Okay, okay… I’m a New England Patriots fan. I was first and foremost in my life a Boston Red Sox fan, with little interest in football. However, as time passed, an interest in football sparked itself and grew in my psyche. Since I was a Sox fan, it was natural, therefore, to become a Patriots fan. This was long, long before the Brady era, so I can’t be accused of simply hitching my fan wagon to a winner.
As a longtime Red Sox fan, I knew the very meaning of the word: frustration. Furthermore, I became a Pats fan during the Plunkett/Bledsoe eras. They seemed to be doing pretty well with Drew Bledsoe, so I was disheartened when he went down to injury and turned the quarterbacking duties over to the little-known Tom Brady.
He’s not so little-known nowadays. Some — Many? Most? — are calling him the GOAT — an acronym for Greatest Of All Time. Typically, you don’t want to be tagged with that moniker, because it usually means you were the guy most responsible for losing the game for the team. However, I suspect Brady’s probably okay with it in its other meaning.
After the dust has settled, I’m amazed at the parallels that people saw between the Patriots’ season in 2016-2017 and the Super Bowl outcome, and the 2016 election. I see them as well, but the outcome of the game made it almost eerie. Here are a few uncontroversial observations:
- You know that those on the political left (Yes, everything has a political angle. Everything.) were desperately rooting for Brady, Belichick and the Patriots to lose. Brady and Belichick made no bones about their Republican sentiments, and especially their affection for President Trump. And, you and I both know that one of the reasons for which the left were rooting against the Patriots was because of their name.
- Even I, yes I, was pulling for the Patriots; first, because I’ve long been a Pats fan, but also because Brady and Belichick are Republican-leaning. In Massachusetts, that‘s courageous!
- During the game, those on the political left were rejoicing! The Atlanta Falcons were cleaning the Patriots’ clock. Well into the third quarter, Atlanta was in the lead by a score of 28-3.
- The biggest deficit from which any team had ever come back in the Super Bowl was 10 points — a mere two score difference — and that was accomplished by the Patriots themselves two years previously.(1)
- When the score was 28-3 in favor of Atlanta, odds makers gave the odds against the Patriots to be 99.5-0.5 against them. I was unconvinced. I thought the odds against the Patriots were a lot worse than that.
- That set the stage for a Trumpian comeback by the Patriots. And the Trump fans — Brady and Belichick — didn’t disappoint.
- There’s a parallel: Everyone said of Trump: He has no “path to 270.”(2) In the Super Bowl, when the score was 28-3, no one — myself included — saw for the Patriots any “path to more points than the Atlanta Falcons.” When I went to bed on Election night 2016, I — and the rest of the United States — were convinced that Hillary Clinton had convincingly beaten Trump. When I went to bed on Super Bowl Sunday — well before the game was over — I — and the rest of the United States — were sure that Atlanta had resoundingly beaten my Patriots. I — and the rest of the United States — were wrong on both counts.
- Another parallel: After Atlanta had thumped the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC championship, and earn their spot in the Super Bowl, I thought to myself, how does anyone beat that team? So, going into the game, I was pretty sure the Falcons would beat the Pats. Just as the country — including, by the way, Donald Trump — had collectively said to themselves: how does anyone beat Clinton?
- There were, to be sure, signs that the Falcons were not invincible. Their record was, after all, only something like 11-5. Just as there were signs that Hillary was beatable: for example, people openly admitted that they had heard many say they hid their support for Trump and Republicans.
- As well, there were signs that the Patriots weren’t that much worse than the Falcons, if at all: They also thumped their opponents — the Pittsburgh Steelers — to make it into the Super Bowl. Furthermore, odds makers made the Patriots three-point favorites going into the game. I was astonished at that.
- However, nearing the end of the third quarter of the Super Bowl — the rough equivalent of 8:00pm Eastern Time, Election night — everyone in the country considered both the New England Patriots and Donald Trump to be massive underdogs, with hardly a prayer of winning that evening.
- Both the Patriots and Trump are now, to complete the parallels: the World Champs.
- Another parallel: the Trump-associated team won. The team for which the left was rooting lost … and kind of ignominiously. Just as on Election night, 2016.
- One more parallel: My now 16-year old son was a big Trump supporter(3), and is also a big Patriots fan(4). On both Election night, 2016 and Super Bowl Sunday, he was in despair that his “teams” were going to go down to defeat. He was pleasantly surprised in both cases. I’m guessing that particular parallel — Trump/Patriots supporters who were convinced each time that their team would come up short — was very common throughout the United States.
Below are the lessons that we all should have learned from both Election night, 2016, and Super Bowl Sunday, 2017.
- Don’t bet against Donald Trump.
- Don’t bet against Tom Brady.
- Never bet against true patriots.
- Don’t bet against the United States.
- Saint Jude (5) clearly loves us.
- There’s always hope. Always!
- Don’t give me none o’ your lip.
Oh… forget about #7(6).
(1) As well as by two other teams previously.
(2) Two hundred seventy electoral votes are needed to claim victory in the Presidential election.
(3) He was one of those who kept his mouth shut about it, as two of his teachers said — true story — that any Trump supporters were unwelcome in her classroom. This to a class of high schoolers!
(4) Really big. He’s 6’5″ tall, slim and well-muscled, and an outstanding, and improving, volleyball player in New England volleyball. As a Middle Blocker, he’s an intimidating presence at net. They call him the Great Wall.
(5) The patron saint of hopeless causes.
(6) I’m not sure how that snuck, in there. It’s, really, your choice as to whether you wish to comply. Some find it salutary and helpful.