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Another Patriots Title Defense Begins and the Crowds are Pret-tay, Pret-tay Impressive

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time in the far off, distant pass when the conventional wisdom was that the good people of New England weren’t interested in the Patriots any more. That their loyalty had peaked. Their emotional connection had started to wane. The novelty of having a pro football franchise had worn off, and they had moved on with their lives.

I’m not talking about the old AFL days when training camp was held on the playground at a local elementary school or the days when they were always at risk of being sold and moved or the late 90s when they held camp at Bryant College in Smithfield, RI and the most popular jersey among the couple of hundred people who bothered to show up was Michael Bishop. Those are all stories for another time. I’m talking about now.

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It was just a couple of years ago and last January in the midst of another Super Bowl run that would end in a Duckboat parade that drew 1.5 million people into Boston on a Tuesday that John Henry’s Boston Globe was pushing the narrative that New England was getting sick and tired of being fed up with SO being over all this winning. We were wavering and the excitement had dimmed and we were ready to turn our attention to Red Sox Truck Day and where to get the best Dim Sum in Brookline and whatever else The Globe would rather we be interested in.

Yeah, about that. Another opening to Patriots training camp, another massive throng lining up outside the gates in the early morning ours like the Barbarians laying siege to Rome. On a weekday. To watch a padless, helmet and shorts practice that is little more than a walk through.

This is not a Red Sox vs. Patriots thing. Bless their hearts, I hope the Sox figure it out and slip into one of the Wild Card spots and #DoDamage all over again. This is a Patriots thing. This is a football thing. In spite of all the doomsday prophecies that the sport is standing in its own grave, it continues to be Master of the Universe. And in spite of all the talk about Patriots Success Fatigue starting to spread among the populace, the absolute reverse is true.

The winning is a powerfully addictive drug. So is all the negativity. The more we hear this team get its ass dragged as arrogant cheaters and their accomplishments get dismissed by a nation that hates their very existence, the greater the connection we have with the franchise. The more the league comes at them and changes the rules to try and stop them, the more motivated we get to watch this unfathomable run of success continue forever. And to not miss a second. From the first rep of camp to the next Duckboat parade. “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” And I for one couldn’t be prouder to be one of them.