Today is PatsPropaganda’s 4th birthday!!
2013 was my favorite Patriots season on the field since I started this whole blogging thing. Four seasons and almost 12,000 posts, where has the time gone?
Off the field there were some ups and down. Yes, the NFL did shut down my t-shirt shop because obviously a Tumblr blog selling $15 tees is a threat to their billion dollar business, but that was the only big bummer for the Prop this season.
There was a shout out from Colin Cowherd on the radio:

And I made it onto Sportscenter:

But as always the best part is the support from all the readers. I appreciate all the questions and comments and I love doing this site for so many people who are just as passionate about the team as I am. You guys are why I do this!
So, onward to our fifth year, this blog needs a Super Bowl win!!

Today is PatsPropaganda’s 4th birthday!!

2013 was my favorite Patriots season on the field since I started this whole blogging thing. Four seasons and almost 12,000 posts, where has the time gone?

Off the field there were some ups and down. Yes, the NFL did shut down my t-shirt shop because obviously a Tumblr blog selling $15 tees is a threat to their billion dollar business, but that was the only big bummer for the Prop this season.

There was a shout out from Colin Cowherd on the radio:

And I made it onto Sportscenter:

But as always the best part is the support from all the readers. I appreciate all the questions and comments and I love doing this site for so many people who are just as passionate about the team as I am. You guys are why I do this!

So, onward to our fifth year, this blog needs a Super Bowl win!!

What a long, strange trip it’s been since I started blogging about the Pats in December of 2007.

And yes, that’s a real Ernie Adams autograph. Possibly the only one in existence and easily the coolest autograph I have. Real Patriots fan know who that mystery man is.

Interesting column from fellow Holy Cross grad Dan Shaughnessy here. I know it’s popular to rip “Shank” or “CHB” but I’d like to use his column as a jumping off point to talk about my side of this.

PatsPropaganda is exactly the kind of site he’s talking about when he says:

It turns out that fans love reading other fans. And, naturally, they all love their teams. What a surprise. Now they expect everyone else to love a team. It’s the wild west of fanboys.”

As I state on the front page, I am a homer. I love the Patriots. I want the Patriots to win. Does that mean I can’t be critical of the team? No. In fact, most of what I do is trying to find out what the weaknesses are, where they’re lacking, and how they can improve. I’m critical without trying to provoke my readers. My goal is to find what the real problems are, not just spout off lines like “they need a pass rusher!” or “they need a deep threat!” or “the playcalling sucks!”

Does being a fan mean I can’t tell the story of the team or game? I don’t think so. I’m a partisan, but I can see what unfolds on the field. And I think it actually makes for good entertainment. I’m riding the ups and downs of the season. I do care. And people writing about things they’re passionate about tend to be better than people writing about a something they don’t care about.

Where is it written in the law of the universe that sports reporting must be non-biased? That law certainly doesn’t exist in political news where the rooting interests of major news outlets are crystal clear. And politics are more important to a society than sports, right?

Why is it different in sports? Aren’t sports meant to be fun? And maybe perhaps it’s a little more fun and interesting to read a writer who is going through the ups and downs with the team? 

I may be a biased homer but it doesn’t mean I’m blind. I’m not saying that all sports journalists should have a rooting interest and there should certainly always be a place for great writers like Shaughnessy (love him or hate him) to write the stories of the games and teams. But there should also be a place in sports for the emotional accounts and reports from those who are elated after wins and dejected after losses. Those who do care. 

There are enough outlets now. If readers don’t want to read my Patriots-centric view they can go somewhere else and get plenty of non-partisan accounts.

Now, I’m not advocating some sunshines and rainbows blog, about how the New England Patriots can do no wrong. But there are plenty of writers out there, local and national, who think the Patriots can do no right, that they are cheaters and arrogant, and as I see it those kind of hatchet jobs are far more egregious than any take that might give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt.

Now, where the line gets crossed for writers like Shaughnessy is when he simply writes to antagonize the fan base of a team. That’s the same thing he’d scold fan boy bloggers like me for doing, only in the opposite direction - as if I were writing real propaganda to simply praise the team endlessly even after ugly losses or bad decisions.

So, yeah, I get it. “I only write the story”… “I don’t care who wins”… that’s all fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free pass to kick the fans when their team is down. And Shaughnessy does care… that you read what he writes. 

Just because I might be more consolatory after a loss, doesn’t mean what I write doesn’t have value. Really, those are the days I get the most reads and site visits of all.  Fans don’t need some writer to take a day-after dump all over their team after a loss, they feel bad enough.

I think there is real journalistic value to responsible fanboy bloggers like myself. But the difference between me and Shaughnessy is that I don’t care who reads what I write. I don’t post things just to get hits on my site.

I pretty much sat the whole Aaron Hernandez arrest out and haven’t posted a thing on it since Belichick’s news conference about it. That was one of the biggest sports stories of the year and I could’ve landed a ton of traffic if I pursued it as hard as I could’ve.

No, this is a football blog about the Patriots. I love the Patriots, even though they are not a perfect team. I want them to get better. I want them to win. 

Let’s be honest, this is the golden age for the Patriots. Someday we’ll talk about how amazing this run has been and I know that  I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and I’m proud of the work I’ve done here and the response from readers who connect with what I write.

But don’t tell Shaughnessy, he only cares about telling the story, and making sure his articles piss you off enough to read them and talk about them.

I’ll leave the last word to the great Jerry Thornton:

image

Where did you learn your X's and O's from? And have you ever played organized football? If so where and what position?
Anonymous

Ah, what a perfect time for a little sharing…

I played two years of organized football (I was too “husky” for Pop Warner). First was my freshman year of high school, and second was my junior year after transferring to a new school. I was actually a better hockey player and played that all the way through college, but was always drawn to the atmosphere and analysis of football. 

My freshman year experience was a lot of fun. I played middle linebacker and a little fullback. We only had four games for the season, but I remember every one of them. Now I had average size and wasn’t very fast or strong, I think that’s what killed my football career more than anything, but I loved studying my playbook and always knew what was going on so I think that’s why I got to play at that point and be the linebacker that made the play calls in the huddle.

But perhaps the best thing that came out of my freshman year football season was when I taught myself how to edit on my parents camcorder and put together a highlight film to “Eye of the Tiger” and “Bust a Move” of our four freshman games. That was probably the very first step towards becoming a football blogger down the road.

I transferred to a prep school two years later (mostly to play better hockey) and the football team barely had enough guys to make a team. The coach/Dean of Students pulled me into his office the first week of school and asked me to play football. I didn’t need much convincing thinking I’d pick right up at middle linebacker and fullback again.

Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards, because what the team lacked most were linemen.

After missing all of double sessions I started both ways at tackle and on all special teams in the first game, about 8 days after I started. I literally did not leave the field, but don’t think I’m saying that to impress anyone. Now I was about 6’ 195 pounds in high school, and was what scouts might now call a “high cut, waist bender”.

I was a horrible tackle, and was thoroughly destroyed every game. I remember in the game that’s pictured below at halftime just wishing the game was over we were getting beaten up so badly. Luckily the other team put their backups in and the second half wasn’t quite so miserable.

Probably not a surprise that we lost every game but one, and the only game we won was because somehow we played a team that was actually worse than us.

image

That’s me at left defensive tackle, about to get run over no doubt.

Back then I didn’t know much about Xs and Os, but it always fascinated me. In 2006 I found PatsFans.com and their messageboard really sparked me to learn more about football. That lead to discovering SmartFootball.com among other sites that helped me learn more about the game. Since then I’ve devoured anything I can get my hands on and I feel that my understanding of the game has improved immensely.

But if there was one seminal moment to this blog, it was when I was in high school and taking a class at our town’s cable access channel. I grew up a few towns over from Foxboro and a guy who had a talk show on the channel (yes, our very own Wayne’s World) was going to shoot am episode for his show at a Patriots game. They needed a handheld camera operator and I had made a name for myself doing the handheld cam for the broadcasts of our high schools football team.

So we went to what was then Sullivan Stadium, shooting segments with tailgaters and down at the old practice bubble before the game, then we got onto the field and into the press box during the game, and into the locker room after the game. We interviewed Fred Smerlas (asked him where he got such a colorful sweater) and the Patriots cheerleaders. It was one of the coolest days of my life.

Ironically this was 1992 and the game was against the Saints, and man were the Pats brutal back then.

So yeah, I had a little bit of playing experience, but really it was more my love of watching and trying to understand the game, along with NFL Films productions, that really instilled the love of the game in me and were the early seeds for this blog.

Pick 6 With Lindsay Czarniak - Rob Ninkovich (by ESPN)

Hey look, it’s the time I got on Sportscenter!

Welp, I can cross off “Getting on Sportscenter” off the old bucket list….

Welp, I can cross off “Getting on Sportscenter” off the old bucket list….

Barstool Sports’ Jerry Thornton Sends a Letter from Camp

Nobody mixes astute football observations with fall-down funny like Jerry, and we’re not just saying that because he wore our Obbey shirt to camp. Great stuff in this one, including the picture it came with of course.

Brady was in limited action, splitting the first team reps with Ryan Mallet before calling it an early day.  But the thing that jumped out was the chemistry he already has with Danny Amendola.  We’ve treated DA like he’s the ugly chick we had to settle for at closing time, but he’s got a ridiculous skill set**.  He’s a little bigger than Wes Welker, and can go 0 to 60 faster than him.  But he’s got that same gear where the lower half of his body turns into blurry ovals, like the Road Runner.  And he seems more able to get behind defenses.  It’s early yet, but I stand by what I told Felger and Mazz Friday: I feel like Amendola is going to become my Spirit Animal.

 

Are there any plans on changing the PatsPropaganda logo to coincide with the new style Patriots logo? (Haffan)
Anonymous

Kind of torn on this one. On one hand I kind of like the old school look, but maybe it’s time to modernize it. Just not sure if it would fit as well in the new style. Or maybe it’s time for a new logo all together. Anyone out there got any ideas or want to whip something up? 

Email me at PatsPropaganda [at] gmail.com. I pay in cash and t-shirts.

Here it is, our second new tee for the new season. Just $15 at The Prop Shop, along with our red Do Your Jobs and Blue Ignore the Noises.

Here it is, our second new tee for the new season. Just $15 at The Prop Shop, along with our red Do Your Jobs and Blue Ignore the Noises.