The 2006 AFC Divisional playoff game between the Patriots and Chargers in San Diego was one of the best fan experiences of my life. I recounted the whole story on my original Patriots blog way 10 years ago, and my original plan was to just throw out a link to that but unfortunately that blog has finally gone dark. So now I must re-write and re-tell the story but it’s one that’s well worth it and something that must be preserved in the history of Pats Propaganda.
So buckle up, it’s a fun ride.
2006 was when my Patriots craziness really kicked in. Yes, I had grown up just a few towns over from Foxboro and saw plenty of the Patriots getting their asses handed to them in the 80’s and 90’s. I had the thrills of the ’85 and ’96 Super Bowl runs, but by their first title in 2001 I was living in Los Angeles, watching from afar, and disappointed that I wasn’t living at home when all the success started happening.
One thing about Los Angeles, there are fans of all teams and gathering together with your fan-ily on Sundays was a great way to get a taste of home, especially at a bar like Sonny McClean’s in Santa Monica. The 2005 playoff loss to Denver hit me hard. It suddenly dawned on me that we had this young quarterback and “genius” head coach who still had a long career ahead of them. How many titles could they get? How great could they be?
For whatever reason that loss was what pushed my obsession into overdrive. I started frequenting PatsFans.com’s message board and devouring any and all posts by Mike Reiss, who scratched the major itch I had to understand the game at a higher level. I became a student of the game and a student of being a fan on the internet all at the same time. It would be another year, in December 2007, before I started blogging about the Pats, but in 2006 I was all in. Every Sunday was a major event like it had never been before.
I didn’t realize it until I was sitting in Sonny McCleans for the Pats’ AFC Wild Card game against the Jets that if they won, they’d go to San Diego to face the Chargers, an easy two-to-three hour drive depending on traffic as everything in Souther California depends upon.
The Pats won and I vowed to myself I’d find a way to get to the game.