Full disclosure – I am a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Tom Brady is one of my favorite athletes to ever walk the earth and I make no effort to hide that Brady is my man crush every day.
However, I have never been a fan of the Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics. It’s not that I dislike them, it’s just that I have never been a fan. My family hails from New England, New Haven, Connecticut, to be exact. My father was a Celtics fan, but it just never caught on like the Patriots did. Nor did any of the other Boston sports franchises.
I grew up in Daytona Beach, an hour away from Orlando. Home of the Magic, Shaq and Penny. I was obsessed as a child. Penny Hardaway was my hero, my favorite number was one, Just like his jersey. Eventually, I matured and realized Orlando’s front office was run by amateurs and would never be good. That, along with NBA superstars joining forces to create super teams, completely turned me off. Currently, I have no NBA team, unless the Kentucky Wildcats count, and have focused all my energy and emotions on the Patriots.
I love Boston. Everything about it. The city has a charm, beautiful buildings, apparently some history and Patriots fans. It is the ultimate sports town. They haven’t had enough winning. They never will. Fans in Beantown don’t take advantage of their sports success. They’re faithful to Boston until they die. Ask how many titles the city needs to win to satisfy the fans and they all say the same thing – more. They’re insatiable. They can’t get enough.
We pulled into Boston twenty hours after New England won their sixth Lombardi Trophy. All in the last 19 years, all with the same owner, coach and quarterback. The city was buzzing, almost as if they were happy to be champions in anything for the first time in forever. Never mind the World Series titles for the Sox in ’04, ‘07, ’13 and ’18. Forget the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in ’11 or the Celtics hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy ’08, Boston was starving for another title.
Fans still had a sour taste in their mouths from last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Recent championships in ’14 and ’16 did nothing to cushion any of the blow delivered by the loss to the Eagles. The only thing that would erase the memory of that painful defeat would be to come right back and win.
We came in expecting a pumped-up crowd ready to see their favorite Pat riding down Boylston Street in Boston’s famed duck boats. We questioned whether the crowd would be as big in years past, we questioned if people wanted to fight the traffic to see what they’ve already seen so many times before. After all, these fans had seen a championship parade just 96 days ago.
We got our answer around 9:30 AM Tuesday when Copley Square had become inundated with people from all over the East Coast proudly wearing Patriot red. We couldn’t see just thousands, we could see hundreds of thousands lined up along the parade route. We would later learn over a million-people attended the parade.
It was unlike anything I had ever seen. To my right, two nine-year-old boys, yelling at the top of their lungs. To my left, High School girls screaming owner Robert Kraft name as if he were just an older Jonas Brother. Behind me, a lovely older woman who expressed her interest early – seeing Gronk shirtless.
It was a wild scene as the duck boats rolled by. Robert Kraft wearing jewelry gifted by Meek Mill, Bill Belichick with a smile, and of course, Rob Gronkowski chugging beer and win while shirtless. Couldn’t ask for anything more at a championship parade, right? Wrong. The loudest, most repeated chant of the day; “We want seven!”
I love Boston.