How to Win at Football: Confessions of a Patriots Fan

Justin LaBarge
Legacy Magazine

I’m a Pats fan, and I know how to win at football. It’s not how you think. If you think you know how, prepare to be humbled, because you don’t. 

Let’s first clarify, we’re not talking FANTASY football. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’m not talking online betting, Pick ‘Ems Versus the Spread, nor prop bets. We’re talking football. Football games. Division games. Playoff games. Super Bowls.

Step one in how to win at football is to learn how not to lose. I learned this as a Pats fan, because they used to lose. They lost a lot. 

In 1981 they went 2-14. In 1989, 5-11. 1990, 1-15.

In 1992, the pats went 2-0 only to lose the next 14 games straight. 

Losers. Laughing stock. 

In 1993 things changed. They hired new head coach Bill Parcells. The Tuna. The team changed. They learned the core competency of how not to lose. Protect the football. Don’t make mental mistakes. Situational football. Mental preparedness. Educating each player on what they need to do with the game on the line. Competency!

While this may sound so simple – it’s so completely rare. Watching playoff games where teams stumble over each other, wilting under the spotlight is a common delight for a Patriots fan. Haha! Great players. Great stats. Too bad they f*cked it up. 

In 1994 they made the playoffs and two years later they played in the Super Bowl. 

As we all know things changed six years later when Bill Belichick took them to the playoffs 19 times in 22 years, and 9 Super Bowl.  


Likewise, it’s pretty great to watch our foes over-react by sacking their front office, purging their coaching staff. Ownership by knee-jerks with fragile egos ready to scuttle everything in pursuit of instant gratification. While without a whiff to deal with their core incompetencies. 

If you don’t believe what I say is true, I’ll kindly reference the AFC East for the past 18 years. Every other team has changed in ownership during their generations of failure. They couldn’t make the cut. 

For most NFL fans, to ask them how good their team will be comes down to three things. A superficial assessment of the talent of the players, and a reference to how the coaches fared against expectations, and how well they looked on HBO’s Hard Knocks. 

The Patriots have something far more important. Institutional arrogance. 

How can you compete at the highest level, every year, year after year? Forget it, don’t bother answering because YOU DON’T KNOW. 

It’s not completely based on roster-building. The best roster almost never wins. It takes competency, fortune, heath, and smarts. The Patriots are all these things. I’ve seen it. 

Just look at the Jets for example. Watch as they blow through their salary cap money in a full-court press to win now, like a teenager feverishly trying to finally get laid at the big dance. They can sell-out on their future for the sake of blowing their load in a one year window. 

How pathetic.

The Jets aspiring to be – at best – the LA Rams. These Rams, after getting embarrassed by an inferior Patriots team, gambled away their future, won their ONE Super Bowl, and now the check comes due. Now they’re less than average. 

One-and-done doesn’t cut it as a Patriots fan. 

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