Gratitude journal: Patriots

Tonight I am grateful for the New England Patriots, who are once again heading to the Super Bowl after an emotionally draining game in Foxboro today. More than six hours after the game ended, I am finally home and still on edge.

It was an exciting game, but give me a blow out any day.

This will be the Patriots seventh Super Bowl in franchise history and their fifth in the previous decade. They have won three NFL titles thus far.

Impressive to say the least.

When I first became a fan of the Patriots, the team was not a winner. Games were held in the old Foxboro Stadium, which was little more than a concrete bowl surrounded by a dirt parking lot. Victories were few and far between, and the playoffs were a rarity indeed. In 1992, when I was living less than a mile from the stadium, the team went 1-15 and suffered through a locker room sex scandal that caused me to give up my season tickets.

There were more bad times than good during those years, and I suffered through many years of frustration.

Even when the team went to their first Super Bowl in 1986, they were embarrassed by the Chicago Bears.

I am extremely fortunate that the franchise has turned around and become one of the most winning teams in NFL history, and I count myself lucky to have been able to attend games on a regular basis for the last three years as a season ticket holder once again and prior to that on a less frequent but fairly consistent basis.

I will never forget the excitement and joy in watching the Patriots win the AFC championship tonight, and I am so grateful to have been there to witness this historic game.