Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lets Talk About Sports Baby - Volume 14

So let’s get all psycho fan for a moment and start writing the obituary for the Patriots season. Tom Brady is gone for the rest of the season and with that goes the Patriots plan for avenging their Super Bowl debacle of last year, spygate and all of the other rotten things that Patriots fans have had to endure for the last year. I know that the double edged sword that comes with being a Patriots fan should have its ups and downs, like it does for the fans of any other sports team, but the downs have been pretty startling the last couple of years at least. I guess that the drama will play out with or without my permission so I want to take this opportunity to go all “kook fringe” with the rest of the football world for a change.

Starting with the facts, I just want to point out that I completely understand then animosity that most of the world has for the New England Patriots now a days, because I have been there. When I was sitting on a steel bench at Sullivan Stadium watching the 1 and 13 Patriots get walloped by “Insert Name of Team Here” I was every bit as pathetic as Patriots haters are now. I hated the Cowboys and their over inflated payroll, the San Francisco 49ers and their inexhaustible salaries as well. I hated the Miami Dolphins and their stupid Quarterback {Dan Marino} taking up space in the playoffs to get embarrassed by some up and coming team every year, and John Elway and the Denver Broncos, let’s just not go there. Then there was the Buffalo Bills and their innate way of dominating the AFC just to show the world how much better the NFC was. I was full of hate for any team that was better than mine, and I was justified. Hell I was a Red Sox fan too so what did you expect?

Now I have to deal with the “bandwagon fans” that storm the Patriots games and making the tickets too expensive for shlubs like me. I know this all too well as I sat in the snow and could count all of the people in the stands easily as there were none. I only went to the games because you couldn’t get them on the television half the time, due to blackout restrictions, and now I sit at home and watch the team as they are picked apart by all of the people that I used to be. Fair is fair, but during the “Salary Cap” era of professional football the New England Patriots have dominated, and it all started with an injury just like the one that happened to Tom Brady. With that said Matt Castle is NOT Tom Brady, so that argument is kinda moot, and on the same side of the coin, Tom Brady is NOT Drew Bledsoe, which probably had more to do with that than anything else. The important thing though here is that nobody is Bill Belichick, and that is the most important part of it all.

The second undefeated season will not happen, and that is a foregone conclusion in all of this, but there are a lot of people on the New England Patriots with pride that are not going to allow the team to fall into the toilet because of this. I think there is a justified stance that the same mental attitude that propelled the team to its first Super Bowl victory could apply here as well. The first thing that everyone said was that without Bledsoe the team was doomed. The people on the television were telling everyone that the team had quit because they hated Bill Belichick. Well they showed everyone then didn’t they? That was a different team too though, as most of them were “has beens” with no business playing football anymore. A cast of characters that Bill Belichick believed in enough to help get the team through a rather hard transition year after being horrendous the year before, and it gave the team a chip that nobody could knock off. Not even the greatest show on turf, who was at the time a 20 point favorite to blow the Patriots out in the Super Bowl.

Don’t think that this cast of “has beens” that have no business winning without Tom Brady don’t feel a bit of that 2001 Mojo that propelled that team to the impossible defeat of the St Louis Rams. The big difference here is that this team knows that the coach has been here before, and perhaps this is exactly what he needs to rebuild his tarnished legacy in an age where the news media turns anyone with success into a demon. We simply feed off the insecurities of the unthinking and then grow it like a flower that will never die, but at the same time we seem to like the underdog. The Patriots are now the underdog that was the prohibitive favorite just a week ago, and it all started with a simple knee injury. Perhaps the answer will be in Belichick’s next move, as too many people forget how amazingly loyal a lot of people are to the man and not because he wins, but because he wins with the people he likes. Can you almost feel the talk about who the Patriots could possibly bring in to right this sinking ship, and I want to put a different slant on that.

We have been inundated with all of the “has beens” that are playing second or third fiddle to someone elsewhere, but could you almost feel the slobbering anticipation if he were to go into his bag of tricks to grab one of the people that owe him one? Perhaps one of those over the hill quarterbacks that he always dragged around just so that they could get that one last paycheck, one last shot at glory. Remember that this is the man that let Vinnie Testaverde go out for one series of plays in a meaningless game just so he could break his own record for years with a touchdown pass. This was the man that let the world tear him apart for letting Doug Flutie bonk a drop kick through the uprights just to give a mistreated native get a little more immortality than a long bomb back in college. This is the man that finally told Drew Bledsoe that his act was old, and told a seventh round draft pick that he could win a Super Bowl. He is now telling a young man that never started a game in college, that he can take the place of that same man. On that vein Tom Brady sat 3 years on a bench behind quarterbacks that never did crap, and Cassel now is the leader of the only true dynasty of the salary cap era, while Leinert is a back up to the man that the Patriots punked in that first Super Bowl victory. What do I know? I’m just a fan, but over the last decade I have been a fan of a great football team, that has had some excellent drama ;8o)