The original outline for Fighting Words—way back in aught four—included a chapter on how the Patriots, who built a dynasty in a league designed to destroy dynasties, were not even the most-covered sports team in their own market. For a variety of reasons, that chapter ended up on the cutting room floor, but I’d like to post it as well as some of the interviews I conducted for it as the NFL season approaches.
I mention the Patriots chapter that never was because of the news Monday that the Celtics and Bruins drew huge ratings for their recent Game Seven losses—but still did not match the numbers the Red Sox got Opening Day. That surprised me, because like most clichés, it’s the truth: There’s nothing in sports like a Game Seven.
As Bruce Allen notes in the link, the Patriots regularly draw in the 20s, but because the paucity of NFL games make them appointment viewing. I imagine it’ll take more sustained success by the Celtics and Bruins to get a thorough Sox-like grip on Boston fans. The Celtics are two years removed from finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA and won three playoff series in the first 15 years following Larry Bird’s retirement. And the Bruins finished last as well two years ago, had one playoff series win in the 13 years prior to this season and haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972.
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