By Sterling Pingree
In the 1980’s, the great rivalry in sports was the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. This rivalry ran beyond just competition and NBA supremacy. The two teams were diametrically opposed: the Celtics were a blue collar club which took on the personality of its biggest star, the irrepressible Hick from French Lick, Larry Bird. The Lakers took on the larger than life personality of their star Magic Johnson and created the “Showtime Lakers”. In the 80’s, Celtics fans resented everything about the Lake Show, they were arrogant, they played a fast breaking offense and got a lot of their corporate style from coach, Pat Reilly. Celtics fans hated the Gordon Gekko Wall Street, yuppie chic, flamboyance of the purple and gold. Which is why it’s even more interesting when you consider that the current edition of the New England Patriots might be the closest things sports has seen to the social flash of the Showtime Lakers.
The stories of the carousing accomplished by Magic, Worthy, Byron Scott and pretty much anybody not named A.C. Green, could fill a book and did when Jeff Pearlman released his almost 500-page tome, Showtime. There were stories of the team hurrying the game along in the later stages, probably a blowout win, so that they could go directly from the locker room of the Great Western Forum, to the Forum Club. The owner, Dr. Jerry Buss was such a social butterfly that he had a night club in his team’s arena so that he could go from entertaining big shots in the owner’s box, to entertaining them at his own night club on premises. Now I don’t believe that Robert Kraft would go quite that far, but there is some fun to be had at Patriot Place, beyond the deals at Bass Pro Shop.
The comparison of those Lakers and these Patriots is based off of attitude and social graces. The Patriots of the 2010’s are a different breed from the lunch pail groups that won three Lombardi trophies in the early 2000’s. That group was made up of mostly cast offs and spare part-veterans that Bill Belichick tethered together to fit his defensive will. This modern group is much the same, but he’s done it with offensive players who were almost exclusively draft casts offs that other teams didn’t want but every woman in the Massachusetts would love.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room and that is from what I’m told by people who know these sorts of things, the Patriots are wrought with appealing looking gentlemen. What you might also not be fully aware of is that appealing looking gentlemen attract a rare element and that’s super models. Super models love keeping time with appealing looking gentlemen, especially the millionaire athlete variety. I know, who knew? This group of Patriots seem to get issued a Victoria’s Secret Angel or Miss Universe winner with their playbook.
The ring leader of the Patriots is Tom Brady, Tom Brady married the 5’11 Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen. For a region not used to such relationships, they were seen as the first couple of Boston sports and with good reason. Can you even think of the second most high profile couple that this region has ever seen? The only thing I could think of is Jackie and JFK, which is pretty heady company. Little did we know that Tom Brady was about to become an archetype to an entire generation of Patriots stars.
Danny Amendola is currently dating Olivia Culpo, who won Miss Rhode Island, Miss USA and Miss Universe. Culpo won Miss Rhode Island wearing a dress that she rented for $20. Take from that for what you will, but a quick Google search will tell you that few would call her victory in these competitions an upset.
Now you can’t watch any big sporting event, or see pictures from any black tie evenings without a handful of Patriots making the scene. Last week alone we saw countless pictures of Brady, Amendola, Edelman and others at the Kentucky Derby which came after shots of those same three emerged from the uber-private Met Gala in New York. It was at this gala that Julian Edelman made waves by showing up with former girlfriend Adriana Lima. Lima, a Victoria’s Secret model since before Tom Brady was drafted, had been linked to Mets pitcher Matt Harvey in recent days. Harvey apparently was so distraught by Edelman’s second biggest catch of the year that he tore a bar apart and missed his Sunday start for the Metropolitans. After Boston’s battles with New York over the years, I think some of us count this as another win for Beantown over the Empire State.
On Wednesday night during game 5 of the Easter Conference Semi-Finals in Boston, the Garden video board showed the VIPs in attendance. The camera scanned courtside and found James White, LeGarrette Blount, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. Where Belichick will never be confused with Pat Reilly when it comes to style, the two do have a lot in common when it comes to building and maintaining a winner. The biggest thing they have in common is that they coached the two most socially visible teams in sports history and avoided a lot of potential pitfalls along the way. It just goes to show you, that whether you’re in the City of Angels or route 1 in Foxborough people love a winner. And apparently, appealing looking gentlemen.
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.