|Sanders calls stay in Rochester, "Garbage Time"|
by Dean Nicosia
Belechick outside the Hyatt in Rochester, NY
I'm sure by now you've read that the New England Patriots were forced by weather, and a lack of Buffalo hotel rooms to stay in our little town here in Rochester, NY. Maybe you've read the stories of where they ate and who did and didn't get autographs. I personally didn't make it downtown to spot them, but I figure I can always go see them in New England. Either way it was really cool to have our favorite team spend then night in our town, the home of the oldest known Patriots Fan Club in the country, at 75 members strong, with even more who don't actually sign up, but come watch the games with us occasionally.
When Ron Woodill and I started this club back in 1993, I called the team and spoke to the man in charge of PR, who at the time was Andre Tippett. What a thrill it was to speak to a player whom I had admired since I was a young teenager when he joined the Patriots and went on to become a prominent defensive player in the league. Tippett told me at the time that he knew of no other Patriots fan club in the country and that there was no official fan club registry, as there is today, but that he would take my info and keep it on file.
In 1996 when the Patriots faced the Packers in the Super Bowl, I got a call from an Albany sports reporter who said that he had contacted the team to find Patriots fans in his area, and that we were the only fan club listed. We were close enough for him so he did his interview with me. There may have been other Fan clubs around the country meeting for games and planning trips, but no one knew of them. The biggest fan club in the country is in Arizona, which started in 1998, five years after the Patriots fan club of Rochester, NY.
So to have a player from the Patriots describe his short time here as "Garbage Time" while there was no mention of anyone on the team about there being a fan club in town, which is officially listed in their official registry, was a bit discouraging. I know that the comment didn't come from one of the elite players, but actually from a "Garbage" player, but it would still be nice to have someone else from the team say something nice about Rochester.
I don't expect them to know where every fan in the country lives, but they do have an "official fan club registry" for a reason, and when you have to make an impromptu stay in a town, maybe it would be nice to know that there are fans there who have been organized in their support for your team for 17 years. A quick trip to your own website's fan section could have told you that. (www.patriots.com) Also, we have our own website which Googles very well, and an official meeting place which has great food, and we have some of the best Patriots fans in the country.
So, if you can't say anything nice while you are here, don't say anything at all.
Again, I love the Patriots, and I'm even fond of Tom Brady's hair in a very heterosexual way, but Sanders put his foot in his mouth. He disrespected a great town with some great football fans, including the oldest known Patriots fan club in the country.
A sorry would be nice.
Having said that, we'll see you at Mulberry street for the last game of the season, and for all of the playoffs where we will loudly support the team which we love so dearly. Being a Patriots fan is a passion, and we'll forgive the team for one of it's back-up player's comments and move on.
Go Patriots, all the way to the Super Bowl!