As a die-hard Patriots fan for over 20 years, I have picked up a fair number of habits along the way in regards to how I go about following this team. Some of my habits are good; I try to stay current with player and team news, maintain a solid knowledge base, and rarely engage in a football-related debate that I don't have a chance of winning. I have amassed an impressive collection of lucky hats, jerseys, drawers, touchdown celebrations, and beverages during my career as a fan, most of which work only sparingly.
Most of the habits I have developed, however, have been bad ones. Excessive paranoia and pessimism carried over from the early years of my fandom. Binge eating and drinking during the games. Embarrassingly high emotional investment in the outcome of games that ultimately have very little impact on the world. An irrational, all-consuming hatred of the New York Jets and everything that they stand for.
Well, that last one isn't so bad, I guess.
And while my various quips and behaviors have fluctuated over the years, one aspect of my fan game that has never once wavered is my adamant refusal to pay attention to anything written, said, or published by Dan Shaughnessy. I don't think that there is a sports journalist in the country more out of touch with his city's fan base than Shaughnessy - that man has his head so far up his own ass that he is one Arby's Value Meal away from being a suicide case. He has made a career out of being absolutely intolerable and wrong 95% of the time, and only seems to be happy when Boston sports teams fail. I get that we as a country have an odd obsession with watching people suck (looking your way, Kardashians), but this man is supposed to be a respected member of the Boston media.
So I don't know why I'm surprised to see that his latest little gem has caught the attention of the Houston Texans, to the point where Arian Foster has made excerpts from the column his Twitter logo. While I'm not going to provide a link to the whole piece, as all that would do would be generate pageviews for this buffoon, I'll post a few choice lines from the article here instead. From lines like "Could this get any easier?" in reference to New England's coming opponent, to paragraphs like this one,
"I mean, seriously? The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game. All the Patriots have to do is beat the terrible Texans. One week from Sunday. At Gillette Stadium."
I just don't know what Shaughnessy was trying to accomplish here. As if the Texans didn't have enough to prove after the beating they received in Week 14, they now have this article to further fuel the locker room fire. While they are professional athletes, and don't need the nonsensical ramblings of some carrot-topped muckraker to motivate them to win a playoff game, I'm just baffled at why anyone thought that this was a) newsworthy, and b) necessary at this point in the season.
I'm still confident that the Patriots will handle their business, and at the end of the day articles like Dan's don't carry all that much weight. But if the Patriots can be tight-lipped, respectful, and complimentary of what really is a very, very good Texans team that is sure to give New England a much tougher game than a few weeks ago,, I really don't see why the media can't follow suit. There are enough great storylines here without making the entire city of Boston look like a bunch of arrogant degenerates.
We may all be a bunch of degenerates, but I'll be damned if anyone calls me arrogant.