I don't usually start threads but the occasion arose today while reading "April 1865 - The Month That Saved America" by Jay Winik, that a passage seemed so pertinent to last night's game that I thought it deserved it's own limelight. For one thing, he understood the coarse art of the psychology of war: the role of fear in battle, the role of psychological operations in combat, the role of rattling the opponent and keeping him rattled. Throughout history, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon, the generals who could employ these tactics often won; the generals who couldn't, often didn't. Fear undermines morale, diminished morale breeds low-level panic, and panic fosters poor decisions. but of course (Nathan Bedford) Forest was a different kind of general, fighting not with large armies, but commanding and shuffling smaller groups of men to disorient and disable much larger adversaries. Three things enabled him to do this well. He knew how to make his command seem large, and in this case he played upon not just his adversaries' calculations but their battle-frayed emotions as well. He employed deception and skill: so he beat kettledrums constantly to mimic infantry in action; he lit and tended to fires to spread over significant areas; he shuttled artillery back and forth, from one distant point to another; and he dressed up his cavalry and paraded them as infantry. With astonishing clarity, he grasped the battle vagaries of space and time: how fast he could realistically move, and how fast his opponent was likely to move, enabling him to turn tactical risks into strategic opportunities. And perhaps most importantly, beyond his own implacable will and leadership ability, which which he relentlessly drove his men, asking them to be better, stronger, tougher, faster , and more fearless than they really were, he understood human nature - in his opponent's men as well as his own. Props to Ryan, he coached his team to the point of victory over supposedly the better team. Obviously there are dissimilarities but this resonated with me as Ryan had all of New York convinced and damn-it he was right. Yes the Pats didn't execute as well as they have in the past, and yes individuals made mistakes, but they didn't play a stinker. Reading this timely passage reminded me that they were up against a psychological master in this game. The good thing is that he wont necessarily win future battles as easily, our young team will be older and a little wiser.