The New England Patriots have had a hard road as an NFL team. Between 1959 and 1970 the franchise played in four different fields (including Boston University Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park and Boston College Alumni Stadium), until finally finding a home at Foxborough in 1971. They played their first game at Schaefer Stadium on Aug 15, 1971, defeating the Giants 20-14. Since then, the New England Patriots have had their ups and down. They earned a wild card berth in 1976 , but lost to the Oakland Raiders 24-21. Despite having some outstanding players over the years, the Patriots never managed to achieve any greatness. Unfortunately, their loss in Super Bowl XX to the Chicago Bears with a score of 46-10 embarrassed the franchise greatly. It was a long period languishing in mediocrity for the New England Patriots in the mid 1980’s to mid 1990’s.

Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994, promising to bring a an NFL championship to New England. In 1996 the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl again, but lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, 35-21. Things were looking up for the New England Patriots, however, and they hired Bill Belichick as head coach in 2000, who molded the Patriots in the course of a year into a team capable of competing with the elite teams in the NFL. In 2001 the Patriots had a new stadium and all the pieces were in place, when disaster and magic happened at the same time. In the 2nd game of the 2001 season, Drew Bledsoe was injured and the backup Tom Brady was substituted. Bledsoe returned in game 3, but wasn’t quite right and Brady in the two games he appeared in was unimpressive. Once he found his zone, however, he was amazing and has been so ever since. It’s been a great decade of Patriots football since Tom Brady lead the Pats to their 1st Super Bowl victory in 2002 – and the Patriots are 3 for 4 in Super Bowl chances in that time and hungry for more. Interesting Fact – All 4 of those Super Bowls were decided by 3 points (that’s a sobering perspective):

2/3/2002 Super Bowl XXXVI: Pats – 20 ; Rams – 17
2/1/2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII: Pats 32 ; Panthers – 29
2/6/2005 Super Bowl XXXIX: Pats – 24 ; Eagles – 21
2/3/2008 Super Bowl XLII: Pats – 14 ; Giants – 17

So, don’t hate the Patriots because they are great. They have struggled long and hard to have this decade of success. They are great because they have struggled and eventually found their stride. Sure, it has come all at once and is equalling the kind of greatness that storied franchises have enjoyed for a long time. The New England Patriots are enjoying the kind of success that is rarely seen in sports and that is something to be applauded. The patriots are great because they have a good stadium, good management, good coaching, good players and good fans. That’s a recipe for success. This is not something that has always been there, but came over time, hard work, circumstance and perseverance.

I am favoring the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, and I composed a Pats vs. Giants poem in tribute: Here is the pre game tribute:

Do Not Go Gentle (Pre-Game)

Do not go gentle into an over confident role,
Patriots confuse and confound at opening play;
Rage, rage against Giants this Super Bowl.

Patriots pass, drive and find the hole,
Let Patriot deeds find Giants in dismay;
Do not go gentle into that good Super Bowl.

Offense, defense, special teams, all with soul;
Patriots remember 2008, and aim to take the day;
Rage, rage against Giants this Super Bowl.

Wild men, encounter any Giant in flight,
Challenge him to fumble on his way;
Do not go gentle into that good Super Bowl.

Giants will stumble without sight,
Patriots will have perfect vision this day;
Rage, rage against Giants this Super Bowl.

The outcome will surprise and delight,
Patriots are looking for Giants to slay;
Do not go gentle into that good Super Bowl.

BMW 1/26/2012

Do not go gentle – Super Bowl XLVI – Something to enjoy what ever side you are on…