Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady.
Colts fans, I apologize for that sentence. The pain of the Colts’ loss to the Patriots during the playoffs is still very recent and those words are salt on an open wound—especially when they descend from the pompous lips of Patriots fans in our own Hoosier state. But, in an effort to bury the hatchet, I have decided to attempt to take the high road when dealing with the Patriots fans in my life, and it has worked. By following these five simples steps, the begrudging tension between Patriots and Colts fans could be cut, like the sleeves of Bill Belichick’s hoodie.
1. Legitimize their connection to other Patriots fans. Their goal in rooting for the Patriots is not to upset other people. Indy Patriots fans do not like playing devil’s advocate. Their second cousin’s half-sister’s boyfriend really did play for the practice squad in 2004. No part of them enjoys the attention they get from wearing a Tom Brady jersey to class; it’s hard for them. Exercise sympathy for these lonely individuals.
2. Never, ever, ever say bandwagon fan. These people were faithful fans of the Patriots even before the Brady-Belichick era. Ask a few Patriots trivia questions. These fans live 800 miles from Gillette stadium; therefore they are forced to be extremely devoted. They will have no problem citing the coach before Belichick, the Quarterback before Brady (an easy one, even for non-Patriots fans) and the franchise record holder for most receiving yards. They are well-versed, loyal fans with a love for Patriots football that started long before the championship famine was broken.
3. Avoid referencing hot topics. Saying things like “Spygate” and “Belicheat” are taboo in conversation with these people. Belichick is nothing short of a saint. His class and professionalism is unrivaled in the National Football League and should not be questioned. Also, don’t talk about the Drew Bledsoe mosh pit lawsuit. Oh, and steer clear of talking about the Hernandez trial. The heroes of the Patriots organization do no wrong, and admitting that they might is extremely unPatriotic. Expect no acknowledgement of misconduct and avoid offending poor Pats fans that are facing so much undesired and unwarranted hostility.
4. Admit that any harsh feelings towards the Patriots are the result of innate jealousy—even though the Colts and Patriots are the top two teams in almost every conversation about this century’s best football teams. Despite outnumbering them in playoff appearances since 2000, our feelings of rivalry are pitted in jealousy. When a local Patriots fan tastefully mocks our recent playoff loss, understand that insulting back just shows envy.
5. If all else fails, find common ground and change the topic. Possibly switch the conversation to the amount of taxpayer money this Indianapolis Patriots fan spent on building Lucas Oil Stadium. Maybe, talk about how much Tom Brady donated to Indianapolis children’s hospitals, or the effects Bill Belichick had on a city uniting against a disease.
So when that individual walks in to class sporting the number 12 on his red, white and blue jersey, quell your urge to tear off the jersey and ceremoniously burn it.
Quell the jeers of your other classmates, and exercise sympathy for the individual. He or she walks against the community in which they live because they have to, not out of spite. Undergoing unwanted attention and engaging in unwelcome debates daily, these poor fans are being chastised for tastefully proclaiming loyalty to an organization 800 miles away. Who are we to judge them?