April 17, 2014

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

logoby Dan Snapp
[email protected]

I might have to give up the merit badges, the keys to the Patriots Daily executive washroom, even the cherished Troy Brown-inscribed rose-colored sunglasses.

Sorry, guys. Try though I might, I just can’t get worked up over the loss. I know this goes against the grain of the fandom, but I’m actually, well, OK with it.

The shame.

Look, of course it’s disappointing. But the truth is it was a hell of a game. The Giants made some amazing plays when they absolutely needed to, and they completely earned it. They were the better team. What more can be said?

The Patriots fan in me grieves; the football fan admires the magnitude of the achievement. No, I don’t have a key to the company liquor cabinet.

It would be easier if the Giants were more hateable. Yeah, there’s always Strahan, but that big fraud’s always been like that, a harmless goofball. There was some talk, but most of it was pretty muted. Yeah, yeah, Plaxico’s prediction, but who cares? What’s he supposed to say, that his team would lose?

Eli’s the lesser of two evils but now possibly the greater of two Mannings, at least in big games. He doesn’t do the Peyton face well enough to dislike him.  Plus, those last two drives, he was money. You gotta respect that.

I know, I know. Here’s my security badge.

There’s no pontificating head coach, no self-promoting star QB, no popcorn-eating wide receiver. No villains at all, really. Their coach is just as curmudgeonly and misunderstood as our coach. Their fourth receiver had the two biggest plays of the game. Their backup tight end took a pass 45 yards. Their third defensive tackle had the culminating sack of the game.

Hell, maybe these guys are the 2001 Pats after all. To paraphrase Helen Seinfeld, “How can anyone not like them?”

Guys, is the security guard really necessary?

Meanwhile, after two weeks of media proclaiming “the best team ever”, “the best quarterback ever”, “the best coach ever”, blah blah blah, I really found myself hating these over-hyped favorites. Oh wait, that was the Patriots they were talking about. Sorry. Old habit, hating the over-hyped.

Seriously, though, parade plans? A “19-0″ book? And even, God help us, copyrighting “19-0″? Please, please, please tell me that’s not really true. And who let Rick Pitino into the stadium complex in the first place?

That’s not the team we’ve come to love. That’s not the Bill Belichick way. To him, we’ve been trained, such actions are deemed “unseemly”.

But that’s just it about this season. None of it’s been the Belichick way. The scores, the records, the bests this and that. That used to be for the other teams. Let them have the records; we’ll take the rings. Right?

Even the premature pronouncements of Brady and Belichick, respectively, as “best ever”; those seem like titles both would rather see declared under the benefit of hindsight, long after their careers are over. “Just happy to be mentioned in the same breath,” is the proper phrase for the here and now.

Otto Graham, one of the greats Brady was scheduled to surpass, played 10 years of professional football and went to 10 championship games. He won the first four in the old All-America Football Conference (including a perfect season in ’48), and then the next one in the Browns’ first year in the NFL. But then the Browns lost three straight title games. They responded by winning the next two.

This is the future I see for the New England Patriots. Built to compete for the title every year, winning some, losing some, but back to challenge every season. Not perfect, but a hell of a run.

Perfect was a pipe dream. One that so nearly came true, but in the end, still a dream. All the Patriots proved was they can be the 2004 Colts better than the 2004 Colts could, but with the same sad results.

The dream’s over. Let’s get back to what the Patriots were in the start of the decade: balanced offense, punishing defense, opportunistic special teams, and the team every vanquished opponent thought wasn’t “the better team.”

So can I get my shades back?

Mother Knew Best

It’s odd the moments you miss them most. Mom would have been the first to call Sunday night.

“Hi Mom.”
Oh, do you have one of those caller identification things?”
“No.”
“So are you OK, honey?”
“I’m fine. Really.”
“That was such a tough loss.”
“It was.”
“Well, I remember how you used to get.”
“I was just a kid then.”
“You’d shoot baskets in the driveway for three hours after the Celtics lost. And that wasn’t even the playoffs.”
“I’m not like that now.”
“You’d destroy my marigolds.”
“Not on purpose. They were kinda in my baseline.”
“Well, I thought the Giants deserved to win! They played great!”
“Oh, I agree. The Pats have only themselves to blame. It’s not like the refs did them in or something, like a couple of those calls in Indy last ye…”
“Oh, I thought the referees were completely fair today!”
“No, no, me too. I meant last year in Indianap…”
“I was happy for Eli.”
“Well…”
“Dad says he misses you yelling at the TV.”
“I don’t really do that anymore, either. But I miss being there, too.”
“Something’s burning. Here’s your father.”

“‘ello?”
“Hey, Dad. What’d you think?”
“Entertaining! Wish they had found a use for Mr. Brown, though.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“Think he’ll be back one more year?”
“I doubt it.”
“Here’s your mother.”

“Hi, it’s me. So that play with Manning breaking free and the receiver catching it against his helmet. His helmet! I could barely stand to watch!”
“I know.”
“They earned that win!”
“Absolutely.”
“The Patriots had their chances, and they blew it!”
“No argument here.”
(pause)
“So I just called to say life goes on.”
“I know, Mom.”
“They’ll be back again.”
“Yeah, I think so too.”
“Your brothers are probably calling. Kiss your girls for me.”
“I will.”

What I wouldn’t give now to take that call.

Comments

  1. right there with you. I feel bad for the guys on the team but as a fan, what can I, in good conscience, complain about? It was a phenomenal season and an epic game. The Giants earned that win in a very “Patriot-like” way. Respect to them. Looking forward to next year.

  2. Apparently you’ve reached the “acceptance” level of dealing with it. I think I’m still in the anger stage so it’s good to know that there’s hope for me eventually. Well stated and I agree with the premise.

  3. I think you guys are just Red Sox fans at heart, not Pats fans. Seriously. This loss was staggering. I really don’t get all “the Giants earned it” talk. Did you watch the game? The Patriots choked. The Giants couldn’t move the ball most of the game, they fumbled 3 times, the Pats defense for the most part stepped up and even made a key interception in the first half. When you make the kind of mistakes the Giants made, the Patriots almost always beat you. The Patriots had more talent on the field, but both Brady and Belichick made some very uncharacteristic blunders – Brady getting sacked on 3rd down in FG range, the bad play call on the 3rd and 1, the 4th and 13, and most of all not adjusting the offensive game plan in time to counter the Giants pressure, etc. The Patriots just didn’t play like the Patriots. That’s why I’m so embarrassed by this loss – there’s no excuse for losing to an inferior team like the Giants. I think this is really more like the Yankees losing to the Marlins in 2003 than the Patriots-Rams game – a superior arrogant team can’t muster the energy and drive for that final push, and goes down in flames to a flukey underdog.

  4. Jon is exactly right, but, ironically, that’s the reason this loss is surprisingly easy to get over. We’ve become the arrogant Yankees and when some upstart, like the 2003 Marlins or the Giants, play better, want it more and take away your crown, can a fan really be so down? On some level, I think we are all jealous of the Giants and their fans – because we used to be those underdogs and that makes taking the prize all the more sweeter.

  5. Well, there goes the surprise announcement about the debut of “Red Sox Daily’. Shoot.

  6. Well according to Shank, “Red Sox Daily” should take right off.

  7. 2001 felt so good because the losing felt so bad .. the only good thing about losing the AFCC last year and the SB this year is how much better it will make the next SB win feel.

    That and Tiki Barber looks like the biggest dink in the world.

  8. Really horseshiit column today.

  9. The only horseshit thing I see is your attitude, and your manners.

  10. I made the Red Sox crack because I’ve been hearing this around town so much -”yeah, the Pats lost, but at least we have the Sox to look forward to.” That doesn’t do it for me. Ironically, if the Sox had not just won the series I’d probably be more excited about baseball season, but somehow I just can’t see this Sox season generating the magic to replace the loss of “19-0″. I’m now jaded about the Sox the way I guess some of you are jaded about the Patriots.

  11. I don’t think anybody’s jaded, Jon. I just think it was a real disappointment after a lot of anticipation and everybody’s just trying to move on. I’m surprised by a LOT of what I saw on Sunday but I don’t believe I saw anything that makes a big difference in the way I see the team. I still have faith in the people that make the decisions and the coaches that create the game plans and for the most part, the players that carry them out. I guess the one thing I feel that they need to get faster and younger at some of the key defensive positions. But am I going to flip out about this? No. A week ago we were talking about them being among the best teams of all time. This week we seem to be doubting everything. That doesn’t seem to me to be very realistic. The truth is somewhere in between all that.

  12. I was upset about the way the season ended last year against Indy, and the season before against Denver. Between the bad calls in both games, and elements like the Caldwell wide open drops in the Indy game, it was infuriating and tough to shake.

    In this game, there were a multitude of almosts: almost interceptions for Samuel, Harrison and Meriweather; almost sacks; almost knockaways; almost big plays. They were a half-yard away all night long.

    But there was a reason for the half-yards. The Giants were winning individual battles, and coaching battles all night long. What’s the quote? “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

    There is no luck. They were just better prepared.

  13. the reason this one is tougher to get overt is that pats fans spent all year defending this team( and there questionable ways), and in the end they came up short when it matteres the most all they have accomplished is turning themselves into the most hated sports team in the country, and the 43rd best nfl team in the modern era. If you dotn think this loss sets the pats back 5 years you are wrong.

  14. Setting them back five years would make them the defending champions. I’m okay with that.

  15. You mean the one that is under investigation?

  16. At one time or another I’ve had praise for every writer on this site, including Dan Snapp. In other words, I’m no troll. But I guess unless the praise is unadulterated and unremitting, you get read out of the tribe. Disappointing. Continue to talk amongst yourselves.

  17. Let’s you and I get one thing straight, then. These guys come to this site and write for two reasons: 1) because they want to, and 2) because I ask them. They don’t get a red nickel for any of it, and have no expectation of it, though they DO end up late at night or early in the morning trying to get something in so that they fulfill the commitment they made to the site. So, given that, and given the fact that they aren’t screaming out of your radio and television every day trying to be the biggest douchebags they can in order to be as notorious and well-paid as they can, I’m just suggesting they be treated with maybe a little bit of respect and common decency.

    I would go on to say that nobody here writes anything with the expectation that everybody will love it and no one will take any issue with it here. If somebody writes an opinion that you disagree with, tell them they’re wrong, and why they’re wrong. That back and forth is as much the reason the comments feature exists as anything.

    But logging on just to say “that’s a horseshit column, Snapp” seems to me not to be anything but a gratuitous insult to a guy that doesn’t deserve it, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to take issue with that every time. I mean, if you didn’t like what you read, you could have done two things: 1) you could have posted a little more thoughtful critique, or 2) if you didn’t feel like bothering, you could have just said to yourself ‘horseshit column today’ and clicked on a link somewhere else to read something you liked.

    The fact that you chose neither of those options is, frankly, pretty disappointing to me, too. I understand you’ve supported the site and you’ve supported the writers, but that doesn’t mean you get to pop in and shit all over a guy when you feel like it. Like I said, if you’d didn’t like Dan’s column, you could have told him why, at the very least. But instead you just left an insult for him right out here in public, like you were talking to Dan Shaughnessy. So you’re not the only one who’s disappointed.

  18. Actually, Chris, now that I do the math, five years ago would put them just after SB 37 (Feb 03), coming off a 10-6 and no playoffs, so under your scenario, they are about to win back to back championships. Again, I’m good with that.

    If you choose to believe everything you hear on ‘investigations’ from Mike Florio and the hyenas on ESPN and CNNSI, New York papers, etc., that’s your choice.

  19. After further review, as they say, I agree with several of your points. My original post was not criticism is was just mindless ripping. Dan deserves better than that for his effort. Respect and common courtesy were definitely lacking. I apologize to him for that.

  20. personally it doesnt taint anything for me, but is a real bummer that after putting up with all this crap from week one. As a long time pats fan I do not ever remember having my loyalty put to the test like it was this year (this was a team that alot of people could easily hate). for the team to go out and lay a egg, get out played or whatever you want to call it just sucks, am I going to burn my #57 shirt? no, am I going to root for anyone else? no but it will take a long time before I feel right about this team again.

  21. hopefully only about twelve months, chris. I mean, it’s not impossible. I do share some of those feelings – the idea that they have to start all over again, – but at the same time, I know they’ll have a good team next year, and if they can get some speed and some youth in key spots on defense, and maybe look a little harder at their o-line and decide if they’re looking for somebody to protect for seven-step drops instead of threes and fives, they could be better than they were this year. I think a lot of us fell in love with the numbers this year and maybe forgot what happens to a lot of fast-break offenses come playoff time. They don’t always have the answers, so the rest of the team better be pretty good too. I don’t think they were, not as I much as I thought anyway.

  22. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    Bench Brady; Gutierrez is the man.

    All right, maybe not. But, believe it or not, this loss has just gotten me more stoked for next season.

    Acceptance is the first part of healing. At least I think that’s what Stuart Smalley says.

  23. What can you say, 3 SBs in 7 seasons is still an embarassment of riches, a substantial deposit in the sanity bank. Plenty to draw against after Sunday’s disappointment. And what can you do, the team that played the best won. The hype was far-penetrating and something to be dealt with, unfortunately. Definitely ditch the hype, go back to just good enough.

  24. I’m a Canadian fan of the Pats for many years, and this has been a disappointment to me. Like others, I’ve had to avoid sports blogs & the NFL Network because it was too painful to see Eli and his mug with the trophy. (I would have prefered Strahan as MVP!) But I’n not throwing the Pats under the bus. I’m also eager for next season, and even if it’s not perfect, it should be exciting…

Leave a Reply