Middlebury Reacts To Patriots’ Super Bowl Victory

By JUSTIN CELEBI

Three months after the Red Sox’s World Series victory, the New England Patriots have pulled off their own version of ‘Beat LA.’ The Patriots took home a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title against the Los Angeles Rams in a fraught defensive battle that was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. The 13-3 victory was a defensive masterpiece for the Patriots, as a high-powered Rams offense that had scored the second-most points in the league that season was completely neutralized. Ironically, despite the low score, it was the Patriots’ largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl. The key moment from the slow-moving game was hard to pin down in comparison to the nail-biters of past Super Bowls, but Stephon Gilmore’s game-sealing interception, Jason McCourty’s incredible breakup of a possibly game-changing touchdown pass, Rob Gronkowski’s huge catch on the only Patriots’ touchdown drive, and Julian Edelman’s MVP performance will take their rightful places in New England lore.

In a season when many analysts and pundits believed that the Patriots’ reign was coming to an end, they defied the narrative to win it all again. In the aftermath, Patriots fans around the country and at Middlebury revelled in the triumph with exultation and vindication for their unflagging faith in the team. Omar Frometa Jr. ’21 was one of those feeling vindication, as he remarked, “It was nice just seeing everyone eat their own words. We were underdogs until we were champions.” There were plenty of words to be eaten, as the Chargers, Chiefs, and Rams, all of which were given a better chance to win the Super Bowl than the Patriots at the start of the playoffs, were dispatched.

Another fan, Corinne McGillicuddy ’19, found satisfaction in the reassertion of New England’s dominance after the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles last year. “I’m just proud,” she said. “I think that the team of Brady and Belichick is just like an empire, and everyone needs to be reminded of that, so another Super Bowl title is really helpful. Boston sports are just reigning on top.” Indeed, this gives the greater Boston area its 12th major sports title in the last 18 years. Some wait times at the mail center have lasted longer than Boston’s latest title ‘drought,’ which stretched from the end of the World Series in October to February 3.

However, the joy of Patriots fans is not the only post-LIII emotion to be found on campus. From other quarters come frustration and disgust. The unbelievable dominance of New England’s dynastic 18-year run — nine Super Bowl appearances, 16 division titles, and 13 AFC championship games — has left many from other parts of the country beyond weary. Nick Wagg ’22, a Chiefs fan, said, “I’m sick of Tom Brady winning championships, and I think it’s ruining the NFL.” 

He believed that the Patriots dynasty would soon meet its end. “Don’t sleep on the Chiefs,” said Wagg. His words met with approving nods from the others around him, presumably fellow fans still waiting for the moment when their favored team could take the throne from New England. Asking this group of fans for their Super Bowl picks for next year yielded a variety of answers: Chiefs, Colts, Saints, Rams. Notably, there was no mention of the Patriots. Perhaps the next season will be when such fans are finally right about the Patriots’ decline. Perhaps not, and trying to push Tom Brady and Bill Belichick off the stage only makes them dig their heels in harder. But if there’s anything that those who can’t stand New England any longer should learn from this season, it’s that not believing in the Patriots is always a dangerous move.

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