By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
August 19, 2006

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We needed that, now didn't we?

After witnessing the bag job that the Red Sox turned in during the first three games against the Yankees, the Patriots rolled into Foxboro on Saturday night and cleaned the Cardinals' collective clocks by a score of 30-3.

Many of you in the pink hat nouveau Sox clique will not believe it. But there was a time in the not too distant past when the Sox annually began to fade in August and the lonely eyes of New England desperately turned towards Foxboro hoping for some glimmer of a decent local pro team.

The past was the present at the Turn-Back-The-Clock special billed as the Patriots second pre-season game against the Cardinals. Tom Brady reminded us why he is so special. Corey Dillon looked tough. The defense played solid. And the kicking game was an afterthought.

Perhaps the best compliment you can ever give a pre-season game is that it held your interest into the third quarter. Saturday night's game suceeded in doing just that thanks to Tom Brady's ho-hum flawless play along with his backup Matt Cassel's improved showing as compared to a week earlier against the Falcons.

It's an open secret that the Patriots see the Red Sox' grip on this region. The local football entry wins three championships and sets an all-time consecutive victory record but all anyone can talk about is Mike Timlin's ineffectiveness coming out of the bullpen. Not this year. Forget worrying about where Eric Hinske is going to play. It's time to ask yourself if Bam Childress can turn into a mini Troy Brown and whether Tully Banta-Cain is ready to become a bona fide speed rusher.

In some ways I'm relieved that the wheels have fallen off for the Red Sox at such an early date. We won't have to fool ourselves through September and early October that the pitching is good enough to make it back to the World Series. We'll now have free time to check out some new shows or - Lord forbid - spend extra time with our families. And maybe Red Sox ticket demand for 2007 will subside to the point where I can purchase two tickets where the seats are - get ready for this - actually next to one another.

Frankly, going to Fenway Park the last two years has become a chore. Winning the whole darn thing in 2004 has turned Fenway into Boston's coolest nightclub. Expensive cover charges and drinks doesn't stop the chic crowd from heading over from their normally appointed rounds in the Back Bay and clogging up all the good seats. Does anybody actually watch the ballgame anymore or is everyone too busy waving their silly Papi/NESN signs or talking about how they ran into Coco Crisp at Au Bon Pain?

Meanwhile, the Patriots train rolls on. No soap operas, excuses or side shows. Even when a key player holds out as Deion Branch has done, the number of arrows slung are kept to a minimum on both sides of the negotiating table. Oh, and did I mention that they talked a retired Hall-of-Famer into coming out of retirement for a part-time role?

Instead of dividing our attention and loyalties between the Red Sox and Patriots this fall as we have done for the last three seasons, we will now be focused. It will make our lives easier. Production at the office will go up. Fewer awkward conversations in the first-floor men's room as I'm washing my hands about the latest Sox collapse? (You wash your hands, right?)

Think of it this way. The Red Sox of 2006 is the girl who looks good out of the blocks but after a bunch of dates loses her luster and isn't as gorgeous as you initially remember her being. Meanwhile, the Patriots is the girl who treats everyone nicely, is consistently pretty on a day-to-day basis and is someone you can bring home to mom.

Call up your mom and tell her you want to invite a new girl over for Sunday night dinner - the 2006 New England Patriots.

Idle Zinger thoughts while wondering if they have digital cameras in the smoke detectors at work (If they do, boy am I in trouble):

The official Peyton Manning career scoresheet: Awkward, embarassing commercials: 23 Super Bowl appearances: 0

Why is it encroachment? What happened to good ole offsides?

Okay, Sterling Sharpe. I get the point. Tom Brady's favorite receiver is indeed the open receiver.

Get in line to be the first one on your block to have a Laurence Maroney #39 jersey.