Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconetti

What Happens When You Get Engaged to a Patriots Fan

Love can lead to unexpected Super Bowl allegiances, as reality TV star Ashley Iaconetti is learning

Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconetti (Credit: Sara Jaye Weiss/Shutterstock)

I was born and raised a New York Giants fan. Every Sunday in our house was like Super Bowl Sunday, as my dad had at least 10 transplanted Giants fans over to our place in Northern Va. to watch the game with a wide variety of Italian food. We’ve been season-ticket holders for about a decade, and the tickets are the possession my dad is most excited to pass down to us and the grandkids.

Eli Manning got drafted when I was 16 years old, and I instantly became an invested fan because I thought he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. He was the utmost adorkable, endearing, underdog thing. I even held up some cringeworthy signs at games as a high schooler where my internal teenybopper overlapped with the football fan in me. Once the Giants won the NFC Championship game in January 2008, I made iMovie videos and PowerPoint presentations to help convince my dad that the memories created would out-value the hefty price tag that comes along with a Super Bowl trip. It worked! And we had the most unforgettable father-daughter experience when we went to the rematch of the Patriots v. Giants Super Bowl in 2008 in Indianapolis. When the confetti fell to celebrate the Giants' victory, I cried happy tears.
So, seven years later, why am I wearing a New England Patriots sweatshirt as I type this article? Well, I’m engaged to a man who loves Tom Brady more than me. Just kidding! He says he loves me more, which I mostly believe. Sometimes. But I’ve got to say, I’m envious of the way he looks at Brady when he’s on TV.

Unlike most Giants fans, my dad has always had a soft spot for the Patriots dynasty. He admires the team’s talent, work ethic and smarts. It rubbed off on me. Fast-forward to me falling in love with a Pats fan, and my appreciation for the franchise has only strengthened. Honestly, I think it’s un-American to not respect the Patriots, at the very least. Striving and achieving greatness shouldn’t ever be called unfair in our society. So please never tell me that the Patriots going to Super Bowl after Super Bowl is unfair, and that they need to give someone else a chance. And please don’t give me any BS about their cheating scandals because you know they still would have won those five Super Bowls with fully inflated balls and without sideline recordings.
Patriots fans are not just fanatical about their team's players—they consider them family. Being in R.I. this Christmas season, I noticed that, just after asking family and friends how they’re doing, New Englanders ask each other how they think Tom Brady is doing. My fiancé, Jared, watches games over again the week they’re played, like he’s studying film. On his ideal day, he gets to listen to five hours a day of his beloved Felger & Mazz sport-talk radio program and watch Patriots mic’d-up YouTube videos.

It’s through these mediums and Jared’s storytelling that I’ve developed an attachment to the tales and the characters of this dynasty. It’s a fantastic drama. Chicago native Jenny McCarthy has always been a big Bears fan. When I was on The Jenny McCarthy Show earlier this week, I asked Jenny if she finds herself as enamored with the Patriots as I do after she married a Boston guy (Donnie Wahlberg). She says she loves coach Bill Belichick and the gang even more than Da Bears now after watching so many hours of documentaries and games with Donnie. They’re fun to watch, and they’ve miraculously never been taken down by hubris. Despite all the talented players, you don’t hear about locker-room cancers with New England. They don’t put up with divas. The players really seem to put team before self.
Fast-forward to me falling in love with a Pats fan, and my appreciation for the franchise has only strengthened. Honestly, I think it’s un-American to not respect the Patriots.
Maybe I’ve been brainwashed and joined the cult, but y'know, when people exude so much passion and energy for something, it’s hard to turn away from the light. I still root for the Giants, first and foremost, but when they’re not in it, and when their placement isn’t affected by Patriots wins, I feel guilt-free rooting for the Pats. Besides, we beat them in two Super Bowls! I can understand Pats fans hating the Giants, but I don’t know that Giants fans really have anything to hate.

Jared and I are headed to Atlanta today for the Super Bowl. I’m most looking forward to seeing him in his version of heaven, and hearing his voice get to its highest octave with excitement. If the confetti falls to honor the Patriots' sixth Super Bowl victory, with a win over the Los Angeles Rams, I’ll probably cry happy tears. But after that, I’m going to need to be a pillar of strength for Jared once Brady and Belichick retire because I know he will spiral down a very dark, sad hole. 

Ashley Iaconetti is a writer and hosts a number of podcasts, including I Don't Get It. She and Jared Haibon got engaged last summer on ABC's Bachelor in Paradise after multiple seasons of friend-zone agony. 

Top Sports & Gaming Picks

Explore Categories