Life is good for fans of the New England Patriots.
They have five Super Bowl championships in the last 20 years, including last year’s historic comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons. Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest coach of all time.
So what would it take for Patriots fans to boo the team before a single snap of football is played in a game.
Kneeling for the national anthem, apparently.
The Patriots joined widespread national anthem protests on Sunday before their home game against the Houston Texans. For the first time ever, some Patriots players opted to kneel for the national anthem.
Many others, including Brady, were linked arm in arm behind the kneeling players. Interestingly, not a single Texans player knelt. They did, however, also join each other with their arms linked as a show of solidarity.
— GREG BAILEY (@GREGBAILEY13) SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
— BOSTON HERALD (@BOSTONHERALD) SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
It’s not unheard of for home fans to boo their own team. Calling a draw play on 3rd-and-a-mile? Boos. Dropped passes? Boos. Blown coverages? Boos.
But for fans to boo their own team, especially ones as historically successful as the Patriots, before a game is a powerful statement to send.
And make no mistake about it, this wasn’t a small contingency of Pats fans. During the national CBS broadcast, very audible boos could be heard following the national anthem before they abruptly cut away to a commercial.
In a stadium as big as Gillette, a small handful of fans won’t register that kind of noise. It takes a sizable contingency of fans for boos to be so clearly audible.
Early Sunday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently spoke out against President Donald Trump’s public condemnation of NFL anthem protesters.
— NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (@PATRIOTS) SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
Kraft has been a noted Trump supporter, even detailing their previous friendship. According to Kraft, Trump offered condolences and support when Robert’s wife Myra passed away in 2011.
Belichick and Brady have also publicly acknowledged their friendships with Trump.