by Dan Snapp, Patriots Daily Staff
September 27, 2009

Two years ago, I wrote a piece saying Pats fans were entitled to root for the team in whatever manner they pleased. In hindsight, I was high.

Some people are just too stupid to be football fans. They should switch to one of those games in which the outcome is never in doubt, like wrestling or politics.

The Patriots entered Sunday at 1-1, an element which – in concert with a New Moon and Jupiter in retrograde – apparently signals the onset of The End Times. That is, if the fans are to be believed.

Mike Reiss has long had to deal with the unhinged in his weekly Globe mailbags or in responses to blog posts, but now these people seem to be everywhere.

Callers to WEEI suggested rookie receiver Julian Edelman needs snaps at quarterback, that the departed Jabar Gaffney is the x-factor the team’s missing (guess his gaffes have been forgiven), and that it’s all over anyway so the Pats should trade as many players as possible now for draft picks. One pointed out “Brady has lost two of his last three games,” and who can argue when facts are brought into the mix?

Which reminds me, two of the three major cogs of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” are dead; is Doc Severinsen next?

On the Globe, it was a wall of stupid. Tom Brady’s to blame, to be certain, but what caused the precipitous drop in his play?

“It’s so obvious, Tom’s top priority is not football anymore,” said one commenter. Another tells Brady, “You are not playing well because you’re walking around like a zombie instead of being a motivational quarterback.” Others point to Giselle, because it’s well known that supermodels weaken knees with a force mere mortal Moynihans just can’t summon.

The fans in Tom’s court instead pointed to play-calling. “The Pats have no offensive coordinator this year. This is a big problem.” But would that really help? As “Eric” pointed out, “The offensive coordinator is gutless,” which makes sense, because a non-existent OC would logically possess non-existent guts.

The Pats this week traded for a backup linebacker, Prescott Burgess, which offers new grim portents.

“I guess that means Mayo is out for the year,” was one conclusion. “Who? What? Isn’t Derrick Brooks sitting at home?” said another, among many who count name recognition as a clear sign of ability. Others keyed off on the Burgess name, including one strange chain of references leading to the revelation that Candice Bergen played the Penguin on the old Batman series. Don’t ask me how.

Comments Topple Two
In a not-so-rare occasion of form meeting malfunction, the Boston Globe held a live chat during the game last Sunday. Chad Finn and Chris Forsberg gamely moderated the affair, which promptly surrendered reason as the game devolved.

Among the highlights:

“good call on dumping Seymore.”
“thought this offense was suppose to be better then 07”
“Is it me or is Moss barely breaking a sweat in this game?”
“NE has no hope. Giselle has done Brady in. He no longer has any motivation”
“toms terriFIED”

Lo and behold, there’s no chat scheduled today.

Lose today to Atlanta, and they’re gonna need sentries along the Tobin to dissuade potential plungers. Or with a nod to Darwin, they could direct them to the launch points that offer the best return on investment.

So who are these people, and why are they so breathtakingly stupid? I’ve got a theory.

My freshman year, finding a good place to watch the Patriots proved an obstacle. With the Pats fresh off their Super Bowl appearance with the Bears, the dorm lounges were crowded. Add to the mix a bi-polar resident, an ape who toppled furniture every time Irving Fryar fumbled a punt. Given Fryar’s flair for flub, no sofa was safe.

Fortunately, I got an invite from a friend in an all-girls dorm. A few present were into the game, while others watched because they thought Tony Eason was cute (“Take your helmet off, Tony!!”). The commentary was killing me.

“Why are they giving the ball back? Didn’t they just get it?”
“They got a touchdown on that play. Why don’t they just do that play every time?”
“Why does he give him the ball between his legs? Couldn’t he just hand it to him?”

Temptation beckoned this way for the better part of a half, but I held strong. Finally, I could hold it in no longer. One girl asked, “Why do they fall down after going two yards?” I laughed, and that was the end.

“You make us feel stupid,” they explained as they threw me out.

I’ve always wondered what happened to those girls, but now, mystery solved. They’re right there, plain as day, in the comments section for the Globe and Herald, chatting with Bill Simmons (Yup, these are his readers), or calling in to WEEI; Dumb, dumb girls, pining desperately for Tony Eason to remove his helmet.

We need to lay down some rules for membership. Not unlike the character in “Diner” who made his fiancé take a Baltimore Colts quiz before agreeing to marry her, we need to know we’re dealing with some modicum of understanding of the game

So here are a few basics:

  1. On occasion, your team will lose.
  2. On occasion, your team will call run plays. Use the down time as an opportunity to wonder what is wrong with Brady.
  3. It’s a business. Management and the players already get this. Best you do, too. Craziest thing, some other things you enjoy come from businesses as well! Doritos – made by a business. Guitar Hero – made by a business. Breast implants – made by a business. Sports radio – made by a business.
  4. “Two Words” is not an argument. “Duane Starks” is something Michael Felger teaches his parrot. Don’t be a parrot, unless you’re crapping on the Globe.
  5. The player you know isn’t necessarily better than the one you don’t. Four words: “Drew Bledsoe Tom Brady”
  6. Second-and-six is an acceptable first-down outcome.
  7. Choose: more experience or more youth? “Experience” and “youth” are opposites, like “Jets fan” and “no priors” or “Charlie Casserly” and “employed as a GM.”
  8. You can’t call a game better than the offensive coordinator, even a non-existent one. So put down the pipe, Mouse; the run-and-shoot is dead-and-buried.
  9. The refs will make crappy calls against your team. Crappy ones for your team, too. Get back at them by refusing to spot Hochuli at the gym.
  10. There’s a reason a guy is fourth string. Despite the omen of having in the middle of his name the name of the guy Simmons thought drowned in Lake Pontchartrain, BenJarvis Green-Ellis isn’t the answer at tailback.
  11. Supermodels have no bearing on an NFL game’s outcome. Pitchy country singers, on the other hand…
  12. You can’t trash a guy when he’s on the team, then yearn for his return when he’s gone. Nor can you yearn for a guy on another team, then trash him on yours when he’s only been here a month.
  13. Two games do not equal a season. Pace yourself. You’ve got at least 14 more to which you can overreact.
  14. If a player isn’t living up to your expectations, there’s a small chance he’s living up to the Patriots’ expectations.
  15. Just because a guy was a good contributor here 5, 10, or 15 years ago does not mean he:
    a. wants to come back here and be a position coach;
    b. is in any way qualified to do so;
    c. should have his number retired.
  16. When someone says Belichick is withholding information, ask yourself, “Is he censoring what channel the game is on, or how to get to Foxboro?” No? Then you have all the information you need to be a fan.
  17. People doing pre-game shows aren’t good enough to run a team (see Casserly, Charlie).
  18. Let the dynasty die. Jerod Mayo was a red shirt freshman the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Let him, and his teammates, create their own legacy.

I’d suggest these fans need some sort of football 101 refresher, but if they haven’t learned a blessed thing after a decade of Belichick, what hope have they got? A decade of the best football any of us have seen in our lifetimes, and this is the best they can do?

Colleague Scott Benson put it best this week: “The enduring thanks of a grateful fanbase. I feel like we should warn the Steelers or something.”