By Sterling Pingree
Different teams or schools have said that they have a “winning tradition” but the New England Patriots have created a tradition of winning. Because of this, Patriots fans have become accustomed to certain things. With 10 championships in the 4 major sports since 2002 and more specifically 5 Lombardi trophies during that stretch, it has become very easy for Pats fans to “act like we’ve been there before.” Here are some of the perks and new traditions that go along with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl.
The first tradition that goes along with your team winning the Super Bowl is the hat and t-shirt. The Patriots have reduced this down to a science and an annual expectation among the players. I recall Tedy Bruschi about 10 years ago saying “We don’t lose hat and t-shirt games.” They’ve won a remarkable amount of these games if you start adding up all of the divisional championship hats and t-shirts that they’ve won but there is no hat and t-shirt combo like those that come with a Super Bowl win. As a self-professed “hat guy” when the confetti is falling on the field, I’m looking around to see what the championship hat looks like. Does it really matter what it looks like? Not really, I mean I bought the Super Bowl 39 Patriots hat and that sucker was brown! (Not just brown, two tone brown!) It’s just that I’ll wear a better looking Super Bowl hat more if it looks good but I have to buy it regardless of what it looks like. (I bought a Duke National Championship hat two years ago and that thing had gold pleather underneath the visor and I am nowhere near cool enough to pull that one off.)
This year’s hat is good looking and selling like hot cakes. In the first 48 hours of the game, they’d sold the same amount of the Super Bowl 51 hat as the one from two years ago did in its first week. Probably because that one was plain as all get out and completely white. Who wears a white hat? Also a tip, that AFC Championship hat from two weeks ago that was $36 is probably about $4.99 this week. (I feel like I’m writing this for Browns, Lions and Jaguars fans for when they eventually win it all.)
My favorite new tradition with a Super Bowl win is the premier of NFL Network’s Sound FX. This year’s edition debuted on Wednesday night and this is the definition of “Patriots porn.” This show has it all, highlights, replays, the best announcer calls of each play but the best part is that they have the players and coaches wired for sound. This year NFL Films had Edelman, Hightower and Blount wired up, but their mics pick up all of the conversations on the field. If you haven’t seen it, here are a couple of moments to look for:
- Edelman immediately claiming he made the catch on the tipped ball at mid-field and then arguing with everybody within ear shot.
- Don’t’a Hightower “imploring strongly” that Chris Hogan hang onto the football during the overtime drive.
- Julian Edelman telling everybody to get off the field after the winning touchdown was scored because it had to be reviewed and not believing it was over until Belichick told him it was over. Edelman’s reaction is priceless. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever seen a coach get to tell his player that they just won a championship.
The theme that you notice watching this film is family. On a lot of NFL Films over the years, we see players with their wives and children. Rarely have we ever seen an athlete with a parent on the field after a Super Bowl win. The only time that comes to mind is coincidently enough in Super Bowl 39 when Bill’s father Steve was on the sideline and got doused in Gatorade. After this year’s game there was obviously the emotional moment with Tom Brady and his parents shared but in the Sound FX film there was footage of Edelman holding onto his dad. Matthew Slater and his father, Hall of Famer Jackie Slater laughing deeply and genuinely in true bliss, not to mention Chris Long hoisting the same trophy his father did over 30 years ago with Howie close by.
With the game approaching a week old and seemingly everything that can be written about the game already published (now it is, this was universally the last column on the Super Bowl until the books come out) what else is there to look forward to? Next month the official Super Bowl highlight Blu-Ray will come out and then a month or so after that “3 Games to Glory” the NFL Films full game 3-disc Blu-Ray will be released. The Patriots have won the honor to select last in the first round of the NFL Draft! (Hey, we have a first round draft pick this year!)
After the Draft all there is to look forward to is seeing what the rings look like and by that time, it’s almost football season again.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.