It’s difficult to pick between Boston teams’ successes, but each squad in the hub seems to hold a different sway over the city’s people. A Patriots crowd is one of entitlement and inevitability; for 20 years, you’ve paid for a ticket to Foxborough to sit back, relax and watch the best of the best work.
A Red Sox postseason run crowd might hold the most obvious collective influence on the action. 50,000 people inhaling and exhaling with long fly balls while rattling the opposing pitcher … every Sox playoff crowd feels like a collection of groans waiting to break out into song. The Bruins? That’s where Bostonians flip the switch and let their dark side out, cheering Brad Marchand as he pushes past the boundary of acceptable behavior.
But a good or great Celtics team? That’s where Boston becomes Hollywood. When the Celtics are stunning, every celebrity — local or otherwise — wants a piece of the action.
Boston is a special sports city because of the genuine, non-corny way each team feeds off the others’ successes. When one fails, there’s another potential success waiting around the corner. And when a homegrown, beloved team like this year’s Cs is doing things the right way, every big game is an event, and another opportunity for the next squad up to realize how fortunate they are.
Ask Jonnu Smith, who’s admitted that attending local sporting events has helped his Patriots approach their ceiling. Based on what we’ve seen lately, this 2021-22 Celtics run — which isn’t done yet — has played a large part in building voluntary offseason chemistry.
Patriots following in 2021-22 Boston Celtics footsteps?
Hmm. Wonder if Smith, specifically, learned anything from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown learning how to coexist after Hunter Henry stole his spotlight in Year 1.
A plethora of Patriots were spotted in the Garden crowd for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which started with a run so historic that the home team nearly stretched the score to 28-3.
Patriots players haven’t kept their inspiration secret. Nearly the entire team sported green C’s hats to OTAs last Monday, before heading to Game 4 almost en masse later that night.
And what’s not to love about a Celtics team that shook off a .500 start (that lasted several months) to become appointment viewing? What’s not to love about a Celtics team deemed “close, but not quite,” only for Tatum and Brown to up their level of play significantly after Ime Udoka lit a fire under them?
And what’s not to like about a Boston team finally emerging from the shadows of a previous championship administration to carve their own legacy?
Perhaps that’s the lesson most easily learned by the Patriots: celebrate Tom Brady all you want, but he’s not here anymore. The onus is on you to put on for this city.
So that, maybe someday soon, Mac Jones’ victories in big games will feel inevitable once more.