HIT THE LINE HARD: What’s wrong with second favorites?

By Ryan Schlehuber "Scoop" • Last Updated 3:46 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I have been a fan of all the Detroit pro sports teams all my life. But I also have second favorites. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with others.

I remember the very day I became a New England Patriots fan … are you done gasping? Ok. So, as I was saying, I remember the day I became a New England Patriots fan. It was the 1985-86 Super Bowl. If you can’t recall, they were thumped by the Chicago Bears 46-10.

I was 12 years old and, at the time, was all about the Lions (remember Eric Hipple? Eddie Murray? Rob Rubick?), but as the Patriots were getting dominated by the likes of the great Walter Payton, the cocky quarterback Jim McMahon and William “The Fridge” Perry, something about the Patriots enamored me.

Maybe it was the red, white and blue colors, or the cool logo of a Patriot in a football stance holding a football. Maybe it was the underdog theory, in which I really hoped Tony Eason and Craig James could make an epic comeback.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. But on that day, for whatever reason, I took on a second favorite team.

When I mention my love for the Patriots to certain friends, they react with a disgusted look on their face, which I, in turn, laugh, mostly because I knew that was coming.

In fact, more than one friend has told me I can’t have a second favorite. What? Did President Donald Trump pass an executive order I wasn’t aware of that bans having second favorite teams?

No, but apparently there is this unwritten rule that many NFL fans go by in which you’re only allowed one favorite team. Otherwise you’re a traitor to your team and not really a pure football fan.

I have a theory why I’m getting so much flack.

It’s not so much that I’m a traitor to my beloved Lions or that I’m picking a second favorite team because the Lions are a joke when it comes to the playoffs — seriously, I think there are memes out there — it’s the fact I’m backing thee New England Patriots.

The same team accused of stealing play calls, the same team that generated “Deflategate,” the same team that just keeps coming back to the Super Bowl, irritating the rest of the NFL fanbase not affiliated with the Chowderheads of the East, that’s my second favorite team.

I guess some people just can’t handle me “jumping on the bandwagon,” … when I was 12.

I used to get so defensive when I was accused of jumping on the bandwagon. But, how does the saying go? You can’t help who you love?

No matter how many times the Lions disappoint me, I will still love them. But I have enough room in my heart to love the Patriots, as well.

So, as I cheer on my second favorite team as it enters its ninth Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, I’ll absorb the jeers, ribbings and nasty looks I’ll probably get.

But that’s OK. I have had a very comfortable seat on the “wagon” for a very long time. Go Patriots!

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