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September 17, 2007
Redemption...For Now
BY: Kevin Rousseau

Sunday night's crushing 38-14 win over the Chargers was about redemption. Redemption for the players. Redemption for the Head Coach. And also redemption for the Foxboro Faithful.

Patriots fans went into the confessional over the past week, said the Act of Contrition and a few Our Fathers and then began the process of moving on. After such a long week of wondering about the ethics and foundation of the franchise, it was a relief just to watch a football game and forget about the witch hunt that "video-gate" is thought to be.

Of course, I hold my breath when I say "witch hunt" because if Lord forbid the other shoe drops and the Patriots are caught putting microphones on players or other such egregious acts, then all bets are off. Some of the national uprising on this stuff is justified but a lot of it is not. The feeling around Patriot Nation -- thanks to extensive research conducted in parking lots, on my cell phone and while listening to the radio -- is that this Patriot-bashing is nothing more than jealousy. Exhibit A is Hines Ward wanting to replay two AFC Championship games because somehow the Patriots cheated in both games.

The larger question that is falling on deaf ears up until this point nationally is why isn't the NFL asking the other 31 teams to step into the confessional on their own deceptive, unethical tactics. Given the widely acknowledged view that the Patriots are not be alone in engaging in questionable activities, such an undertaking is the only clear way for Commissioner Roger Goodell to ensure the NFL fan base that he is indeed comprehensively addressing the issue. If you listened to media outlets from outside New England, you would quickly discover that the Patriots are heading for excommunication while everyone else in the League is a candidate for the priesthood.

Until this blows over or the other shoe drops, let's forget about it and focus on the jaw-dropping performance of the Patriots on Sunday night and what it means as the season unfolds.

My guess is that most longtime observers and fans of the team (present company included, ahem) predicted that this was going to be a blowout. It was a perfect storm that combined an immature Chargers team, a prideful Patriot locker room and a Head Coach who finally had a legitimate "Us vs. the World" argument to utilize.

It was a playoff-style atmosphere at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night reminiscent of the Colts playoff games from a few years ago. From a pure football standpoint, it was a beautiful demonstration of outstanding game planning and execution. With plays like the touchdown passes to Moss and the interception and blazing runback by Adalius Thomas, fans in the stadium unleashed the aggravation that the last week had built up inside of them. The defining statement to the Chargers and the League was the 10-minute drive in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 4th-and-goal touchdown plunge by Sammy Morris. Echoing Tedy Bruschi's post-game remarks, Patriot fans went home satisfied that their well-earned pride delivered the goods once again. On Sunday night, there was nothing that required an apology.

Without question, the 2007 Patriots have a chance to deliver as one of the most dominant teams ever to be assembled. Now let's just hope no more bad news on "video-gate" is delivered from an address in Manhattan.

Idle Zinger thoughts while being thrilled with the new seat location in Section 118:

Just how much Coors Light would you agree to drink if they could somehow get the Hooded One to agree to have some press conference footage spliced into one of those commercials?

To the male viewers of Sunday Night Football: Has your heart rate returned to normal after watching Faith Hill sing the show's theme song?

Don't tell the other members of the vestry, but my favorite show on television is "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" on FX. One of the few bright spots of "Videogate" week was the season premiere last Thursday night.

So now that I have disclosed my secret affection for dark humor, perhaps you can see why I almost bowled over with laughter when I heard "Stayin' Alive" from the Bee Gees coming over the PA system at my grandfather's nursing home the other day.


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