January 26, 2017
By Justin Lasher
Today’s focus is solely on the fans. Whether sports, food, TV shows, and more, we can all confirm that we are fans of something. With the help of Donnie Lyons, a longtime Patriots fan, and friend of Just Average Sports Guys, we will examine the New England Patriots fan base.
Without question, Patriots fans are one of, if not the, most dedicated and loyal fan bases in all of sports. Donnie has been an unwavering Patriots fan for twenty six years, dating back to 1991, just after Coach Dick MacPherson took the reigns of the Patriots, coming to the NFL via Syracuse University. When asked what keeps him a Patriots fan, Donnie brings up loyalty, stating, “Loyalty and an attitude of wanting to win over wanting to be a spectacle. I have a hard time respecting fans that constantly change their team.” I loved Donnie’s response to our question on how devoted to his Patriots. He states, “Completely. They make mistakes, they have bad judgment, but it’s like a best friend. You don’t have to agree, but you support them the best you can when they fall. This goes to listening and following them, even in the offseason from podcasts and websites.” When it comes to devotion, Patriots fans everywhere do whatever it takes to see their beloved team play. Donnie is no exception, stating that he saw all eighteen games the Patriots have played this year. Even if not all of them were televised, Donnie went to the internet to find, and watch, the Patriots.
To further support that the Patriots fan base being one of the best, they were actually considered the number one NFL fan bases before the 2016 season began. In his study, Emory Professor, Mike Lewis took several factors into consideration on all NFL fan bases, and The New England Patriots fans came out on top. You can read the article here, http://www.csnne.com/new-england-patriots/study-patriots-have-best-fan-base-nfl. Patriots fans are not afraid to travel and spend money to watch their team play in person. I know many Patriots fans who every year will travel to Foxborough, and drop the money on tickets, to see Brady, Gronk, and the gang play.
Patriot fans are one of the most educated fan bases. Whether it their history, roster, draft needs, anything, Patriots fans know it all about their team. Not only though, are Pats fans well studied on their team, they are also well educated on the NFL as a whole. It is always a pleasure to have a conversation with Patriots fans because they know the sport of football, they know their team, and they know their team’s opponents. One of my pet peeves is trying to talk with someone who claims to be a fan of a team or sport and they don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
One of the things I respect most about New England fans is that they are willing to go to bat for and defend their team through anything. From Spygate, to Deflategate, to Trumpgate, Patriots fans had the back of their organization. I like Patriots fans to Yankee fans in the fact that they are bold, opinionated, and rabid about their team through everything.
We want to now shift gears, while staying committed to our focus, taking a look at Super Bowl LI from the eyes of our Patriots fan, Donnie. Looking at New England’s biggest strength heading into the big game, Donnie says it is Belichick and his staff’s ability to game plan. Donnie elaborated on his response by stating, “…they know how to game plan week to week. This allows them to exploit their (Patriot opponents) weakness’ and flaunt our strengths. Having the greatest head coach, and greatest quarterback of all time help too.” While at times it may seem like New England is bulletproof, they are not and do have a weakness or two. Donnie indicated his belief that the interior offensive line is the Patriots biggest weakness. He points to the playoff game against Houston as an exploitation of this weakness.
Next, we look at New England’s biggest impact players, both on the offensive side of the ball, as well as the defensive side. Not surprisingly, Donnie, like myself, believes that Tom Brady is the Patriots biggest offensive impact player. “He can get the ball out quickly, he can open up the run game with the intermediate pass. He can make the deep throw, and more times then not, puts his offense in better situations at the line of scrimmage.” On the defensive side of the ball, New England will need to find a way to slow Julio Jones down in order to be successful. Donnie points to safety Duron Harmon as the impact defensive player, indicating that keys for Harmon will be to provide safety help over the top on Jones, and minimizing yards after the catch.
The final area we covered with Donnie was what concerned him the most about the Atlanta Falcons entering Super Bowl LI. Donnie mentioned his biggest concern for the Patriots was Atlanta, and Matt Ryan’s, ability to throw the deep ball. Donnie advised that this forces a lot of teams to play a soft zone coverage and will help get Atlanta into short yardage situations.
Donnie sees Super Bowl LI being a good game, with a nice showcase of talents from both teams, and he stays true to his Patriots, having New England winning 38-28 over Atlanta.
We want to give a special thank you to Donnie Lyons for his time and insight into the mind of a New England Patriots fan. If you are a New England Patriots fan, or if you know someone struggling whether they are or not, I encourage you to read this article from Bleacherreport.com, as it should clarify everything for you, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1675324-6-ways-you-know-you-are-a-new-england-patriots-fan. Lastly, we want to give you an opportunity to prove to us that New England Patriot fans are the best fan base between the two Super Bowl teams. To prove this to us, just cast your vote in the below poll and share with your friends so they can as well.