It is not easy being a Patriots fan ‘from away’

Trust me on this one, it is not easy being a New England Patriots fan “from away,” especially in Raider Nation. No one in Raider Nation is ever going to give up the fight when it comes to the tuck rule from the January 2002 playoff game. And Stockton, Calif., is Raider Nation territory.

Of course, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year and two other Super Bowls in the past decade.

I cannot seem to find an electronic version of the column I wrote about that victory, but here is one from a couple years later when the team won again.

Sweet taste of victory

Editor’s Note: The author was the opinion page editor of The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first published on Feb. 4, 2004.

By Keith Michaud

So let’s talk sports. Specifically, let’s talk football. Let’s talk Super Bowl XXXVIII.

For a game that was supposed to be a boring, low-scoring matchup between two defensively-minded teams, wow! I mean, WOW!

I’ve been a New England Patriots fan since I was knee high to Pats owner Bob Kraft, who isn’t that tall. So when Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning field goal two years ago to cap off the Patriots’ first-ever Super Bowl win, I was ecstatic.

No one can imagine what it was like for me on Sunday when Vinatieri, after a season in which he struggled terribly, kicked another Super Bowl-winning field goal with just seconds on the game clock. I was flying so high that I had to file a flight plan. The FAA is thinking of issuing me a tail number if the Patriots return a championship game any time soon.

It was a glorious season for the Patriots, a team that won 15 games in a row, the 15th being on Sunday. Coached by men who rarely showed all their cards, this team was made up of castoffs from other teams and players thought too slow or lacking in necessary skills to play the game of professional football. Perish the thought.

I truly feel sorry for those poor souls who decided to skip the game based on the notion it was going to be a snorer or decided after watching the first quarter to catch a movie or dinner out. They missed a great game.

And forget all the hype. Forget the pregame that seemed to go on for 40 days and 40 nights. Forget the scoreless first 27 minutes of the game. Forget the glitz, the glamour, the streaker and, please, oh, please, forget Janet Jackson’s exposed breast.

And please forget talk – shhh – of a “dynasty.” We New England-born folks are more practical than that, more show-me than Missourians ever thought of being. If the Patriots return to the Super Bowl in the next year or two with the same core of no-name players and win a third title, then maybe – perhaps – on long, cold winter’s nights we New England-born fans of the Patriots will discuss the “D” word, but only in hushed tones. Only then, because you don’t want to mess with a good thing.

And while you are at it, forget about weapons of mass destruction. Forget about ricin. Forget about the Democratic candidates for the presidency. Forget the state budget. And forget anything to do with the Atkins Diet. Sunday’s was a great Super Bowl, whether you are a die-hard football fan or not, whether you were a fan of either team involved. For a few hours this American game allowed us all to forget many of the woes burdening us today. In doing that, it served its purpose.

The Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaquars 35-7 today to clinch yet another playoff berth. Things are looking good moving into the playoffs, I think.

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