I was nonplussed the other day to hear my cousin up in Maine say that people were ganging up on Tom Brady because they were jealous of the star quarterback and the New England Patriots.
I didn’t expect this from a straight arrow like him — a respected, retired English professor and author. But the next day The New York Times reported something similar under the headline “Patriot Fans Around Boston Stand by Brady.”
New Englanders do look after their own. Looking back, The Times recalled James Michael Curley, mayor of Boston four times in the last century, was once elected when he was serving time for fraud.
Boston, the keystone and uncrowned capital of New England, is fiercely protective of its own. At the same time, it can be a good judge of character. Massachusetts was the only state that that did not vote for Richard Nixon in 1972. But there’s another side to the story I’ll get to in a moment.
In my native Boston, one can forgive a transgression or two to keep a rascal like Curley on the political dole. The blurb on the jacket of the 1992 Curley biography “The Rascal King” by Jack Beatty still rings true — “Twice-jailed scoundrel, and the people’s champion, builder of hospitals and schools and shameless grafter, pioneer of the New Deal, 'Kingfish of Massachusetts,' spellbinding orator and master of political farce, James Michael Curley was the stuff of legend long before his life became fiction in Edwin O’Connor’s classic novel ‘The Last Hurrah.’”
I was a kid, but I remember Curley on the stump and on the radio. He was the best actor in my time, except for Orson Welles and F.D.R.
So, what’s such a big deal about a little loss of air pressure from a few footballs? If the voters could keep James Michael Curley in office it should not come as a shock that this puzzling disappearance of air pressure fails to shake citizens’ allegiance to their sports idol, Tom Brady, and the Patriots. Brady and his mates have done their duty in restoring New England’s pride when the Red Sox falter as they have since 2013.
Speaking of the Red Sox, is there a New Englander now alive who does not remember ’04, when the Sox broke Bambino’s curse and won a World Series for the first time in 86 years?
This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.