“How excited are you?!!!”
This is how most non-Patriots fans are trying to relate to supporters of the franchise this week. On paper it seems like an all-time Sunday evening in New England. The first (and likely only) time we’ll be able to see Brady vs. Belichick.
If you are firmly on one side of this battle, then this might seem like an enjoyable time. If you’re like me and other Patriots fans who still love Belichick and also still love Brady (even if we wish he’d stayed), well this sucks.
Really, no good can come from this.
The Patriots still might have a bright non-Brady future. Their present is anything but with a struggling offensive line and a defense that no longer gets big stops.
Brady’s Buccaneers look primed for another deep postseason run. He is also set to break the all-time NFL passing yards record on Sunday night.
This is actually special for Patriots fans to have Brady do this in his true home stadium. The problem is, on Monday morning he’ll be gone and the Patriots will likely be 1-3.
There have been, and will be, countless stories on the history of these two and the importance of this matchup. There still might be people in your life who can’t grasp why Sunday looks to be painful for so many Patriots fans.
Here’s my take on a final metaphor that should help you get the point across to those people.
There’s a lot of talk about how Sunday’s game is comparable to an ex visiting town with their new partner. Showing off the happy life they have found elsewhere.
This is deeper than that. This is 20 years of history. It’s family.
You can’t just gloss over a family rift or say, “Hey, it’s kind of like this.” You have to go deep. The stakes are unbelievably high, to the point where the result might only make one person actually happy.
And the effects this has on the rest of the family can’t be ignored. No one likes picking sides or telling someone they love they’re in the wrong. It all sucks and it’s all bad.
So, to properly put into context how much Sunday sucks for Patriots, we need to look at it through a family lens.
Imagine your dad and your older brother form a wonderful team. To keep it topical, let’s say they decorate your house for Halloween better than anyone else.
In 20 years, your house has been voted the best decorated house in the state SIX times. It’s an unprecedented amount. There have been books written about your family and this house.
Houses on Pittsburgh Avenue, Dallas Lane and San Francisco Boulevard used to be viewed as the top of the class. But your father and older brother put your house into the conversation with those old standards, and many think your house is better than all of them.
Then it happens.
Your older brother grows tired of your father never giving him enough credit. He feels like he’s viewed as just another family member, and not the 50/50 partner he feels he is in the family’s success. Not only that, but he wants more of a say in the theme of each year’s decorations.
He wants a voice equal to your father’s, and your father think that’s absurd.
And honestly, so do you. Your father is the leader of all this. Your older brother is great, but he only focuses on the front lawn decorations. Your father helps with the front lawn, but he’s also got the side yards and the roof to put together.
But that doesn’t matter to your older brother. He’s had enough. And he knows of a neighborhood down south that will allow him to do what he wants.
So, he leaves. You father says he wanted him to stay, but you think maybe he’s happy to be alone in the spotlight as well. He wants the opportunity to win House of the Year on his own.
And you’re still in the house. You love your older brother, but he’s not there anymore. Your father is and your instinct is you have to keep rooting for the house you live in to keep bringing home awards.
Then Halloween comes. Your older brother puts together an all-time presentation. He’s got fast, athletic guys from the neighborhood playing terrifying zombies. He gets your cousin, who hurt himself falling off a ladder when you made the 6-story mutated goat, to come out of retirement to help him. He’s got a line of security guys making sure no neighborhood kids steal the plastic skeletons in the middle of the night.
Your father? Well he just kind of got a bunch of randoms together. One guy even comes to opening night dressed like Santa’s elf. He brings in someone who used to be one of the scariest people around to take the place of your brother. The problem is that guy keeps throwing pumpkins through car windshields. It’s a disaster.
Meanwhile, your older brother wins House of the Year.
You still have faith in your father though. He’s been too good for too long to doubt him. Your brother had success in his first try, but your father will win the war.
Your father spends the next few months buying all the decorations he can. Real primo stuff. Smoke machines with different colored fog. An animatronic Freddy Krueger that can predict the weather. An inflatable Slimer that actually shoots out slime.
Your older brother just brings everything back from last year.
Then you start to notice your father’s house isn’t coming together as planned. The Slimer won’t inflate and the Freddy Krueger only speaks Turkish. Plus, the werewolf display that was one of the only good things about last year? Yeah, now their arms keeping falling off.
And it’s come to this. On Sunday, your father and older brother are having a fist fight.
The whole state is tuning in. It’s winner take all. And even though the fight won’t truly decide who was the main reason for all their past success, everyone is going to think it will. Whoever wins, it was all them.
There’s no way around it. It’s scheduled, rain or shine. Two men you love, and no matter what happens, one is going to lose at the hands of the other.
Now some in the family have gone fully over to one side or the other. They want embarrassment. They want blood.
The majority of the family? They just want it to be over. And mercifully, at 1130pm on Sunday, it will be. But no one is really going to be happy about whoever wins.
So that’s what you can say to anyone in your life that doesn’t understand why you are not even 1% excited for one of the most anticipated football games in history. After Sunday, one team is going to have another loss on their record. Most Patriots fans feel like we’ve already lost.
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