Life Before Brady and Belichick


On May 25, 1971, Michael O’Brien was born in Acton, Massachusetts. An instant fan of local NFL team the “New England Patriots,” a young O’Brien would come to suffer his first 31 years without a Super Bowl victory.

Today the franchise is envied throughout the NFL for their absolute dominance over the past two decades. By some deemed unstoppable with the excellence of quarterback Tom Brady and his seven Super Bowl appearances in the last 15 years. The most recent of which occurred last night, in the shocking overtime victory of Super Bowl 51 and his 4th Super Bowl MVP.

The team’s successes have brought fans of opposing teams all over the nation to hate the Patriots fan, a man who never has to suffer defeat, or the great disappointment of a losing seasons.

For me, a Patriots fan of just over 15 years, this common assumption is proved to be true. However, for a man like my father Michael O’Brien, the success of the franchise is a sweet reward after years of terrible teams, losing seasons, and heartbreak.

“The Patriots were so bad when I was growing up,” O’Brien remembers, “in ‘81 they played the Indianapolis Colts… they called it the ‘Stuper Bowl.’ They were both 1-14, and basically if you won the game it was bad, because you lost the number one pick in the draft.”

Fortunately for O’Brien, the 1-15 Patriots selected Kenneth Sims first overall in the 1982 NFL draft.

After years went by, the team began to take a turn for the better, but were immediately knocked from their high horse.

“The Patriots finally made the Super Bowl in 1986… not only did they lose to the greatest team of all time, the 85 Bears 46-10, but after the game it was discovered that most of the Patriots team had been on cocaine most of the playoffs.”

New England would only make the playoffs 1 more time in the next 10 years.

Though after a tarnished football childhood, O’Brien says, “The pendulum has swung back,” as he continues to be re-payed for his loyalty today, with this years Super Bowl LI championship.