By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
January 13, 2008

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It was as if the football fairy suddenly appeared in my car on the way back up the Maine Turnpike last Sunday morning after the Jacksonville game and granted me three football wishes for that day.

"First - and I know this is asking for the moon - but someway, somehow can you have the Colts lose on their home turf to the San Diego Chargers? I know it's preposterous but you did say three wishes."

"Second, if the Chargers somehow did beat the Colts, make sure it was a physical game that took a toll on them. A healthy LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers does present a few issues for the Pats in the upcoming AFC Championship Game."

"I know this is all make-believe but I'll play along. Grant me the wish of seeing Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones standing on the sidelines with a look of utter disbelief as his Cowboys are eliminated from the playoffs."

"Done," said the fairy as she whisked off towards Wells Beach. "That was a cute way to waste a few seconds of a four hour drive home," I would say to myself.

Twelve hours later, all three of my silly wishes were granted and the road to a Super Bowl championship has been plowed as if it met the business end of a Maine DOT snowplow.

In last week's column, I opined that I was very nervous heading into the Jacksonville game on Saturday night. Indeed, this nervousness carried over for the first three quarters of the game as the Patriots never seemed to be in control. But as they have done countless times over the past few years, as the game headed down the home stretch the Patriots pulled away by a comfortable number of lengths. After avoiding the usual pitfalls of the post-game parking lot --including having a stoned-out patron lean into our car like a giraffe at the San Diego Zoo and wanting to know if we wanted to smoke some pot -— I mentioned to the guys that I was relieved more than anything else. I didn't want the Patriots to become a laughingstock by losing in the Divisional Round. "Hey, if they lose next week to the Colts, stuff happens," I reasoned. "At least they have acquitted themselves."

WARNING: Unnecessary Sidebar Diversion For One Paragraph Before We Return To the Rest Of This Regularly Scheduled Column In Order To Satisfy Matt Condon's Desire To See The Following Subject Discussed.What would have made the whole incident much more hilarious would have been if the pothead chose my 65 year-old father's window to make his pitch. Unfortunately, this was not the case and I will go to my grave wildly imagining various scenarios that could have played out under such a circumstance. Thinking back, if we had saved the frozen banana crème pie that I had dutifully brought to tailgate, we could have satisfied the pothead's case of the munchies. I will throw myself at the mercy of the court on the case of the failed pie. Apparently, to the author of this column, "Thaw and Serve" means to take it out of the freezer at the Big Y Supermarket in Walpole and let it sit outside for four hours. When Marky Mark took a knife to the pie, it stuck straight in like a flagpole. "Thaw and serve?!" he shouted. "It's 28 #$%^$* degrees out. How is that going to happen?" he exclaimed as he held the pie upside down with only the knife. Later while we were taking in the camping section of the Bass Pro Shop across the street, Joe suggested that we retrieve the pie and put it on a Coleman stove to thaw out. The icing on the cake so to speak was when we got back to my parents' house after the game and my mother asked Marky Mark if he was tempted to throw the pie at yours truly. "No," he replied. "I would have hurt him."

So let me get this straight. The Chargers will have flown back to San Diego after the Colts game. Then they have to get on a plane and come to New England this weekend for a game that will take place in the cold. Let's mix in considerable injuries to Phillip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. And if that doesn't get you hot and bothered, consider the coaching matchup of Norv Turner versus Bill Belichick. Things could be decided by the time the sun goes down on Sunday.

After 17 wins, the Patriots and their fans have finally gotten a break from the football fairy. Peyton Manning and the Colts amazingly reverted to their playoff ineptitude after a one-year hiatus. Mix in a banged up San Diego team coming to town and nobody that scares the bejeesus out of you left in the NFC and suddenly the road opens up in front of our eyes.

Perhaps with a little help from a friend along the Maine Turnpike.