Losing Super Bowl LIII could reignite fan interest in the Patriots

Published: 2/1/2019 3:32:27 PM
Modified: 2/1/2019 3:15:06 PM
ATLANTA — As the Patriots’ winning ways have continued nonstop for nearly two decades, New England fans have grown bored and disinterested, longing for the days when the franchise lost every game, including the Super Bowl, and played in a glorified high school stadium.
How overwhelming is New England’s glory fatigue? Consider that more than 35,000 Patriots fans gathered at Gillette Stadium last weekend to send the Pats off to Super Bowl LIII, giving them an opportunity to air their grievances and beg the team not to make them come out for another bothersome victory parade next week.
The prevailing hope among Patriots fans is that the team will lose its second consecutive Super Bowl on Sunday, which might trigger the retirement of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, enabling the team to sink into a fascinating downward spiral that would make them more compelling than the current group, which has reached four of the last five Super Bowls (yawn).
Earlier this week, Belichick seemed to acknowledge that his tenuous position with the franchise could very well hinge on the outcome of Super Bowl LIII.
“As far as the future goes, right now, the future for me is Sunday night against the Rams,” Belichick said.
However, win or lose, Tom Brady said there was a “zero percent” chance he would retire, forcing the Patriots to slog through more years of his legendary greatness. At least guys like Larry Bird and David Ortiz had the decency to get out of your face before the championships started to become enough already.
Worst of all for Patriots fans is that as their interest in the team wanes, they are powerless to stop themselves from buying the team merchandise that they must be sick of. According to one Boston sports apparel store, the caps, t shirts and  pullovers are flying off the shelves.
“My Patriots gear is selling very well,” said Gibran Borbon, store manager at the ’47 brand apparel store in Boston’s posh Newbury Street shopping district.
Borbon said fans are most interested in items bearing the old Pat Patriot logo, and not the newer Flying Elvis logo, perhaps because the team has been unable to stop itself from winning under the watch of Flying Elvis.
“That’s definitely still the favorite,” Borbon said. “I’m pretty grateful to know that I have tons of recurring customers who are all locals.”
Red Sox owner John Henry also observed on Friday how rare it is for a winning team to produce such apathy and wear on its fans as the Patriots have.
“There isn’t a sport in the world in which winning leads to disinterest,” Henry said via his Twitter account.  “The streets of New England look like a barren Twilight Zone episode when (the Patriots) are playing — more so than ever.”
Indeed, it may very well take a long spate of losing in New England to restore normalcy in the region. But if Patriots fans are lucky on Sunday, the team might give its listless fan base the defeat it so desperately needs, and recharge fans with the vigor to shut down commerce, stay inside during cold weather and get excited about football for once.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.

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