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Saturday, February 21, 2004

Miles Away

Bill Simmons wonders aloud whether he and his fellow Patriots fans have developed a sense of entitlement similar to that of Yankee fans after writing a column where he mused that two titles isn't enough.

He correctly concluded that Pats fans haven't reached that level.

And yet he missed what was perhaps the crucial point in the analysis. It's not just the last few years that count. On the list of NFL teams whose fans been spoiled rotten by their team's success, the Pats aren't even close.

The Yankees are the Yankees in large part because there is no one else in their "league." Apart from short stretches roughly centered around 1968 and 1990, the Yankee fans have been rewarded year after year. Laker fans are right up there with them. The NFL has no one team like this, though, off the top of my head, I'd have to cite Cowboys and 49ers fans as being those most insulated from suffering, although even those teams have had some big down years.

The Patriots? Two Super Bowls in three years, plus two Super Bowl flameouts from the preceding two decades, three of those coming more or less out of nowhere. If they win a third, maybe we can start talking about entitlement, but even then, you have to balance those years of failure: Ron Erhardt. Ron Meyer. Rod Rust. Dick McPherson. It's not especially close. As this (not quite up to date) chart indicates, a team that is expected to have won 1.4 Super Bowls over its current lifetime has now won 2.0. That's a long way off from Yankee fandom.

Also: Via Craig, I just had to pass this article along.


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