Should Boston sports fans give their teams more slack?

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April 23, 2017 by coachcarter717

The Celtics bench tells the story during their Game-two loss to the Bulls at the TD Garden. (Courtesy of John Wilcox/Boston Herald)

Written by Carter Cotrupi

Boston sports fans: you either love them because you are one or hate them because you live anywhere else in the U.S. Inside the fan base, people will rave about their passion for Boston’s teams while outsiders might ask you to put your shirt back on and stop singing Dropkick Murphys on their table.

If you’re a Boston sports fan, chances are you’re not having a great time watching the Bruins and Celtics finally make it to the playoffs after so many years only to sabotage their exceptional regular season efforts with terrible postseason play. For basketball and hockey fans, it feels like forever since the Celtics or Bruins have hoisted championship trophies above their heads. Even Red Sox fans are getting more aggravated with the way John Farrell has recently kept the team from getting to the big stage.

But is that frustration and impatience exaggerated by the fans themselves…or something else?

Unfortunately, the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox have seemingly become less relevant with each passing season without a world championship. Long gone are the days when names like Pierce, Garnett, Martinez, Garciaparra, Thomas and Thornton dominated the backs of fan jerseys. Nowadays, you don’t live in Massachusetts unless you own something with Tom Brady’s name on it.

Let’s summarize the current atmosphere of Boston sports. The Boston Celtics earned the top seed in the eastern conference but find themselves behind 1-2 in their playoff series against the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls. The Boston Bruins fought tooth and nail to land a spot in the playoffs only to be holding on for dear life in their first-round bout with the Ottawa Senators. The Red Sox are on cruise control with a 10-7 start to their regular season.

(Courtesy of Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

 

Now, what do all three of these Boston-based sports teams have in common?

Well, none of them won a title last year…and none of them are in Foxboro.

Yes, of course I’m talking about the recent New England Patriots’ miracle comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl LI. It’s only been two months out and Boston fans are still hungry for more.

For Boston’s fanbase, New England has been the face of a new generation and the epitome of consistency for postseason glory in the new millennium. With five Super Bowl titles since 2001, no other professional team in Boston has tested the fuel mileage on the duck boats more than the Patriots.

Fun fact: Boston Duck Tours started in 1994, so that last sentence was both frivolous AND statistically true.

The Red Sox are the closest to the Patriots’ modern level of triumph with three World Series Championships in the new millennium: 2004, 2007 and 2013. Since they ended the 86-year old “Curse of the Bambino,” the team has earned a fair amount of understanding from their fan base. However, the Celtics and Bruins cannot rely on such a feat for an excuse. Together, they have only two championships combined in this time frame, 2008 and 2011 respectively. Yikes.

Having grown up following all four of these teams, I have noticed a certain level of success that fans expect from them. The phrase “rebuild season” is as forbidden to Boston as Voldemort is to a young Daniel Radcliff.

I was six-years old when the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl title in 2001. Now I’m 21 and the team has enjoyed a total of five Super Bowls, seven AFC Championships and have only missed the playoffs in two years out of that period: 2002 and 2008. To say this football team is good is a vast understatement.

Which is why it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect similar winning traditions across all Boston teams. Now that football season is over, fans must rely on three other teams to carry the euphoric pride that peaked in February.

Yes, each sport is different. Yes, the level of competition is different. No, Tom Brady cannot play for all of Boston’s teams…although I hear he throws a mean slider.

Have the Patriots set the bar too high for the other three professional teams to reach? Possibly, but there is nothing wrong with that. Boston is as much a competitive climate as it is a winning culture.

Each team has had their time in the limelight. Larry Bird lead the Celtics to the promised land throughout the 80s, hockey hall-of-famer Bobby Orr was the star of the Bruins when they hoisted the Stanley Cup twice in the early 70s, and all of New England registered on the Richter scale from the celebration that arose after the Red Sox finally ended their 86-year World Series drought in 2004.

Now, these Boston teams are trying their best to adapt and recover from the John Farrells and Claude Juliens of their recent history. Meanwhile, the Patriots continue their luxurious reign under the incomparable Bill Belichick.

Let’s face it: For now, the Patriots are Boston’s premiere sports team. The Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics are all playing catchup to earn the love and admiration that only Boston fans can bring.

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