Laird: Don't let this be the Participation Trophy Patriots


First, we had Loserville. Then, it became Titletown.

Now… Has New England become Moral Victoryville?

Please, say it ain’t so.

Tuesday morning on The Greg Hill Show, I almost spit out my coffee when I heard my co-host Jermaine Wiggins - a once proud purveyor of ‘They Hate Us Cause They Jella-fu-sus’ t-shirts - declare in preview of this weekend’s Patriots vs. Chiefs showdown, “If [the Pats] don’t win the game, OK, but if you can hang with them there will be people that say they can win the AFC.”

Are we really going to do the “Good try, good effort” routine again next Monday if Cam Newton and the boys lose gracefully? Just hang in there and everyone gets ice cream after the game?

I can accept one Patriots loss-that-felt-like-a-win per season. It already happened after the 35-30 loss in Seattle, and the positive vibes around The Hub the morning after were somewhat understandable given the muted expectations for the Newton era.

But you’ve used your one lifeline, Pats Nation. Now, Do Your Job. Demand excellence.

The post-Tom Brady narrative has changed. Newton is healthy and playing like a Top-10 quarterback. The coach is still The Goat, and Josh McDaniels is coming off a virtuoso playcalling performance in orchestrating last weekend’s win over Las Vegas.

Sure, the Chiefs are good, but would that have been a palatable excuse if Brady had not executed the OT comeback against KC in the AFC Title Game loss in January of 2019?

The Lombardi Trophy was and remains the standard for Robert Kraft’s franchise. Don’t be the sap that settles for second-best, because here’s the deal as Ricky Bobby once declared: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

And come to think of it, are Celtics and Red Sox fans too drunk to taste this chicken? What’s with them rolling over lately, too?

The C’s just go bounced by the 5-Seed, and Green Teamers seem far from outraged. Brad Stevens is 0-for-7 in attempts to win the Eastern Conference, and yet he was recently informed he’ll have coaching security through the 2028 Presidential Election.

GM Danny Ainge has seen just one Banner raised since he was hired in 2003, for a franchise that Red Auerbach once oversaw win 16 in 29 years. ‘Trader Danny’ made as many deals at the NBA trade deadline as you and I did, while Ainge nemesis Pat Riley rolled up his sleeves and turned the Heat into a monster.

Will Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca demand some changes? Any changes? If their paying customers aren’t upset then why should they be?

And then there’s Red Sox Nation, who first watched as Mookie Betts was traded for no pitching, and then apparently decided to not watch the season.

I guess you can’t blame them for that, but is there no outrage at the putrid results? I hear and read almost none; rather those still invested seem concerned about resetting luxury taxes and scouting college talent for the 4th overall draft pick. JD Martinez may have just been the first Sox superstar to quit on a season and get no criticism. Chaim Bloom left Tanner Houck on the Covid Farm Team while Rome burned. Ron Roenicke was fired under the cover of Patriots and sports fans responded by checking their fantasy football scores.

This Red Sox season was an absolute disgrace, and it should be scary to John Henry that apathy seems to have overtaken anger.

Maybe the Pandemic summer is to blame for the lethargy, or maybe the 12 Titles of the millennium have Boston sports fans fat and happy like they’ve downed a dozen donuts.

But for my part, I’m booking Herm Edwards as a guest on an upcoming show to drive the point back home to my friend Wiggy: “Hello!? You play to win the game!”