Patriots’ sustained success helps mark passage of time in different ways

MINNEAPOLIS – Last year on the morning of the Super Bowl, I posted a note about how the 2016 season was a meaningful journey regardless of how the game would unfold.

In that note, there was an understanding that if the result was not favorable to the Patriots, we might not be connecting for a bit, because there’s a blackout period some followers go through after a Super Bowl loss. It hurts for many, and I learned all about that in 2007 and 2011.

This year’s note has a little different feeling, and it captures what has been at the forefront of my thinking for a good part of the week: How the Patriots’ 17-year run of success under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady has lasted so long that it serves as a benchmark to note the passage of time/memorable events for those connected to the team.

As our lives evolve, with so many changes along the way, the team and its success has been a constant.

One way I think about that:

Daughter born in 2009. She’s never experienced a non-playoff season.

Son born in 2012. He just expects dad to work into mid-to-late January/early February every year at this point.

There are other ways I mark the time as it relates to football.

For example, I’m reminded of the length of Stephen Gostkowski’s career every time I think of our dog. Has it really been 12 years already? Yes, because the first day our beagle was howling in our home was July of 2006 when I returned from Madison, Mississippi from a trip to profile the rookie kicker who would try to replace legendary Adam Vinatieri.

The first question I ever asked Bill Belichick in a news conference was about a cornerback named Leonard Myers, who never broke through. That was late in the 2001 season — I had waited weeks to muster up the strength to do so — and my heart was pounding. I was nervous, just trying to find my way, 17 years ago.

My best pal’s wedding in California? Easy to remember; that was October of 2003 and I wasn’t going to miss it. That’s the last time I didn’t attend a Patriots home game; a 17-6 win over the Giants in which linebacker Matt Chatham had a 38-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

There have been hundreds of trips to Gillette Stadium since that time – preseason games, opening-night celebrations, playoff games.

Another memory from way back: There were times in the early 2000s that I would leave the press box hours before kickoff, walk to the Foxboro Terminals tailgate lot across from Papa Gino’s on Rte. 1, and visit family and friends while handing out the official depth chart. Can’t do that anymore with Twitter, which pretty much changed everything around 2010. Have to keep a close eye on warmups, post the inactives when they are released, and an added bonus is seeing Tom Brady and other teammates showing up at the stadium. Covering the pre-game is part of the gig now.

From the big-picture perspective, one of the things that has stood out to me in recent years is the growing feeling in certain circles that it is inevitable the Patriots will win each week. They’ve done it so often that anything less than a championship is a disappointment to some.

That’s a high bar to reach, yet another reminder of the passage of time. It wasn’t like that in 2001, when the Patriots were the lovable underdog. Today, they’re usually the favorite, even though it seldom seems to come easy to them. They work extremely hard for whatever they get, which I see on a daily basis.

On Sunday, they’ll play in their eighth Super Bowl under Belichick and Brady. This 17-year run has covered close to half my lifetime — from mid-20s single guy to early-40s father of two with a wonderful wife.

Hard to believe.


25 thoughts on “Patriots’ sustained success helps mark passage of time in different ways

  1. Hey Mike,

    I walk through memory lane quite a bit. I grew up in Easton, Ma, not too far from foxboro. In august 2001, I moved to college in Maryland and in February 2005, the day after the last time these two teams met, I moved to Israel. Especially recently, I visit the U.S. every year or so and catch up on how things were. My childhood memories filled with sports losses, while my adulthood has been filled with admiration and pride from a far. My mentality is from my childhood and because of that I take great enjoyment with every win because I always fear it could be the last one for awhile. What Boston has done since 2001, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and led by the Patriots has been phenomenal and unbelievable for the city. The chip on the shoulder of Boston that I grew with is no longer there, but for me, I know it can always return. Thank you for the article, life is built around memories and the Patriots have sure made everything memorable.


  2. Mike, Thanks for all your hard work, energy, and insight over the years. We all truly appreciate you and your professionalism.


  3. What a historic run it’s been. After so long, it’s easy to take it for granted, so it’s important to remember that once it ends, it will be extremely difficult to replicate. I was 17 when they won the first one; I feel incredibly fortunate that during my young adult years, Boston sports has produced so much excitement and championships.

    Thanks for your diligent and balanced coverage, Mike. Will look forward to moving “on to 2018” with you after SB. Enjoy the game, and Go Pats!



  4. Mike, you have tastefully shared the human side of the Patriots with us – that is actually for me the favorite part of what you provide.

    Thank you for also sharing your humanity.

    My brother may not live beyond today or this week – two weeks ago when the Patriots once again “did what the do” – my sister in Boston and I in Atlanta (yes a Boston transplant) both burst into tears (we are both well beyond 60 years of age) – and texted to each other – one more reason for our brother to fight to live.

    Life is wonderful – particularly as an American – but often it has real challenges and mysteries – such as death before it is expected. Sports in general and the Patriots in particular give fan(atic)s an important emotional support – we have had much more of this emotional support than any other fan base – we know we have been spoiled – we appreciate it – so win or lose – thank you Mike and thank you Patriots. My prediction for today – Love shuts out hate by a score of infinity to zero!


  5. Thanks for the report Mike. Bet you never guess back then that somebody from Indonesia will wait week after week to get the latest news from your articles regarding his favorite team. Cheers from Jakarta.


  6. Mike, A long time reader and listener from years ago in the UK, before moving to Australia 9 years ago. Still the go to man for all things Patriots, and similar to your life journey, we are indeed spoiled for all this 17 year run (and counting).


  7. Mike, you are easily my favourite reporter across all the sports platforms. Keep up the good work, it is thoroughly appreciated.


  8. Thanks Mike, we appreciate what you do each and every season. I have read your columns since your Reiss’ Pieces days, and my bookmark for the ESPN Boston site is called “Mike Reiss Patriots Blog”, even though you aren’t the only one posting on there. I look to you for the real story, and know when a “big Patriots story” is nothing to be overly concerned about when I see you decide not to immediately weigh in like everyone else. That said, you are my favorite Patriots writer, and I am glad things are going well for you! It was great to see you on the Not Done Network this week, too!

    Thanks again!


  9. The one constant for me since I started my professional and family life back in 2000 when it comes to the Pats, has been Mike Reiss. My Wife to this day always says something about how I’m too concerned with “Reiss’s Pieces” going back to the Globe days. Thanks for all you do, because your writing has always been my favorite and most reliable. Someday I’ll catch up with you assuming I ever get up that way from North Carolina. Keep it up. My best to you and your family.


  10. Thoughtful piece, Mike, on the amazing seventeen year journey we’ve enjoyed together. Regardless to today’s outcome, those wonderful moments will live on. Thank you for all you do for the fans of the greatest franchise in sports.


  11. Hi Mike! Greetings from Costa Rica. The Pats have been such an important part of my life for so long and today marks an important date since that magical 1st SB win.. Today is election date for us Ticos and only reminds me of such good memories around this time…democracy, Patriots and many Championships! Ive been following you for so long that is a must to start Sundays with some tea and your detailed weekly summary. No reporter gives better insights and real stories in the NFL. All the best for you, your family and your dog… Go Pats! Let’s get one more!!! Pat’s #1 fan from San Jose


  12. Thanks Mike. It’s very nice of you to share your personal reflections. I’m sure I’m not the only one to say we really appreciate your writing.

    Whenever I can hear a press coverage, it seems that often you’re one of the few reporters with the chops to ask Bill the first question after a tough game. I know you’ve earned his respect as he answers not too sarcastically.

    Here’s hoping today’s game will be one where it’s easy to ask him questions.


  13. Wonderful piece Mike. I recall a moment at my work space in Colorado the morning after the Broncos won the 2nd of their back to back SB’s. A co-worker came in all jacked up and “encouraged ” me to jump the Pats ship and become a Broncos’ fan. I suppose he meant well🤣


  14. Mike,

    To me, your writing on the Pats is such a big part of the team. I’m not ashamed to admit that I usually skip by other writers’ pieces on the blog to get to yours. You are remarkably professional and you anyways keep big picture in perspective when something negative, like a loss or key injury, happens and everyone starts writing us of. The words “thank you” don’t hold enough weight to show how much I appreciate your work. You are the best sports writer in business.


  15. A great perspective Mike, as the leader and co-founder of the most infamous fan group in the old stadium, Mosi’s Mooses, (ask your dad) and fan of the team from the 60’s this 17 year run has been beyond a dream. I’ve actually been posting a few pics from Super Bowl XX on Facebook aka snapface this week to try remind some of the young’ens that it wasn’t always this way. Back then just getting there was the triumph, now we expect every season to go to February.

    Thank you for all of your information and reporting over the years. Go Pats!!!


  16. Mike,
    My Dad took me to see my first professional Football game in 1960, The Boston Patriots vs the Buffalo Bills. I remember telling my Dad the thighs on the players were bigger than me. I remember helping tear down the wooden goal posts at Fenway park in 1963 playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. I attended almost every game at Fenway Park and Harvard Stadium (cement seats). Tried to get my wife interested in football so I took her to see Joe Namath and the Jets play the Patriots during a driving rain storm. Tried again and took her to see Lenny Dawson and the Kansa City Chiefs only to have it pour rain again. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I remember being so depressed during the 1982 Football strike. So many disappointing seasons, Billy Sullivan, Victor Kiam, the Lisa Olsen fiasco. Soooo many embarrassing moments. I saw the “worst game ever played” Patriots and the Baltimore Colts.

    BTW met your Dad at the Patriots Hall awhile ago and we still go to El Dente in the North End


  17. Mike, you do a professional and thorough job every time you write or speak about the Patriots. Those of us that remember when the “Patsies”, (late 60’s-early/70’s, late 80’s-90’s), were the laughingstock of the NFL, and the Pack, Steelers, Cowboys, Niners, etc were the envy of all, now revel in this run! As I tell today’s followers that didn’t suffer the embarrassment of the early decade teams, “These are the Good Old Days, enjoy them”


  18. Hello Mike- admired your reporting of our beloved Pats. Your professionalism and humbleness is exemplary. Living in Atlanta becomes easy when I read your notes about our Pats. Thank you.

    Proud of your work. Let us keep the streak going for another half a decade! Brady will be just 45 years young !


  19. Hi Mike. Feels like this has been said before, but just a quick note before the Superbowl to thank you, once again, for all the great work you’ve done this season. As an overseas Pats fan, I particularly appreciate your work in bringing such high-quality coverage to all of us who can’t get to Foxboro. Your integrity and insight remain second to none. More personally, it must have been about ten years ago now in one of your chats when I asked how you cope with all the nerves and excitement around tight play-off games, as I found the tension almost unbearable. You advised me to just try to enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. Great advice, a decade on! Thanks once again, and all the best to you and your family. Dan


  20. Hi Mike, I was born just a few towns away from Foxborough, in Norwood. Left in 1991, followed Pats through the 90’s then in the 2000’s everything changed. Belichick , Brady and you, thanks for all the insight you give us transplants. You are the best !!!!


  21. Mike, as a Pats fan since 1963 when I was 3, (and the fan club meeting was held in a phone booth) I also have lived thru the Pat’s ups and downs. And I’ll say this, you have brought a professionalism and home-town love to your reporting…both at the same time. Of all the Pat’s reporters over all the years, it is your articles that I never miss. You are the best and congrats on being a great reporter and more to Pats’ nation. Great job and thank-you.


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