It was early in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots held a slim 12-6 lead, and very few of the numerous Pats fans at New Era Field felt confident.

I turned to my friend Michael, and said as much. This game is too close. The Pats are letting the Bills hang around. Only bad things happen when you let a lousy team hang around.

The Bills fan sitting directly in front of me turned around. He’d spent the entire game chain smoking from a pack of cigarettes he accidentally crushed when he fell in the parking lot, thumbing his nose at New Era Field’s non-smoking policy. Now, he’d heard enough from me, the Patriots fan over his shoulder.

“You Pats fans are awful. You’re ahead, you’re going to win, and you act like you’re going to lose,” he said.

He said it with a little more color and used words editorial standards forbid me from writing, but you get the idea.

Michael and I looked at each, and looked around at all the fans wearing Patriots paraphernalia, and nodded. The guy was right.

As fans of some of the most successful teams of the last 20 years, New England fans need to step back and enjoy it all. Often, it feels as if we’re looking toward the end rather than enjoying the now.

Our exchange with the Buffalo fan came less than 24 hours after the Red Sox won the World Series. The Sox went 11-3 in the postseason. Dominated every series. In the World Series, it took the Los Angeles Dodgers 18 innings, many against a Boston lineup full of backups and a pitcher who had to bat because there was nobody to bring in to pinch hit, to win. Think about that. Everything went the Dodgers way in Game 3, and it still took them two games to finish the job.

Yeah, we’re spoiled. We just need to not act like it.

Please, during the next duck boat parade, do not throw beers. Keep your beers. Drink your beers. If Alex Cora or Mookie Betts wanted a beer, they could find one. If we want to continue having these victory parades, you have to act like you’ve been here before.

You have been here before. Many, many times.

This much winning is the exception. If you’re a fan of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, you’ve seen each team win a championship in the last decade and change.

This brings me back to Buffalo, a fan base that would love to have our jaded problems.

At halftime of Monday’s game against the Patriots, the team retired Thurman Thomas’ number 34. If you’re old enough to remember when the Patriots were among the worst teams in the NFL, you remember Thomas putting up big stats against them. In the early ’90s, Thomas was a key player in Buffalo’s dominant offense.

The Thomas ceremony was done beautifully, but there was an underlying sadness to it. While the stadium cheered, it was a reminder of all those almosts the Bills had in losing four consecutive Super Bowls. Thomas, former Bills coach Marv Levy, his teammates in attendance, none of them was able to raise a fist and show off a giant Super Bowl ring. Nobody raises a fist to show off an AFC championship ring. Nobody polishes the second place trophy.

We can lament Patriot losses to the Eagles and Giants in the Super Bowl, but our thoughts quickly turn to comeback wins over the Falcons and Seahawks. Buffalo has Thomas, but it doesn’t have a James White or Malcolm Butler.

The Red Sox went 86 years between World Series wins. Now, if you’re under 50, you’ve seen them win more World Series than they’ve lost. We can talk about which team will host the next duck boat parade, and the discussion contains absolutely no irony.

Duck boat parades never get old. They also should never be taken for granted.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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