Dolphins Dismantle Patriots – Color Me Overjoyed
September 21, 2008
I could tell you until I’m blue in the face that the New England Patriots franchise has created a class of fans that are dark in both deed and spirit. But I don’t want to color your opinion without some perspective, so I’ll paint a picture for you.
Since 1972, I’ve gone to nearly every Miami Dolphins game played in Foxborough, MA. I’ve been a Dolphins fan since before people called them the fish. Since before Dan Marino. Since before Ricky Williams. And since before any Patriots Super Bowl wins.
This year I chose not to attend the game in Foxborough for two reasons. First, I was able to donate the seats I would have used to charity and raise money for Crohn’s Disease and cancer research. Second, the fans here in New England have become far more arrogant and annoying than any fans I’ve met in my 40+ years of attending professional sporting events.
Pats fans are now the Yankees fans of the NFL, but it wasn’t always this way.
I remember going to Foxborough dressed in my leather-sleeved, wool Dolphins jacket. I would wear my Bob Griese shirt and other Dolphins gear, too. And the reception I received – regardless of the game’s outcome – was respectful and polite.
In recent years I’ve been threatened by ignorant, short-bus candidates from Patriots’ nation. They seemingly attend the games only to get drunk and berate anyone within shouting distance. This frequently includes the referees and the players on the opposing team. But it often degenerates into belittling and insulting any fans around them who have come to Foxborough to see the Patriots lose.
There is certainly a degree of competitiveness that comes out when you’re rooting for your team, and I can see that in many cases the enthusiasm for the Patriots is harmless. But it only takes one idiot to put the blood-red stain of evil on the entire fan base.
Take for instance the hit and run killing in New Hampshire earlier this year. In that incident, the victim was allegedly run down because a Yankees/Red Sox discussion turned ugly. How long until a Patriots fan does the same thing to someone from out of town?
I’m not saying I’ve ever feared for my life, and the Patriots’ management has instituted far harsher rules for fan behavior than I’ve ever seen in other parks. But is that chicken or the egg activity? And is it driven by dollars and cents rather than compassion and sense? I can’t say.
Ultimately, I’m just happy that the Patriots lost badly this week and that the experience will play itself out repeatedly for the next two weeks (Pats have a bye this week) as they try to figure out what went wrong.
I hope the loss also gives Pats fans a touch of humility and the understanding that their team has some shortcomings. The last loss the Patriots suffered before today’s was more than a year ago to these very same Miami Dolphins.
That day, the uniforms on the backs of the Dolphins were bright orange. I’m sure it doesn’t matter to Belichick, the Patriots or their fans what color took them down a peg today. I’m just glad it was the Dolphins who were able to put another black mark on the Patriots’ record.