Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Negative and the New England Patriots

The negative and the New England Patriots seem to go hand in hand in this region that I live. The media in this region use the negative approach very often. I was reminded of this approach recently during columns by Dan Shaughnessy regarding Manning being better than Brady. I don't have a problem with being negative when it is warranted.

The approach I take with the New England Patriots is to be objective. When the team deserves to be criticized I certainly do not have a problem letting my opinions known. When the team has done something that deserves praise I will share that view as well. I am a diehard fan of the Pats , but by no means am I a "Pom Pom Footy Pajama" follower of this team. I actually think more fans are more the former than the latter. I think Pats fans love there team, but will criticize them when they deserve it. Michael Felger has said on his radio show on 98.5 the Sports Hub, why can't fans be more objective? I am a fan that is objective.

The perception in the print media and the broadcast media by several seems to be that fans of the New England Patriots are just followers. I have heard this theme on many radio shows and read this in the print media. Tony Massarotti who I happen to enjoy reading and listening to has been extremely outspoken of Pats fans not being more critical of there team.

In my opinion he couldn't be more wrong. I listen to his show and hear many fans being critical of the Pats. There are also many Pats fans websites where fans are posting there opinions on the Pats. For example, I would argue that I have read and heard on the radio, support for Vince Wilfork against the management of the New England Patriots. I have also heard many fans not happy with Bill Belichick's approach to not having any coordinators. I completely agree that this philosophy is wrong. Does that mean that I am not a loyal fan? No, it means that I am an objective fan. I am just not completely negative enough for the local media.

Why does the media want the fans of the New England Patriots to be more negative? I have actually heard Tony Massarotti claim that you can't be a real fan if you can't criticize your team. I agree that you should be critical as a fan but to what extent? My theory is that Massarotti and other media members that feel similar to him want Pats fans to be more like Red Sox fans.

The teams fanbases I would argue are very different. The Red Sox fans are very critical and are very outspoken. There is nothing wrong with that. The Sox fan base is built up from generations of disappointment over decades. The negative has been passed on from generation to generation. It is easy to criticize the Red Sox. The games are much more frequent and the manager's daily moves can be broken down on a moment's notice for criticism. Personally I am tired of the daily grind of negativity with the Red Sox.

The New England Patriots are only 4o years old. The fanbase does not have the generational disappointment of the Sox fan. Yes, the Pats went to a Super Bowl in the 80's but even then the Pats weren't a respected franchise. Everything changed when Bill Parcells became coach and a year later Bob Kraft bought the franchise. Before these changes the New England Patriots were a laughing stock of an organization. The fanbase really did not see much success until the Parcell's version of the New England Patriots.

With this combination of new ownership and a Super Bowl winning coach a new era was born for the fanbase of the Pats. The franchise took it to the next level with the success of Bill Belichick in the last decade. This fanbase I believe is so happy to be associated with a winner they have taken that approach. The Pats fan expects to win and not to lose. This is more of a positive outlook on there team. The Red Sox fan tends to be more negative and expecting the worst to happen.

In my opinion the Pats fan is more of "glass is half full" fan. The Red Sox fan tends to be more of a "glass half empty" fan. There is nothing wrong with either approach. The fanbases are both rabid and deserve respect. The media should understand the differences between the bases. There is nothing wrong with being objective and positive. There is also nothing wrong with being negative. We all are fans who care.

I think the negative in the media could be a generational situation. Your older writers such as Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy, Nick Cafardo, and Ron Borges tend to focus more on the negative in my opinion. Being negative doesn't make you objective. Younger writers such as Mike Reiss and Albert Breer to me are more objective on the Pats. They both have been critical of the New England Patriots, but also have written positive articles on the team.

I was brought up to be more positive in life. I also take an objective approach as well. I don't focus on the negative. I guess the "middle ground" is to be objective as possible. I just wish this approach was taken more on the New England Patriots and there fans by the media.

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