However things turn out in Super Bowl LI, it’s been a meaningful journey

HOUSTON — So the journey will end here in Houston, one way or the other. And I know how this works.

In 2007, when the New England Patriots had their perfect season dashed by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, there was a blackout of sorts in the ensuing months. When 2008 training camp began, I heard from several readers and the words were mostly the same, “Hey, it’s good to be back. Had to shut you out of my life for a few months before I could come back. Too painful. I think we’re OK to see each other again.”

Ditto for the 2011 season, when the Patriots once again lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl.

So depending on what happens Sunday night in Super Bowl LI between the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium, there’s a chance we won’t be connecting for a short while. That’s why I want to seize this opportunity now, just in case, because there’s a few things I’d like to say.

It struck me Saturday night while surrounded by Patriots fans partying it up and enjoying the moment. A few came up to introduce themselves and said ‘thank you’ for the coverage during the season.

It was extremely nice, but what I quickly told them is that I’m the one who should be saying thanks. There are a lot of choices out there for the consumer these days, and that you choose to read my work means the most to me.

I truly love the work. There is something special to me about following a team from start to finish, getting to know more about the coaches and players along the way, while chronicling the behind-the-scenes happenings and up-and-down aspect of the games themselves. The Patriots play a good brand of football, which helps as well.

I also love how sports connects us all in different ways, which is starting to happen in my own home. When my daughter (7) asked me for a score prediction for the Super Bowl during a FaceTime chat earlier Saturday, what else could I do but smile? And then there was the time a few weeks back when my 4-year-old son’s preschool was having “Patriots day” to show their support, his dad forgot to dress him in his shirt (5-yard penalty and loss of down), and the little guy didn’t want to take off his jacket when we got to school because he wanted to be part of the team like everyone else. I was a few minutes late for Bill Belichick’s news conference that day because of the detour to head back home to get his shirt. The smile on my son’s face upon my return is the type of thing you store away and think about when you’re away for eight straight days at the Super Bowl and need that pick-me-up.

This has been a great year, one of my favorites covering the Patriots no matter how it ends. It helps that there are a lot of quality people on the team, as well as those in the media corps covering it.

So let’s wrap this up. If the Patriots can’t close it out against the Falcons, you might shut it down like 2007, 2011 and some other seasons, and I understand it. There’s a lot of passion that goes into following a team.

Then again, we might see each other from the Duck Boats in a few days.

However it ends, I think we can all agree that it’s been fun being on this ride together all the way to Feb. 5. We can’t always guarantee the endings, but when one embraces the journey on a day-to-day basis, there are often many rewards received along the way regardless.

So thank you for that. And I look forward to reconnecting again, whenever that may be.

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33 thoughts on “However things turn out in Super Bowl LI, it’s been a meaningful journey

  1. Great stuff, Mike. Your coverage is top notch and have appreciated your work for years. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope we’re all celebrating another title tonight instead of “shutting you down” for awhile.

    Go Pats! #OneMore

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  2. Thanks Mike for all your energy and old-school fact-based reporting. I look forward to your posts every day, and I know many others that do too. Enjoy the off season.

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  3. Another great season of Football, Mike! Thanks for all you do for the fans producing the best Patriots/NFL content in the business. We’re blessed to have you in this region as our “go to” link to stay up to date on everything. To watch you come from a volunteer sports reporter at the MW News while you were a high school student to where you are now has been inspiring & makes me so proud to call you a friend. I’ll catch up with you today on the Twitter-verse & have a great game my man!
    Yours in Football,
    Burkie

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  4. Mike,

    My son and I enjoyed meeting you a couple years ago in Green Bay. I always look forward to reading your articles. Take care and enjoy the off season.

    Paul O.

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  5. Mike

    Read the stuff nearly every day as more consistent than most of the analysis around the team. Appreciate the effort and insight you give to the team and the professionalism to your job. A lovely note and well said.

    Mark

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  6. I love all things Patriots, Mike, and you remain in the heart of it. It wouldn’t be the same without you and that’s the God’s honest truth. Let’s get one more!!!

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  7. It’s not your “work,” it’s your PASSION, Mike!

    And that’s what makes it the highest of quality and Kris is coming back!

    Keep it up and thank you from all over Patriots Nation!

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  8. Best reporter and my favorite going back to when I became a fan over 20 years ago. Always read you first and foremost, and fill the time with the other guys while I wait for your next one. Thanks for another great year Mike, you’re the best!

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  9. You’re the best Mike! Been following you consistently since the Boston Globe days. You blow away the competition. I hope you are correct in your score prediction for the game!

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  10. You’re a class act Mike and I really enjoy reading your work. Thanks for keeping us connected and always informed about our beloved Pats. I truly hope we will be reading lots of celebratory columns/articles come tomorrow. Go Pats!

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  11. As always, your take on all things Patriots is the first place I go and the one place I know I can trust to be on point, insightful, and free of over-hyped or sensational motives. Just the fact you can point out the above shows that you understand not only the pulse of the team, but of your readers, and don’t feel the need to “keep us on the hook.” It’s been a joy to observe your growth as a reporter over the years, as you’ve become a reliable friend most of us have never actually talked to – and much like the success of the team this past 17 years, I hope we appreciate it while we have it 🙂

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  12. Thanks, mike!!
    I’ve pretty much read you everyday for the last 15 years. You seem like you’d be a great guy to have a bear with and talk pats football. Enjoy the game!

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  13. Thanks for another great season Mike. Us overseas members of Pats Nation really appreciate everything you do to keep us up-to-speed with the team. You’re the finest Pats writer out there – please keep doing what you’re doing.

    #IStillBelieveInGregSalas

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  14. My husband just told me to read this, because “Mike gets it,” Great story, and thanks. (I will still follow you Twitter, regardless ;-]

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  15. You’re the best there is, Mike. I visit your stories throughout the day, always looking for the next one. Appreciate the time, insight, and class in your work. I’m a long distance fan for the Pats for over 35 years now, and you are an oasis in the desert of sports writing, let alone one who covers my favorite team so passionately and consistently. You da man, and I’m grateful you’re out there doing what you do. Go Pats!

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  16. Mike: I always turn to you first for Patriots coverage. I appreciate your hard work, dedication, diligence, quiet passion, level head and your understanding of how much the Patriots mean to us. You read our minds with your coverage. Many times I have had the thought that I’d like to know “X” about the Patriots, a game, a player, etc. and sure enough, you have a story or blurb about that very thing. Thanks for a great year of coverage!

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  17. Mike- thanks for your continued excellence at your craft. In a world of click-bait sensationalism your articles are always relevant, original, and authentic. I served in the military for eight years, and sports was a way I could stay connected with my family on deployments. I always sent your quick hits thoughts articles to my folks on Sunday (I’m sure they could have read them on their own but I still sent them) and we’d talk about it when I got a chance to call home. Just a small example of how your work can impact the lives of fans- I always appreciated how thorough, factual, and accountable you are as a writer, and even though you write for the patriots, you always come across as unbiased and refrain from jumping to conclusions. I don’t know what this says, but you were one of the few journalists I would read during the whole deflate-gate nonsense. I feel like your work is a reflection of the type of person that you are- and I really appreciate there are writers like you out there. Thank you!

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  18. I follow you from Zaragoza, Spain on a daily basis as a big fan from the Pats and your work. The only but that I would mention to your work this year is (and this is very personal) that in the last week I found difficult to know what was the status on the team in terms of practice, injuries or anything odd. I know it just might be that the team is all set and ready with no major injuries, but it is something that I missed. Other than that, great work!!!

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  19. Great work Mike. Love your work every week. My personal favorites are your weekly snap count breakdown and football journeys with new Patriots. I feel blessed to read your work. Thanks for all you out in. Go Pats!

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  20. I read every article you write, because I know that you put in the time and effort to do the job right. Your investment makes mine worth it. I appreciate your style and keeping what seems like a real connection to us fans throughout the ESPN fallouts.

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  21. Mike you truly are the best in the business. Your Sunday notes section is must read and it reminds me so much of the Gammons stories in the Sunday Globe that I used to read. Thanks for being the one of the few reporters in town who never make it about themselves and showing almost no ego. You are a great role model for what a reporter should be.

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  22. Hello,
    Brazilian fan over here. It’s been a blast reading your NE pieces the last years. It’s a daily routine for me. As a journalist my self, I admire the accountability you put yourself through in every article. Here’s to one more good day of work. Hope I’ll want to read the your article right after the SB tonight!

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  23. Congrats to you and the Pats. The team just did it again. You’ve brought it to us with class just like the class shown by Kraft, BB and TB12

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