By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
March 27, 2005

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It's been well over a month since my last Patsfans column and to tell you the truth, I have been enjoying the break away from the Patriots and football. In retrospect, it is truly amazing how consumed I (and many others I suspect) become during the season.

So as part of my detox program, I have (in no particular order) watched my son discover the joys of learning to roll over, cross-country skied like a madman on my lunchbreaks (You should see me. Thanks to the skiing, I now look like David Givens), regularly covered a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team, gone to Florida and adopted the Washington Nationals as my National League team (You can have a National League team and not forsake the Sox, right?), actually enjoyed collecting maple sap one afternoon with a friend, digestively survived two small-town bean suppers, satisfied an Italian Patriots fan's desire for paraphernalia, determined that I want to learn to play the fiddle, discovered the comedic genius that is "Curb Your Enthusiasm,” managed to keep my work supervisors at bay and have gotten snow down my sock one too many times for my liking.

But of course, I have kept an eye on all things Patriots as your faithful columnist. With no real subject to write about, I'll offer up this buffet-style column for your picking. Just please wash your hands first.

Over the past six weeks, we have seen Ty Law, Troy Brown and Roman Phifer let go. We have witnessed Joe Andruzzi apparently getting low-balled and moving on to Cleveland. We saw David Patten sign on with the Redskins. And we anxiously wait for any word on the health of Tedy Bruschi.

In between being on a first-name basis with your plow guy and slipping on the ice on your way into work, you have probably had the same thought that occurred to me. That is, the Patriots have certainly taken a few steps back in the last six weeks. For sure, championships aren't determined in March and the Patriots are traditionally tardy in their free agent signings as they wait for the market to come to them. So, by no means is it time to panic.

And over the coming weeks, we will be subjected to non-stop draft talk leading up to the draft in late April. Honestly, I thought I follow football pretty closely but do you ever get the feeling that all of these people who talk brazenly about Big 12 cornerbacks are either full of it or don't ever leave their house? How do they know so much about this guy from Nevada-Reno who could be the next steal as a "press corner (Two bonus points for you if you get the hidden meaning of putting "press corner” in quotes).

Yet every year, I fall for it. I get sucked into the draft and pretend like I know something about the strangers the Patriots just drafted. If you have no healthy spring hobbies, you can always look forward to my annual "I have no idea if the Patriots had a good draft and anybody who says so is taking a wild guess” column on draft weekend.

Also, this dead time in February and March is always the time when the Patriots usually pass along ticket increases and other unpopular initiatives aimed at increasing revenue. Kind of the football equivalent of the Red Sox announcing ticket increases on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year's offering from the club included an expected increase in season tickets and the fan friendly "Pass It On” transfer program for season tickets.

Missed this one? Let me explain.

For many years, loyal season ticket holders have run into a huge mess when the account holder of standing either dies, breaks up with your sister, or moves to Bolivia. It should also be pointed out that the Patriots do not let the account holder put their tickets into a will. To remedy this problem, and for between $2,000 and $5,000 per ticket, the Patriots will now allow a transfer of season tickets.

Yes, you read that right. Can you imagine going to the wife and saying "Forget that trip to Europe that we have been dreaming about for years. I need the $3,500 we budgeted to keep my season ticket that I have had for umpteen years. And no, honey, I still have to pay annually for my tickets like I do now. And yes, I am still stuck with those crummy pre-season tickets that I annually pawn off on your brother.” I know how the CFO of Rousseau, Inc. would react and I can assure you that it would make me want to go out and buy earplugs.

For an organization that prides itself on being good to its fan base, there is no justification for this outrageous transfer fee. Essentially all they are doing is changing a person's name and address in a database.

Now let's compare that with Rousseau Inc.'s recent purchase of a seasonal cottage on Penobscot Bay here in Maine. Team Rousseau paid an attorney $750 to do a title search, perform a closing and have the deed transfer recorded in order to purchase a property that is about 1 acre bigger than my seat in Section 327. Tack on another $121 for a county transfer tax and $342 to settle up town property taxes, and we were out a little over $1,000 to BUY AN ACTUAL PROPERTY.

This new transfer fee instituted by the Patriots appears to be unique in the NFL according to the Boston Globe. The Giants, Redskins and Bucs allow free transfers to immediate family members, while the Jets and Packers allow free transfers to anyone. Sure, they didn't subject us to personal seat licenses when they built Gillette Stadium and I can understand a reasonable fee; but this is outrageous.

Other items for you to pick off my off-season buffet selection include:

According to USA Today's Sports Weekly, the hitting coach for the Triple AAA Omaha Royals is listed as Terry Bradshaw.

You know you are getting spoiled when you are starting to complain about the style of the recent Patriots' championship hat.

The same could be said for "Three Games to Glory” and championship videos.

Ditto for those beautiful sideline panoramic pictures of various championships. (Incidentally, if your office or home needs one, buy it from this site and keep Ian's family clothed and fed.)

Frankly, the only reason to watch the Pro Bowl maybe to see ESPN's Paul Maguire in shorts.

Norm Chad put it best when he said that the Eagles left their hurry-up offense back at the team hotel.

The optimist in me hopes Troy Brown comes back but the one place that will make me sick to my stomach if he ends up there is Dallas with you-know-who.

Incidentally, it will almost be worth watching the Cowboys this upcoming season to see the Bledsoe-Parcells sideline flare-ups (circa 1995).

You might half-wonder if Bill Belichick was angling to get a role as an extra in the upcoming Star Wars flick last season with his Obi-Wan sideline wardrobe.

Are you as worried about middle linebacker as I am? If not, perhaps you should be.

News item: New York was conditionally awarded the 2010 Super Bowl if the Jets are allowed to build a retractable-roof stadium. OK, that one is fine. But did you hear that the Chiefs are trying to get a commitment from the League's owners to play a Super Bowl in KC sometime between 2012 and 2022 if they are allowed to build a replacement for Arrowhead. This madness has to stop! I do not want to go to Indianapolis for Super Bowl LVI. Write to your Congressman!

In other Super Bowl site news, the 2009 game will be awarded in May to either Houston, Atlanta, Tampa or Miami.

And finally, the League reported that illegal contact penalties in the secondary went from 79 calls in 2003 to 191 calls in 2004. Pass interference went from 238 to 202 and defensive holding (occurs on both run and pass plays) went up from 188 to 201.

So even if you just don't see the beauty of Acadian fiddle music, I would still like to hear from you. I can be reached at [email protected].