Life as a New England sports fan has been so good lately, I’ve forgotten how bad crow tastes. Not so long ago, Boston was not the sports mecca that it is now. The Red Sox were perennial underachievers, the Celtics and the Bruins both sucked, and the Patriots were the underdog that suddenly won every important game. But in a cruel twist of fate, the sports world of a New Englander has done a 180. Now the Sox have won two World Series titles in four seasons, the Celtics are returning to glory with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and even the Bruins have regained the grittiness that was the staple of their glory years.
Which brings us to the Patriots.
After a season of dominating the league and breaking every offensive record in the NFL record books, the Pats had the opportunity for immortality. The chance for a perfect season. The chance to finally silence the old, crotchety bastards known as the 1972 Dolphins. The chance to be the first sports dynasty of the 21st century. Only this time, the Patriots looked over-matched, out-coached, out-muscled, and completely outplayed by the New York Giants. This was supposed to be a sure thing. I was thinking scores in the triple digits, Tom Coughlin stroking out on the sideline, Bill Belicheck smiling smugly in victory. Instead we witnessed Tom Brady doing his best Tony Romo impression, bringing his celebrity girlfriend to the biggest game in the history of the league. Has Brady not learned anything from Romo? It’s too hard to play a perfect game when you’re trying to impress your date. This is exactly the reason I never bring my supermodel girlfriend to work with me.
Now, I can take the Pats losing the Super Bowl. It’s not like they lost on a fluke play; they were dominated the entire game. New England was lucky to still be in it when Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown. What I am having trouble dealing with is the fact that it was a New York team that took the Patriots down.
This is our time to control the sports world. The Red Sox have made the Yankees their bitch the last couple of years, making them the second most important baseball team in New York. Now I have to put up with fair-weathered New York fans who are going to abandon their beloved Yankees to climb aboard the Giants bandwagon. If the Patriots had lost the Super Bowl to the Cowboys, Green Bay, or anyone else, I wouldn’t like it, but I would get over it a lot quicker then this. This feels like a simultaneous punch in the stomach along with finding out that your wife is sleeping around with Hank Steinbrenner. This one is going to take some time to get over.
My only salvation is knowing that the Pats have the 7th pick in the draft this year, which they’ll turn into nine draft picks that will totally revamp their aging defense. I do hope to see a repeat performance of this season’s offensive juggernaut next season, but something tells me that we may have seen the last days of Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth. I anticipate New England turning into a more run-oriented team and climbing onto the back of Laurence Maroney next year.
After a perfect regular season that was all for naught, I am going to try and take comfort in these three things: First of all, there are only two Manning brothers in the NFL, so there is no chance of a third Manning playing in the big game next year and winning the MVP. Secondly, there is a really good chance that some of the 1972 Dolphins are going to kick the bucket this year, so that will be a few less idiots to relive their glory days. And finally, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just 11 days.
If this isn’t enough to heal the wounds from the Super Bowl loss, remember… A-Rod still sucks.