The clock has just crested midnight and the few Patriot fans on my floor are still in utter delirium.
Being in New York meant of the 20 kids in the lounge on my floor watching the game, there were five Patriots fans tops. As we celebrated Malcolm Butler’s incredible, unbelievable interception it was as if we had just won against all the odds.
Instead of a lucky catch doing us in, it was an unheralded rookie making up for such ridiculous catch such a Jermaine Kearse’s. When Kearse caught that juggling ball, I felt like I was 12-years-old, sitting in my living room wondering how physics worked because David Tyree had just hauled in an absurd pass from Eli Manning.
But this time, the Patriots held on.
As confetti rained down, one New England fan ripped apart his Richard Sherman jersey in the snow on the rickety wooden stairs, a few other Pats fans down the hall are being chastised as I write by the Department of Public Safety for smoking a celebratory joint. I entered my dorm room with arms raised in triumph; my roommate from Cleveland shook his head.
Many others around the building – from Philly or Baltimore or New York City – say we Patriot fans are spoiled. This championship doesn’t mean anything to us because we win all the time. While it’s true – Boston has gone on an incredible run – this championship means so much to us.
For Tom Brady and for the New England Patriots it was a defiant, resilient shout at everyone who doubted.
No more will Patriots fans here, “You haven’t won anything since SpyGate!”
No more will Patriots fans here, “You can’t win without deflated balls!”
No more will Patriots fans here, “Brady can’t win big games!”
The league-wide hatred of the Patriots, culminating this week in the Ballghazi/Deflategate media firestorm, meant that fans of 31 other NFL teams love to root against your team.
Usually with a rivalry there’s one city, one team you hate to see. With the Patriots, every fan dismissed the team as a “bunch of cheaters” and said something irksome that incited frustration and immediately made me defensive.
This game dispelled that notion. Despite the odds, despite the distractions and the early fire alarms, the Patriots captured the title I thought we were sure to win in 2007 and 2011.
The reason I celebrate this championship and embrace this moment is because I know this may be the last one for a long while. It may not be – I hope it isn’t – but it’s possible.
This Patriots win perhaps capped an era in Boston. The winning ways of Boston are fading.
Boston owned the last decade, hauling in seven titles, but this decade looks bleaker and every fan knows that dominance can never be sustained. The moment a championship game ends, Vegas releases predictions for the next season.
The Bruins aren’t scoring goals this season, the Red Sox may have added bats but have no pitching and the Celtics are so far gone who knows when they will re-emerge?
To see the Patriots capture this title is special. Next season Brady will be 38-years-old and Father Time still has never lost. Relishing in this moment, seeing this MVP award – there’s no greater feeling.
The pride of seeing Brady succeed as a New Englander is what I imagine I’ll feel like when my son does something awesome – though to a lesser extent for my kid. I mean Brady. Kind of.
For the third straight Patriots Super Bowl an unheard-of receiver made a name for himself. Tyree. Mario Manningham. Chris Matthews.
But this time, a nameless man on the other side of the ball, one of New England’s own, stood up and took it all back.
Sam Fortier is a displaced New Englander living in New York as a freshman at Syracuse University. He likes baseball, crunchy peanut butter and using the word “wicked” as an adjective. He’s not a fan of purposefully misspelt business names (“Kathy’s Kut & Kurl”) or grammatical error’s. You can read him here every Monday, follow him on Twitter @Sam4TR, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.