The first time I ever met a Patriots fan was 10 days after my 20th birthday. It was week 1 of the 2002 season, the Steelers and Patriots held the first-ever regular season game in Gillette, a rematch of the previous season’s AFC Title Game. Only where I was watching the game, there wasn’t one of them, there was somehow a crowd of Pats fans. I honestly couldn’t believe it. Where had these people been during the run the previous year? Or, more to the point, at any point ever?
Back in high school, I remember a discussion me and my friends had about which team jerseys you would never see anyone wearing in public. We hashed out the following: the Cardinals, Jaguars, Seahawks and Patriots (I’m sure the Texans would join that list if it were made after the 2002 season and the Seahawks would probably be off it now). Granted this was made by a bunch of teenagers outside D.C., so regional factors had something to do with it, but of all those teams, the Pats had the least excuses. They had been to two Super Bowls. We were on the East Coast, hardly far from their territory. Red Sox hats, those were easy to pick out. So why not even so much as one Bledsoe jersey?
It’s not as though Pats fans didn’t exist, but the only place I ever stumbled upon them was AOL chats when the Steelers and Patriots exchanged playoff wins in ’96 and ’97. Still, the change from near nonexistent fanbase to ’90s Cowboys-esque bandwagon practically overnight was staggering and unlike anything I’d ever seen in sports.
I didn’t hate the Pats after the ’01 loss, at least no more than the Chargers and Broncos teams that had won in the playoffs in Three Rivers in the ’90s. The gloating, smug fans I’d met in ’02 got the hate ball rolling. Then as the years wore on, the fans got more omnipresent, the team got more cocky, more fawned upon by the media and added dicksmacks like Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, Vince Wilfork and Randy Moss.
Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying I hope every Pats fan gets run through with a broadsword so they can watch their viscera leak all over their goddamn John Lynch jerseys. Go the most ethnically diverse corner of Hell, you racist Masshole fucks.
Also, the NFL is encouraging me to embrace my hateful impulses this holiday season by scheduling the Steelers against the Patriots, Cowboys and Ravens the next three weeks.