Here’s a question: Are Boston Red Sox fans also New England Patriots fans, too?
Today, the National Football League celebrates its 49th Super Bowl, as the Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks, in what looks to be an amazing battle. The two titans of the gridiron are fairly even in terms of on-field match-ups, as Tom Brady’s balanced, offensive attack faces a defense nicknamed ‘The Legion of BOOM’. Yet, do Red Sox fans care?
Well, there is a bit of history to that. When the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII in early 2004, the year was marked by more than just the Curse of the Bambino being lifted. Boston became the first city since “Pittsburgh in 1979 to have both Super Bowl and World Series champions in the same year” (Wikipedia). That was the beginning of Boston’s seven combined championships between the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Bruins hockey club, and the legendary basketball Celtics in the same decade. The term ‘Titletown’ was very relevant, again.
Boston became a hotbed of sports topics and a spot on the sports map that opposing players, once again, did not want to venture, unless they were traded. The Bruins were bashing everyone in sight, the Celtics had their ‘big-three’ well before Miami dared bring LeBron’s talents from Cleveland, the Patriots looked like they would make it to the Super Bowl every year, and the Red Sox were once again baseball royalty, with ‘Big Papi’ David Ortiz sitting on the throne.
We have seen the mingling of Boston players watching the other franchises’ games and even had multiple sports hosted in Fenway Park. Last year’s exhibition match between A.C. Roma from Italy and Liverpool F.C., Red Sox ownership’s other sports franchise, was very different for Red Sox Nation to witness on the field (the ‘pitch’ for you Europeans out there). However, not many people know that the cathedral of Boston was home to American football clubs, as well.
The first existence of the American Football League produced the Boston Bulldogs, who played in Fenway Park in 1926. Once the second formation of the AFL took over, the Boston Shamrocks appeared until 1937. The Boston Braves also had a team in Fenway, until the name was changed to the Boston Redskins and, eventually, moved to Washington in 1936. Imagine Boston having the same issues that the D.C. team is having, now, about the possible racial name change?
Then, in the 1940s, there was the Boston Yanks, as incredible as that may seem. Ted Collins was the original owner, who wanted a team to play in Yankee Stadium, but due to complications, he ended up in Boston from 1944-1948. Eventually, he did end up moving the team, which undoubtedly pleased many Red Sox supporters of the time.
Which brings us back, full-circle, to the Patriots. They were the Boston Patriots, playing in Fenway 1963-1968, which made them the last professional team to call Fenway Park home, besides the Red Sox. Considering both teams’ popularity, especially in recent years, it is hard to escape the possibility that both sets of fans care for each other. The franchises’ histories are forever linked together.
That does not mean it’s true for everyone. Bostonians are very proud to be from Boston, not Foxborough. The commute from Fenway Park to Gillette Stadium, the new home of the Patriots, is 40 minutes away, without traffic. Bill Belichick is not John Farrell, whatever that means. Does Red Sox Nation watch Brady throw with the same love as they had for Curt Schilling or Pedro Martinez? Do Red Sox fans have passion for seeing a running back like LeGarrette Blount score a touchdown while bashing through the line of scrimmage, just like watching Ortiz smash a home run over the Green Monster?
If you do, the Super Bowl is tonight at 6:30 pm E.S.T., in what looks to be the biggest championship game of all-time … at least, compared to the blowout disappointment from last year. Red Sox fans should cheer for the Patriots, if not for the history, then at least for the possible good luck rubbing off on the baseball franchise, like in 2004.