September 26, 2016

Aftermath

by Scott Benson
[email protected]

I turned off the TV before the final seconds ticked from the Super Bowl clock and I haven’t turned it back on since. How long do you think I can hold out?

I hit Reiss’s Pieces pretty hard afterwards, waiting for some post game comment and reaction, but I haven’t been back or looked at any of the other blogs and sports pages. Does this seem like a reasonable plan for the long term?

I’ve been visiting my regular Internet haunts this morning and find many who feel as I do – the shock, this disappointment, the utter fatigue that makes them recoil from sports radio, or ESPN, or the half-wit Nelson Muntz in the next cubicle. I’m not sure I like their chances any better than I like mine.

We can run, but we can’t hide. 

4th and 13

A lot of attention is being paid to this, the final play of the second half’s opening drive, when Bill Belichick eschewed a 48 yard field goal attempt for a fourth down try on 4th and 13 from the Giants 31. The Patriots, naturally, didn’t make the first down or score any points. I admit I never thought of the field goal either. All I could think of at the time was if the Patriots could somehow get a 14-3 lead on the Giants, it would be very difficult for New York to come back and win the game. I was pissed at Gostkowski anyway – that stupid kickoff out of bounds. They dodged a bullet on it thanks to a Ellis Hobbs interception, but I was beside myself at the sloppiness. No matter – he could have very well drained the field goal, and with those three points, there’s your tie game.

Really? Aren’t we talking about something that happened with more than twenty minutes left in the game? I look at it this way – they had a lead with two minutes left in the game, a long field for the Giants, and they couldn’t stop them, and that’s what finally cost them the championship (familiar theme). If issue is going to be taken with Belichick’s coaching – and even he is not immune to it – it seems like an atrocious performance by an offense that was said to be the greatest ever, or a defense that was once a champion ending the season for two years running by giving up a score in the final minutes, or his undefated team’s generally flat performance on the biggest stage there is, all take precedence over a coaching decision made with seven minutes left in the third quarter. He made a pretty good decision to force a review (too many men on the field) and extend the very same drive, but there was still a lot of football to play.

Let’s start with this – you’d rather have Belichick as Patriots coach over any other living person. Still, he had at least half a lousy game plan going in to this game, even with two weeks to prepare. During the game, he and his staff seemed unable to make adjustments to that fatally flawed plan. As far as having his team peak at the right time, forget it. Despite making “sixty minutes” his mantra since last January, his team could only offer 58 in the game they had been pointing to for more than a year.

All that stuff is more important than 4th and 13.

Overconfidence?

I kept telling my wife all week – they look really confident! What an idiot. Tedy Bruschi being interviewed on the sidelines before the game – “I really think – I’ve never seen them so confident. I think they know they’re going to kill them.” Oh, man. It’s good that she’s on my side because she could kill me with that for a good long time.

But were they overconfident? Did they take anything for granted? With the Patriots Super Bowl losers again, anything seems possible, even with their legacy of strong heart and sound mind when it’s all on the line. Something was going on, to be sure: they were merely passengers on that bus last night, never in control. You expect more than that from coaches and players that have been talked about as all-time greats. Patriots fans – which includes me – have gotten fat and happy on the belief that, based on all that they had achieved, and how they achieved it, the Pats would always have the answer for everything. Which is ridiculous, obviously, given recent developments.

That stupid Globe book and the team’s apparent advance plans to trademark ’19-0’and make ‘Three Games To Glory 4′ available for immediate pre-order are a kick in the nuts, just to remind us. How embarrasing is all that stuff now? How many times have we crowed about the Steelers’ travel planning and the Eagles’ parade route? Man, we’ve lost that chip forever.  

It’s Not Like the Giants Didn’t Offer to Share

I don’t know whether I was in denial after the game, but I cannot believe I didn’t call out the fact that the Patriots were in position to make no less than three game-ending interceptions on the Giants final scoring drive, Asante Samuel’s being the worst non-play. Thinking of that now makes me feel kind of ill, actually. But it all goes to my prevailing feeling, right from the time the TV went off last night – this defense, the fulcrum on which three championships were balanced, is no longer capable of doing anything but hanging on for dear life and relying on their guile to make a handful of second half plays to pull out a game. They used to be a dynamic unit that changed games – think Indy in 03, or 04. Compared to then, they’re orange traffic cones now, laid out carefully to mitigate damage rather than to inflict it, and that’s probably because 03 and 04 is a hell of a long time ago in football years. Thing is, the Patriots still have essentially the same defense they had then, especially in the middle of the field. Losing the Super Bowl despite entering it undefeated is probably the right time to think about changing that.

And you have to wonder about the offense, and if all Belichick and Pioli accomplished was to take the the team in the Fouts/Marino direction in their effort to keep up with the times. We saw at the end of the season how Laurence Maroney can be impact player on the level of any they have (though he was not last night) – if he’s reduced to a bystander role at any point next season while four and five receivers get trotted out there for more pinball, we all ought to be screaming our bloody heads off. Because all that fastbreak basketball just ended up making the Patriots soft in the key, didn’t it?

New York, New York

It’s not right that we should go on about the Patriots’ failings without conceding all due credit to the fantastic performance of the New York Giants, who were truly the better team and deserve blah-blah-blah-blah-blah…….my wife just came downstairs and said “You know what? Screw the New York Giants! I’m not happy for Eli Manning, I’m not happy for that %$#&%@# Tom Coughlin, I hope they choke on it! Nobody was ever happy for us when we won!”

She’s a little upset. We both took the day off thinking we’d be able to sleep in and then happily watch winning press conferences and memorable hightlights and parade planning for a few hours. Now we’re boxed into watching HGTV shows about someone improving their deck, or wardrobe, or something. It’s the only safe place.

Seriously, this is a results business, baby. And the Giants got all the results last night, so good on them, for good. As we said repeatedly about our own team on this same morning six years ago: nobody will ever be able to take it away from them.

Another myth that’s been debunked, by the way.

Case Closed

Because they can take it away from you, or at least try, if you’re not a league meeting asskisser or beatific, media-savvy cross between Johnny Appleseed and Christ himself.

So here’s the deal, America – as Patriots fans, we have to suffer the indignity of hearing forever about 18-1, and about one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history, and about how the invincible Belichick and Brady ended up looking like saps. Nothing we can do about that, and it won’t go away. We own it, maybe for good. You’ll make sure of that.

In exchange for paying that penance for our real and/or perceived hubris over the past seven years, allow me to suggest that your penance is to stick your halfbaked sports moralizing and national referendums on classiness where the sun doesn’t shine. We’re done listening to a bunch of power-drunk, soccer mom hall monitors, emboldened by the shrieking of ESPN, an unholy alliance of yellow journalists and simmering fusspots bent on advancing their mealy-mouthed vindictiveness while duplicitously wrapped in the flag of ‘fair play’ and ‘honest competition’.

You don’t have an ounce of integrity yourself, so we’re done listening to you talk about it. We’re burying this agenda item today.

Final Thought

I’ve purged sufficiently now, I think, so that ought to be about it for me for a few days, unless some other shoe drops somewhere.  There will undoubtedly be more reaction from other members of the PD staff, and we’ll post that as it comes in.

Soon it will be time to talk about where PD goes from here, what our off-season plans will be, and what we want to do when next season rolls around. One thing we know – we want more writers and more features, and we’ll be back to talk with you about that in the days ahead.

 In the meantime, as I did last night, I thank you all for your support and participation throughout the year.

Comments

  1. Scott, I am in a lot of grief too..my seven year old son went to bed in tears yesterday…and i couldnt console him properly as i was literally in tears too.. never thought the season would have such an ending…just when i thought the defense was doing great holding them at 7-3..they lost control and the offense /offensive line literally looked like that state farm commercial starring matt hasselbeck…they were being displaced..all i know is that this time around it is going to take a lot of effort to get out of this.. sometimes i wonder, should i stop watching football but only until the next season starts and back i am supporting my dear pats…

  2. Scott, I’m avoiding the media too. I didn’t even want to open my email. Every Patriots hater in the country is Googling Patriots blogs and leaving offensive comments, and I’m getting my share. Like Outside Observer up there–what did Narayan and his/her son ever do to you? I don’t understand the utter imbecility of people hating people based on what sports team they support.

    Going back to my media-free cave now…

  3. Thanks double o,
    Thanks for all your goddamnded empathy.
    “Fanueil Hall” I liked that. Less obvious than ‘Beantown’. Shows you looked through a travel guide or something similar.

  4. Scott, I’m feeling a lot like you. Too numb to understand how the Patriots lost to a team that played more like the Patriots than my guys. Even Belichick, after showing such a humane side this week to the press was out-coached.

    After a fitful night of trying to sleep I got out of bed thinking I had a bad dream. Reality today sucked and I sensed in my dealing with others they feel the same way. But no one wants to talk about it.

    I’m not angry – the Giants played a better game – but am sad because on the big stage the Patriots wilted. It’s not a tragic loss but a preventable one. It’s going to take some time before I feel right as a fan. Not looking forward to spring training, just hoping I don’t feel this way for very long.

    And to all the classless Patriots haters, it’s obvious you take glee in other peoples’ unhappiness – what small petty people you are. Enjoy the suffering you take in living in your own miserable skin.

  5. Go back 4 months and look at the Colorado Rockies blogsites, or the New York Yankees blogsites. Go read a Knicks blogsite, or the Giants blogsites up until yesterday, hell look at a Minnesota Twins blogsite this week, a New York Mets blogsite, a Colts blogsite…I guess you get my point. As a Rockies fan I can tell you that you guys are getting your just desserts, hopefully now, like your team, you guys can eat some humble pie for a while. That being said, I’m sorry your team lost, they truly should have been remembered as one of the greatest teams ever.

  6. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    Well, at least Mercury Morris can go back to slinging coke, now that his new job as “most obnoxious keeper of the flame” has reached its end.

  7. ed hillel says:

    I’m finding that a bottle of Cruzan rum that I just picked up on holiday is helping with my depression/numbness tonight. Thanks for the great work this season, Scott.

  8. The Pats & their loyal fans should find their short-term football memory fast. Too many good things happened in 07 and the recent past to focus on the one bad. Improvement will be hard to find if they don’t. That would be a terrible roster to waste in self pity or indignation for a season or longer.

    Scott excellent thoughts (and writing).

    4th & 13. Hmm, got the lead, tight game….skitish kicker or drive a dagger?
    Belicheck made the right move at this point in the game.

    “Pinball Offense”. It wrecks havoc on your own defense if it can’t melt clock.

    A Giants fan remembering 00′.

  9. I’m sorry 2 more thoughts.

    It’s Not Like the Giants Didn’t Offer to Share. You forgot to mention A.P’s all-star play. Turning the wrong way & getting a penalty when he could have turn the right way & had an interception.

    Final Thought Ignore the Media. If the Giants fans did not ignore the media, Eli would have run out of town before his first training camp.
    Seriously, check out the Bergen Recors, Star Ledger, NY Post & NY Daily News clowns on Giants Online, Funny & sad all at once when you realize where the words you read come from. ;)

  10. It’d be a lot easier to handle if you didn’t feel as though most of the people cheering were cheering for a defeat rather than a victory.

    It seems that this year, from beginning to end, in so many ways, that team has been punished for doing it their way, and not the way other people do it. I mean, with an utter absence of platitudes and cant; with a sort of quiet businesslike manliness that is entirely at odds with some of the worse characteristics of sports culture.

    The crime of failing to genuflect to the media, for not doing the usual shuck and jive, is punished with the labels “arrogant”, “smug”, and all the rest of it – epithets that here say more about those that utter them than their targets. People just don’t know what they’re looking at, and more than a football team losing a football game, it’s that this kind of behavior, organization, and general demeanor isn’t valued is what hurts the most.

  11. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    I understand the Patriots haters, a bit. Though I’m a Pats fan, growing up in the bad old days (Maybe this Horace Ivory will be the spark plug we need), I used to hate the Cowboys and Steelers and ESPECIALLY the Raiders (well, I still hate the Raiders) simply because they won all the time. The 49ers were spared only because of Montana’s Domer bona fides (I’m Irish and was raised Catholic, after all, so hating Joe would have been at least a venial sin). I’ve got no gripe with the rest of the country getting sick of our dominance, though the media’s love affair with the Football Giants is a little tougher to take.

    Still, I always liked the Giants (they were the region’s hometown team before 1960, after all), and things could have been worse: We could have lost to the JETS in the AFC title tilt.

    I’m still blue over the loss, but I believe the Pats will be back at the top next year. That being said, I hope this board continues in earnest over the off-season; while I’m ready for the Sox, come draft day my thirst for all things Patriots will need to be slaked. I hope it’s slaked here, because this is the best forum.

  12. Sorry Scott, but I must intervene.

    The Defense held up its side of the bargain. They held the Giants to 3 points in 3.5 Quarters. They would have even held them to 10 in 4, where it not for this horrible fluke long completion on a broken play. (Anybody thinking Carolina here?).

    A shorter field from time to time would have been nice, but we are not in 03 anymore and teh offense shouldn’t need it.

    But the offense failed us. this team must lead at least 13-3 by halftime, and if we are 2 scores up at any time in the game it’s game over.

    But there is one lection the Pats know themselves more then good enough, then it’s that a one score game can be won by any team. and this one was won by the other team.

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