of dollars into its teams by buying tickets, luxury boxes, refreshments, swag, and patronize the sponsors who advertise on their telecasts. These fans turn out in droves whenever a Boston team is on the road. You've seen it in Seattle. In places like Baltimore, Miami, and St. Petersburg, they can't remember a time without it.
We don't need a "12th Man." We have about 12 million of them across New England. And countless more scattered around the globe.
I live in Central Florida. [This is a result of my past work, my wife's law practice, and the fact that my two organ transplants were performed here -- hence my doctors are here.]
That's the wonderful thing about being a Boston partisan when I'm not playing journalist.
One is never alone.
I cannot drive more than 30 minutes around Orlando without seeing a Red Sox or Patriots bumper sticker. I've connected with fellow obnoxious Boston fans from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, England, the Philippines, and in just about every state with the internet. And where ever the U.S. military is serving to keep us all safe -- including at Joint Base Lewis-McChord -- there are Boston fans in its ranks.
We are like much like cockroaches, or Twinkies. We are everywhere. We're there even if you can't see us. And we will be there long after the apocalypse.
I first saw your letter on the TurtleBoySports.Com website.
I will add this to their critique:
The best way to prevent anyone from trash talking is to beat them.
That's pretty much it. If your team talks trash when they win, you and they must expect it when they lose. That's the way of the sports world in 2015.
You can lament all you want about "arrogant and unprofessional behavior."
In the NFL, winning is professional. Losing isn't.
Just ask all those wonderful human beings and coaches who lost their jobs in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
They were well-behaved at home on Wednesday, watching the Patriots celebrate.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Bill has reported for ESPN, CBSSports.Com, and was a sports/deputy sports editor at the Orlando Sentinel, Denver Post, and several other newspapers. Reach Bill on the OBF Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
OBF email Address. Thanks always for reading.
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