By: Brianna Pirre
All my life I’ve been certain of one thing: I love football. For as long as I can remember that’s been as important to me as air. If I’m not watching it, I’m talking about it. If I’m not talking about it, I’m damn sure thinking about it. Add the New England Patriots to the mix and boom... My life.
I'm so thankful I grew up a Boston sports fan. I've seen ten championships since 2002. Ten parades, ten banner unveilings, ten great teams. When you think of greatness in Boston though, especially right now, you think of the Patriots. I was in the stadium to see the fifth (FIFTH!!!!!!!) banner risen and I'm not even going to try to lie, I bawled my eyes out. They were happy tears of course, why wouldn't they be? I was just so overcome with emotion. The game of football has made cry more times I can count, for reasons good and bad. It's broken my heart into pieces and put it back together time and time again. But this... This was like when the Grinch's heart grows at the end of the movie. I thought it was going to literally beat out of my chest.
I think of everything I've witnessed in my lifetime as a Patriots fan, and it's mind blowing. Like yes, I really saw that. I'm alive for this. There's been players and teams in the past that I wish I was around for but if I had to choose between then and now, I'm taking now. I'm staying right here. Flashback to 2002, I was five and a half years old. This is about the age where you're really able to store long term memories, which was perfect timing. One of my first real memories is Super Bowl 36. "The Greatest Show On Turf" was a terrifying thought. 14 point favorites, back in the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. Seemed like a dead set winner, right? Wrong. And so begins the Tom Brady era, which is something I'll look back on and be thankful for forever.
I can go on forever about each of the super bowls, but that's been done time and time again. There's been so much success over the years, whether it's ended with a Lombardi trophy or not, and I've seen it all. 2007 was a painful year when it's all said and done, but I witnessed history. I watched a guy who was all but written off in his draft, throw 50 regular season touchdowns. No one had ever done that before then, but Tom did.
I've seen the greatest duo in sports history go to work year in and year out, always seemingly better than the last. Bill Belichick, the mastermind behind all this success, is without a doubt the greatest coach in football history, and maybe even in all of sports. He's my coach. Brady is my quarterback. I don't have to sit in envy every week longing to have a tandem like them, because I've got it.
If I ever got the chance to meet Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, I think the first thing I would do is thank them (after I regain consciousness because I'd probably faint). They'd probably look at me like I have seven heads. "Why is this crazy girl thanking me?" They definitely would get the crazy part right, but what they don't understand is what they've done for me. A girl from small town Connecticut, with an amazing love for the game, owing it all to two people who don't do it for the fame or the fortune. They do it because they too love the game, and I feel that's why I'm so proud to be a Patriots fan. Sure the winning helps. It helps a hell of a lot because who doesn't love to win? But to know that the leaders of this team are Brady and Belichick takes the cake. If my future children ever ask, "Mommy, you're a girl. Why do you love football?," that's what I'll tell them. I grew up with a father who loved the game, and was a fan of the greatest coach and quarterback who shared the same passion.
I'm beyond grateful to be from here, and to experience all of this. This is something that will stick with me for a lifetime. I mean honestly, how lucky am I? I'm a New Englander. There's something about this team, this region, this fan base. As I sat as high as you can sit in Gillette Stadium last night, I felt it. I don't know what it is, and I don't think I ever will, but I felt it. I was surrounded by close to 70,000 strangers all brought together by this one thing. Football. So as I stood there watching the fireworks, listening to the thousands of "LET'S GO" yells, I cried. I felt all the feels, and I've never been happier. That's when you know you love something, and man do I love Patriots' football.
Photo: Brianna Pirre