November 27, 2006
Patriot Football Is Always In Fashion
BY: Kevin Rousseau
I went to a football game and a street fight broke out.
Mind you, it was for the most part a clean, old fashioned street fight that broke out between the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots last Sunday. Did nine combined turnovers ever look so efficient? All over the field there was solid tackling, physical play, ball stripping and just plain pure desire on display.
Two hardened veterans in Section 327 (read: Yours truly and his old man) believed that this had to have been one of the best regular season games that was ever played at Gillette Stadium. It felt like it lasted about nine hours and that two great teams were giving it all in front of a grateful audience. As an aside, a funny thing occurred as the game played out. Bears fans were not subjected to the usual taunting by yahoos in the stands. After the game, fans of both teams were seen congregating and discussing the virtues of what they just saw.
Too often in this day and age, we are subjected to just plain bad football despite the amount of money, time and emotion that we continue to invest into the game of professional football. Probably it?s because there are now 32 teams as opposed to the 28 that there were over a decade ago and the subsequent dissolution of talent. We also see players more interested in getting on SportsCenter than into the Hall of Fame. And don?t forget players who embarrass their team like the Falcons? Michael Vick did after his game earlier that day.
It was the kind of game that could have easily taken place in the 1960s given the physicality and the fundamentals on display. It was the kind of game that reminds you every now and again that yes, indeed, sports can be the best dramatic entertainment that mankind has to offer. All of a fan?s emotions come out in a game like Sunday?s. Anger, joy, nervousness, relief, concern.
From a Patriots perspective, the game served notice that the team will be a contender as the calendar turns to 2007. No more beating up on Our Sisters of the Poor. Nope, the Pats beat a very, very good team on Sunday by playing the kind of defense that wins championships. For sure, the offense is still only firing on five cylinders but there is still time in the season for that sixth spark plug wire to be re-connected for Tom Brady and the offense. As Dean Wermer would tell you, five turnovers in a close game is no way to go through life, son.
Suddenly, the number two seed and a first-round bye are back in play for the 8-3 Patriots. Writing those words a few weeks ago after the Jets egg-laying of a game would have rightly earned me a one-way ticket to cyber oblivion. Now, we have Denver going to a rookie quarterback in December in a desperate bid to save their season. A Colts team that showed a chink in its armor after being roughed up by a tough, physical Dallas defense (Notice a trend there, kids?). A Ravens team that is one likely Steve McNair injury away from big trouble in the Inner Harbor. Then there?s a Chargers team with a head coach who has a tendency to lose his senses when the chips are on the line in late December and January. I?m not ready to anoint the Patriots better than any of these teams just yet but I am willing to put them in the same paragraph.
With five games to go, the Pats have layups against the Lions and Texans on tap. Only the Dolphins game in two weeks looks like one where the new-look Patriots could slip up. There is also a young Titans team that should be handled fairly easily in the last week of the regular season.
Every now and then, I will catch myself taking the Patriots for granted. Then a game like Sunday?s will come along and I have no choice but to fish through the closet, become a yahoo again as I throw on a Tom Brady #12 jersey and sit down to write a weekly column.
Idle Zinger thoughts while praying that my unfortunate ?Welcome to the Jungle? karaoke performance that occurred one night in the Fox Hall cafeteria back at UMass-Lowell doesn?t find its way onto YouTube.com:
Hey Dad, it?s ?Maroney,? not ?Mahoney.? It?s week 11 for Pete Carroll?s sake.
The Detroit Lions should take out a full page ad in all major U.S. daily newspapers apologizing for the annual Thanksgiving buzzkill that they have generated year after year. Because of their ineptitude, families all across the land have had to painfully interact with one another instead of being tuned into a decent game.
My annual playoff goatee is beginning to fill in nicely, thanks for asking. Frankly, it adds to my dashing good looks.
Ironically, Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt?s TV in his Dallas hospital room did not carry the Chiefs-Broncos game on NFL Network on Thanksgiving night. This Time Warner subscriber will reserve comment.
If you tailgate, make sure one of your regulars is a North End native. After downing homemade sausage, cannolis and ricotta pie, you?ll begin to see what I mean.
I?ve stopped keeping score of Joe Thiesmann?s inconsistencies.
Why does Corporate America and the NFL keep throwing Peyton Manning down our throat?
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