By: Bob George/
September 07, 2004

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”People give a damn about what I tell them to give a damn about! That's why I have a job!” - Annette Bening from the movie The American President

Who's the top sports dog in New England? Don't worry, the media will tell you.

It's the old saying: When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you. The media gave it to you in October when the Red Sox collapse in the Bronx got more coverage than John Kerry ever will. The media gave it to you in December when the Patriots set a franchise record for wins in a season but the Red Sox nearly traded for A-Rod. The media gave it to you in February by rendering the Super Bowl champs almost forgettable thanks to the onset of spring training.

It is time to give the Patriots their due, without giving the Red Sox their "don't”. "Don'ts” go out to the other three sports. The Celtics are a team in turmoil and total chaos thanks to Danny Ainge and his "vision of the Celtics”. The Bruins are just a tease from owner Jeremy Jacobs, whose team is never good enough to win the Cup but is barely good enough for you to come to the Vault and buy his hot dogs. The Revolution just don't stand the test of time, yet.

At this critical time in the sports calendar year, you have the World Champion Patriots about ready to kick off their 2004 season opposite a Red Sox team whose fan base is agog at the team knocking 8 games off the Yankee lead, losing sight of the fact that the Yankees still lead the division by 2 ½ games and have enough cupcake opponents to hold on and win. The Red Sox are 26-8 (going into Tuesday night's game at Oakland) since trading Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs, and everyone is hailing Theo Epstein as a genius. Never mind that the Patriots are 40-12 (including postseason) and two Super Bowl wins since relieving Drew Bledsoe of his starting quarterback duties and subsequently trading him to Buffalo. No knock on the Sox, just a little perspective.

There is no debate: the Red Sox and Patriots are the primo teams of the region. But it is time to stand up and make the Patriots number one and the Red Sox number two. With that, here are fifty reasons why.

  1. The Patriots needed a new stadium, and got one.
  2. The Red Sox need a new stadium, but are forced to keep the old one.
  3. The Patriot victory anthem is Beautiful Day.
  4. The Red Sox victory anthem is Dirty Water.
  5. The Patriots don't want to overpay for Ty Law and Damien Woody, and it's okay.
  6. The Red Sox don't want to overpay for Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez, and the roof may cave in.
  7. When Bob Kraft speaks, he emits pearls of wisdom.
  8. When John Henry speaks, he induces George Steinbrenner to call him "sour grapes”, and Bud Selig to say "shut up!”.
  9. The Patriots have a nemesis in New York whom they deal with just fine.
  10. The Red Sox have a nemesis in New York. Nothing more need be said.
  11. The Patriots had to "eskimo up”, and they all did.
  12. The Red Sox had to "cowboy up”, but their manager didn't.
  13. Name one Patriot who wouldn't have shaved their head if Kevin Millar asked them to.
  14. Meanwhile, what kind of Patriot would Manny Ramirez make?
  15. The Patriots can afford to be fiscally responsible because Bill Belichick is the smartest coach in the league.
  16. The Red Sox had better hope that the team of Theo Epstein and Terry Francona is just as smart, if not more.
  17. Tom Brady has a clipped wing, and wins a Super Bowl.
  18. Pedro Martinez has a clipped wing, and disappears.
  19. When the Patriots lose championships, at least there's no doubt.
  20. When the Red Sox lose championships, it's time to head for the shrink.
  21. Bob Kraft finally "got it” after about five or six years.
  22. Tom Yawkey never really "got it” after 43 years. John Harrington never did, either.
  23. The Patriots didn't celebrate until they had won the Super Bowl.
  24. The Red Sox high-fived the crowd and sold t-shirts…after merely clinching a Wild Card berth.
  25. It's not a big deal that the Patriots lost Curtis Martin, who is Canton-bound.
  26. Roger Clemens? How many games, awards and titles did he win after leaving the Sox?
  27. The Patriots led the league in injuries and still won the whole thing.
  28. Pedro Martinez gets injured every year, and the Sox feel it every time he's out.
  29. Brady was badly needed to come through late in the Super Bowl, and he did.
  30. Martinez was badly needed to come through late in Game 7 against the Yankees, and he almost did. "Almost did” is not the same thing as "did” (ask Terry Glenn, he even knows how to spell the word).
  31. The Patriots play in the NFL, the model pro sports league.
  32. The Red Sox play in MLB, the biggest joke of a pro sports league (unless you think the NBA is worse).
  33. The Patriots have a wide receiver corps all under six feet, and they are the wave of the future for the team.
  34. When the Red Sox have to deal with guys under six feet, they hit three-run home runs which win divisional playoff games.
  35. The Patriots treat the Arizona Cardinals as if they were 16-0.
  36. How do the Red Sox treat the Cardinals? The manager predicts the outcome of Game 7 of the 1967 World Series this way: "Lonborg and champagne!”
  37. You don't know anyone in the Patriot front office support staff.
  38. At Fenway, a switchboard operator was elevated to legend status, usually by being abrupt and rude, and not putting you through unless you were either Ted Williams or the President of the United States.
  39. Kraft held the line on ticket prices, and told you so right away.
  40. The Red Sox raise ticket prices every year, and tell you around Thanksgiving when you won't notice.
  41. At Foxborough, the staple of life is winning.
  42. At Fenway, the staple of life is clubhouse harmony.
  43. The most noteworthy Patriot of the first 15 years arguably was Jim Plunkett. He was traded for draft picks, and the next year the Patriots came within a bad official's call of at least going to the Super Bowl.
  44. The most noteworthy Red Sox of the first 15 years arguably was Babe Ruth. He was sold to the Yankees, and you all know that sad story.
  45. Ted Washington has had a great career. He will perhaps be known down and through the years for the one ring he won with the Patriots.
  46. Bill Buckner has some terrific career stats, and was one of the best hitters of his era. He will be known down and through the years by a ground ball that went through his legs.
  47. You've loved the Red Sox all your life. But unless you knew Honey Fitz personally, they've let you down more than they've made you feel ecstatic.
  48. You've loved the Patriots maybe only half as long. But these last few years have made you feel like a million bucks.
  49. Carpe diem.The Patriots did. Twice in the last three years.
  50. Carpe diem.The Red Sox don't. Haven't in 86 years.