Letters

Patriots fans write back

Tinder for billionaire widowers? 

I find it fascinating to hear and read catcalls from persons too numerous to count in our region, and especially elsewhere around the country, who want to splash old mud on the New England Patriots [“A treasonous take on Patriots Nation,” March 2019]. I guess I find it even more intriguing why a publisher would publish such rehashed diatribes unless s/he just wanted to get an unwarranted rise out of the team’s fans.

There’s so much more about football in general, even in our area, that warrants an op-ed. How about the Portland school board’s plan to reintroduce football at the middle-school level, perhaps even with tackling? This for an age group whose brains may be most damaged by the jarring effects of tackle football.

How about the fact that, until now, no effective testing has been done on football helmets at any level, allowing helmets to quite possibly be causing more harm than they prevent? How about taking on the National Football League as the gladiator sport of Late Empire America? It wouldn’t be hard. We even have our own Nero, who fiddles while the entire world burns.

But if you’re going to call out the Patriots, why not at least start with some facts and some context?

It is not a fact that “the National Football League is in its death throes,” the words Mr. Lundgren uses to launch his anti-Patriotic assault. In 2017, NFL revenue was up almost a billion dollars, to a total of $14 billion. This despite alarming brain injuries, chewed-up ex-players, off-field controversy, heavy handed disciplinary craziness, and pregame activism. Sadly, the NFL still has a stranglehold on the collective American attention span every fall and winter Sunday.

As to the ongoing “Patriots are cheaters” storyline, the reality is that the Denver Broncos lead the league in instances and severity of cheating. I won’t bother to recite the litany, you can Google it as fast as I did. And consider these amusing facts:

  • Videotaping opponents’ sideline call-playing was only banned if it was used during the game. No one ever said the Patriots were using the videotaping during the game.
  • All scientific (non-NFL, non-Patriot-hating) reviews of the evidence in the deflated-football debacle found that 1) there was no proof the Patriots deflated any football, and 2) the air pressures were not inconsistent with the pressures one would expect given the air temperature at the time the footballs were tested.

Yep, the Patriots may have been playing by the rules in both those cases, knocking two crucial legs out from under that tired storyline.

But, of course, this op-ed was not about the clean, mean, winning Patriots on the field. This was about any mud of any kind that could be thrown at the team or its owner.

Re: Kraft and the prostitutes, is Mr. Lundgren a Puritan saying “tisk tisk”? Does Mr. Lundgren have a different suggestion for sexually active 77-year-old widowers? Is he suggesting that johns should know when the women they pay are being trafficked? A European view asks whether prostitution should be “condemned or regulated.” In France, Le Figaroled its article on the Florida sting with quotes from female customers who said they got bad massages there.

My interest in football is not the violence on the field, but the chess game between coaches during the game, and the year-round strategy to build a team that consistently defeats all comers despite the many hurdles the league creates to prevent precisely that, including low draft choices and tougher schedules for last year’s winners.

For the past 18 years, the Patriots have excelled both on and off the field in these cerebral matters, for which any reasonable person should be impressed.

Peter Monro
Portland

Patriots strong

I agree that the NFL is following American society and slowly circling the drain down to the sewer. Concussion cover-ups, pay to play, poor officiating, steroids scandals, domestic violence violations and hero worship of murderous middle linebackers have diminished the game to the point where I’m ready to call it quits. That Robert Kraft got caught in a sleazy situation shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Grandma always said “you’re known by the company you keep,” and Kraft keeps company with Trump, who spoke of grabbing women by their genitalia. Despicable.

Nothing, however will dampen my memory of the Pats’ first Super Bowl victory. As a fan since the ’60s, I watched while the organization went from a team that had a difficult time getting a first down against tall grass to a team so great it brought the haters out in force. We — not just as fans, but as citizens — who were still reeling from the 9/11 attacks needed that win against the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the then-St. Louis Rams. Underdogs we were, but with a fire in our hearts we took it to Kurt Warner and crew. I didn’t get to the game, but made the drive to Boston for our first victory parade, a great day for the city of Boston! Terrorists had, only months before, hijacked two planes out of Logan and smashed them into the World Trade Center.

Football teaches you that when you get knocked down, you get back up again. Just like the people of Boston have always done. That victory brought us a joy so long awaited, and helped us to heal from a tragedy we’ll never forget. Thanks for the memories, New England Patriots!

Don Kimball
South Portland