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Archive for May, 2011

Recently in an interview with Mike Reiss,  Patriots’ backup QB Brian Hoyer was quoted as saying that the lockout had brought the team closer together.  He then went on to add that the current situation had lead to him to become ‘closer to people’ that he ‘never would hang out with or see outside of football normally’. This is slightly reassuring however, it aggravated something which has been playing on my mind for a while now. It’s great that in these difficult times that the team is bonding and continuing to work towards the 2011 season but…if they can go above and beyond for themselves, why can’t they do it for the fans?

Patriots back-up QB Brian Hoyer says that the lockout has brought he and his teammates closer together. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Firstly I will let you know my stance on the current lockout situation. I’m as neutral as they come. I get splinters from sitting on the fence so much when it comes to talking about the lockout and you’ll soon have a clear picture as to why.

This whole situation is tainted by two sides who refuse to budge, not willing to compromise; and for what? Their own selfish greed. I can see both sides. I support the players in some aspects whilst I question them in others…as I do with the league. But in this heated argument between the two sides, they have forgotten about the people who truly matter in this; you, me and every other fan who, as the season draws nearer, worry about whether or not we will get to see our Idols take the field come September.

As a British fan I have spent thousands on two trips to see the Pats play, on their merchandise and on my own equipment to pursue the sport as a hobby over here. This money is what makes the NFL the powerhouse that it is. These dollars pay the players. It’s fans like you and me that take the great atmosphere to the games. Without us there is no NFL.

I’m angry with the League for not lifting the lockout but at the end of the day, they are the bosses. The owners pay the wages, the owners should dictate the terms. The Players are lucky to have a representative union and have as much of a say in their game as they do. It is a stark contrast to sports here in the UK where players get very little, if any say, in how League’s like the Premiership are run.

The players need to compromise and allow the league to run as they see fit. The league can then lift the lockout and allow the players to go to work, giving the fans the piece of mind they need going into this 2011 season. I for one have looked at the owners and the players, and feel let down by this whole situation. We repeatedly hear how they have our best interests at heart but in reality, if that was indeed the case, this would have been resolved by now.

So I’d like to reiterate what my good friend Russ Goldman stated in his previous article. Fans need to unite up against the league and the players. Make our voices as loud as possible because they continue to fall on death ears. We as fans have the power to end this. We have been forgotten in all of this and  let down by the people we look up to. The fans make this league the great organisation it is and it should and, with your help, will be the deciding factor in this lockout.

Let’s kick the players and the league in to touch, because they have lost touch with us. Let’s end the lockout.

GOLDMAN: Time for Fans to Unite Regarding The NFL Lockout

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A View From Old England…

Its 9am on a Sunday morning, the alarm goes off and I drearily get out of bed. I eat breakfast, gather my things, jump in my car and embark on the hour and a half long journey to Farnborough, Hampshire…in England. Once I arrive, I kit up, spend 5 hours on the gridiron in preparation for our next opponent before finishing up, hitting the bar and heading home.

Once I get in, I shower and eat, before turning on Sky Sports for the 6pm game. Then the 9:15pm game and, finally, the late night, SNF game which commences around 1:30am our time. Once that is over, I groggily stare at the clock to see it’s about 4:30am, and I get 2 hours sleep before rising for work at 6:30. I’m a plumber during the week.

When Monday Night Football is on, I go through a similar routine. I get home from work, try and catch a couple more hours sleep in my evening, before staying up to watch Monday Night Football.

Such is the life of a British American Football Fan. I will be blogging on the New England Patriots to give you an insight into what it is like to be a fan over here, what we think about the sport and what it is even like to play the sport over here.

So let me introduce myself; my name is Damien Jarrett I am 21 years old and am a moderator on the site www.ukpatriots.com (one of the UK’s biggest NFL Fan Clubs). I have followed the Pats since I was 9 years old (1999) after a friend moved out to Boston and told me all about the sport and the team. At first I was apprehensive. American Football was very foreign to me and the Pats had never won anything; “why on Earth would I want to follow them?” was my first reaction. I slowly began following them anyway…if they were good enough for my best friend I may as well give it a shot!

A couple of seasons later I found myself sitting up, late at night. I had been following the Pats religiously that year. I had seen Bledsoe go down injured, seen Brady come in for him, questioned Belichick for one of the very last times in his decision to keep Tom Brady as our starter, seen what I believe is still the best play in NFL history in Adam Vinatieri’s kick to tie the game against the Raiders; and now we were in Superbowl 36.

The Ball was at the 17 yard line with 1:21 left on the clock with no time outs remaining. I was preparing for another hour of staying up for overtime. I had School the very same day and I wasn’t even allowed to be staying up! But I couldn’t care less! I then watched Brady methodically lead the Patriots down field and the moment that the ball split the uprights from Vinatieri’s boot, I was hooked. I re-live that moment constantly. What our team achieved that night is the most proud I have ever been as a sporting fan. I hadn’t even been following the Patriots that long but I felt a part of the team; a part of the family that Robert Kraft had strived to build since buying our team almost a decade before!

That moment changed my life and, most importantly, changed the course of Patriots history forever. Since then I have not waivered in my support for the Pats. I have seen some amazing things; two more championships as well as an unbeaten regular season. The defeat to the Giants in the ‘Superbowl-That-Must-Not-Be-Named’ remains the most painful moment in my sporting life and I will never get over it.

Since then I have seen the Pats play twice. The first was in 2008, watching the Cassel led Patriots beat the Rams in what was quite a close affair. The second came at Wembley against the Buccaneers and, this time, a rather one sided affair. There, I and other moderators from the UKPatriots planned a number of events, including a flag football match and the Official Patriots Pre Game Party! That weekend remains the best weekend of my life; getting to see the Patriots on my own soil!

Once I turned 16 I began playing in Hull for the Hornets. However, within a couple of months I had moved back to the South East of England and was playing with the Maidstone Pumas Youth Team. I was soon made Quarterback in our wishbone option offense.

By the age of 19 I was backing up our starter in the senior team but spent the ensuing season out with tendon and nerve damage to my hand. An injury sustained off of the gridiron.

This season however, I will be playing for the nationally 5th ranked Farnham Knights as a Defensive Back, sporting #37 inspired by Rodney Harrison. As part of my blogging, I hope to give you an insight of what it is like to play in a British League and follow the NFL in Britain.

This was just a brief introduction of me and how the sport has greatly influenced me and my life. You can look forward to seeing many more posts from me and hopefully, in the near future, I will be offering my opinions on the other Boston sports teams!

You can follow me on Twitter: @DamoJarrett; and/or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=647515830

Feel free to send me as much feedback as you wish and criticism is always welcomed! I look forward to blogging for you and sharing opinions with you!

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