I've mentioned this ridiculous scene at Gillette Monday night, but not enough.
In my time wandering the Earth in my never-ending search for meaning, Gillette Stadium and Foxboro Stadium before it, have been my place of pilgrimage. Ever since my older brothers used to take me because the team was awful and the facility worse and people were, in the most literal sense, giving tickets away.
And in all these years, I've witnessed some things that would make anyone question their faith in humanity. Brawls ever five minutes. Drunks climbing the 30-foot chain link fence rather than wait in line through the exit, only to barrel roll down the 45 degree embankment head first down to the parking lot. One time when the Pats clinched a playoff spot, people stormed the field, tore down the goalposts, carried them out the exit, down the hill, across the parking lot and then up Route 1. Only to find out what happens when thin-walled steel hits a high tension wire. (The dopes responsible survived, sued for millions, and won. I've always hoped whatever part of their body got cooked, it was their reproductive organs.) One time my brothers and I came out of a game to find a car near ours burned to a crisp because the owner slid a hot charcoal grill underneath to keep it out of the rain. There was a blowout Monday Night game that got so drunkenly out of control, police ran out of lockup space and handcuffed guys to a chainlink fence. When I brought my 11 year old son to a game once, we were collateral damage on a beer someone threw. I turned around to find a guy screaming in the face of a lady who couldn't have been a day under 80. Only to be told the reason he was yelling at her was because she threw the beer.
I could do this all day. I've got a million of them. But you get my point, that I've seen some shit. But nothing has gone up my keister sideways like seeing Pats fans acting like this. In two decades-plus run of unimaginable success that is beyond the wildest comprehension of the hopeless, downtrodden masses we used to be, acting entitled.
And I'm happy to report that Devin McCourty, whom I'm on record as calling the second best player of the Patriots Dynasty era, agrees with me:
Source - In his weekly guest spot Friday on “The Greg Hill Show,” the Patriots stalwart gave an honest response when asked about Mac Jones getting booed at Gillette Stadium Monday night."I’ve been here a long time. I’ve been booed. We’ve been booed. Tom’s been booed,” said McCourty. “I understand as a veteran, we play in an area that’s very spoiled in what it expects from the team. When I got here, everything was about, ‘How do you win three Super Bowls?’ When you’re in the NFL for a while, you realize, we got that down, but that’s not a normal task at hand to say, ‘You’ve got to win three Super Bowls to be considered a good football team.’ I think it kind of is what is is, and overall, we’ve been really focused this week on trying to get a win."
No one's saying you can't boo. There are moments when a team is playing way beneath what is expected of them, putting in way too little effort, and deserves a verbal kick in the ass. At times like that, booing is the only rational response of a logical mind.
Chanting for Bailey Zappe when Mac Jones has had a couple of 3 & outs is neither rational nor logical. It's acting like 20,000 or so Veruka Salts. Meaning it's getting what you want - a promising young quarterback to replace the great one you lost, getting a phenomenal rookie season out of him where he takes you back to the playoffs after only missing one year - and as soon as he struggles coming back from his the first injury of his career, stomping your foot, insisting that he's not what you want and demanding that dadday give you the other, better thing.
It's beneath the behavior of a fanbase that's seen an unprecedented amount of winning. Beneath contempt. Worse, it's fucking embarrassing:
And I'm glad one of the best leaders in franchise history is willing to say it.
Let this be a wake up call to the Real Housewives of Foxboro to be better than this. Better than falling in love with the next, shiny new thing after like 10 quarters of quality but highly managed quarterbacking. Zappe might very well be a Pro Bowler some day. Jones already has been. Let them both develop and not make us all look like imbeciles in front of the whole country once a rookie out of Western Kentucky inevitably starts playing like a rookie out of Western Kentucky.
At the same time, don't get complacent. Even worse than getting spoiled, the one thing that always worried me about Pats fans is that they'd start taking success for granted. Fortunately the way the NFL kept coming at this franchise, accusing them of cheating, taking away draft picks and changing the rules to try and stop them took care of that. So I'm all about the passion that would make you boo because you demand success. Like McCourty said though, that "Zappe" chant nonsense was just the act of a spoiled fanbase. Let's put an end to that right now.