NFL training camps are opening so rival fans can practice being jealous of the Patriots

By Ryan McLaughlin Sports Chowdah. Summer in New England tends to fly by, doesn’t it? Heck, I’m already counting down the days until my vacation at the end of August. And for Patriots fans? July 25 – the start of training camp – is marked on the calendar as well.

It is on mine. The drive to a potential record-breaking seventh Super Bowl championship will kick off. We’re officially on to 2019.

My message to NFL fans everywhere, even those who aren’t Pats fans? Appreciate what you’re watching.

Like a lot of “90’s kids,” I grew up on the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen-led Chicago Bulls dynasty. When it ended in 1998, we all wondered, in the pending “free-agent era” of pro sports where superstars hopscotch between teams, would we see anything like this again?

We currently are. And in markets like Pittsburgh, Dallas, Miami, the Bay Area and New York, the Brady-and-Patriots hatred grows with every trophy. I get that. I’m sure the Utah Jazz were the NBA’s “America’s Team” in the spring of 1998.

Glancing at my Twitter feed often, Pittsburgh and Dallas are the two most “envious” fan bases. In particular that one in western Pennsylvania. I should remind them the Steelers haven’t beaten the Pats in the playoffs in more than two decades.

You don’t have to be a Patriots or Tom Brady fan to appreciate what is going on in Fort Foxboro. But by golly, you should respect it. This Celtics fan watched Jordan’s Bulls more than the Green in the 90’s, growing up with basic cable and hearing that NBA on NBC jingle and Marv Albert’s dulcet tones every Sunday. To this day, my uncle jokingly calls me a Bulls fan.

In an era where LeBron James is constantly recruiting “rival” superstars to play with him, there is one constant in professional sports. It’s here in New England. The Patriots have had one coach and quarterback since 2000. They’ve had two, TWO, sub-.500 records since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

If you are a Patriots fan, appreciate it more as Brady’s age grows. Yes, so long as the Kraft family is in charge of this organization, the Pats will always be competitive, even after Brady and Bill Belichick are done doing what they do.

We know what to expect around here. And it’s hard to imagine with the schedule the Pats have this year, 13 to 14 wins and the road to the Super Bowl in Miami going down Route 1 once again.

Cheer for your team, enjoy the season, and appreciate what’s going on in New England. Don’t waste your energy being jealous.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.