October 19, 2009
Was It All A Dream?
BY: Kevin Rousseau
It's the good things you don't see coming in life that you remember most. Especially when it comes to sports.
You never saw the 2001 Patriots coming or the vanquishing of the Yankees in 2004 after being down 3-0 in the ALCS. It's one thing to know what is going to happen such as like what happened week after week by the Patriots in 2007. But it's a real blast when you're not expecting much and the team you follow pleasantly surprises you.
"Never in a million years did I see this one coming," my dad said as we left Foxboro Stadium after second-year backup quarterback Tom Brady beat the Colts in his first start in 2001. "Never in a million years…."
Not seeing it coming on Sunday--whether you are talking about the snow or the 59-0 pasting of the Titans--made the whole day easily one of the best game day experiences I've had in the hundreds of games I have attended since 1979 or so. Yep, it was that good.
The day sure started out memorable enough but for all the wrong reasons. The tailgate in the parking lot across from Outlaw BBQ quickly turned into an audition for the "Deadliest Catch." There were patrons trying to enjoy kielbasa, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Bianco & Sons sausages all the while doing a Mary Poppins impression trying to hold down their canopy tents. Filling my wise guy role adequately, I asked the gang "Hey, who's having fun?" and was treated to a round of "Shut up. Be quiet and stuff your trap with a Cool Ranch Dorito, sporto."
Sometimes when things look like they are getting worse they are actually getting better. Watching the first few snowflakes fall out the back window of Bass Pro Shops while we were drying out, the common thinking was that this day is going into a tailspin. "We got a team that is inconsistent and under-achieving and now a crummy wintry mix while the Pats continue their red zone fiascos later this afternoon."
"Snow in October? What? Here in Foxboro? I grew up within two miles of the joint and I don't ever, ever remember snow before my November 19th birthday (ahem). Well, this could be interesting," I said to Scotty Potty as we winded our way to our seats in the end zone.
Whatever enthusiasm I had for the white stuff was extinguished by yet another said red zone fiasco culminating in a missed field goal early in the first quarter. Maybe all of the no-shows got it right. In retrospect, it was God's way of setting the hook.
The snow kept coming down--in OCTOBER--and the field kept getting whiter and whiter. Then a touchdown here, a turnover there, another touchdown over there and it was beginning to look a lot like the much maligned and revered 2007 all over again. It got to the point that when you went to the bathroom or to buy a pair of overpriced $20 fleece gloves, you missed something and had to crank your head to look at the jumbotron in a panic.
It was the kind of scene that stays etched in your skull for a long, long time. The collective high fives, the patron that hit the sauce in the parking lot a little too hard falling down the stairs who then gets back up smiling, and finally the talk about what is in store for the rest of the season.
It got so out of hand so quickly that Matty went from one minute extolling the virtues of not putting down the playoff ticket deposit in another month or so to wondering just who was going to stop the Pats this year.
If you walked by me in the third quarter, you would never have guessed I was stone-cold sober. I was dancing in the seats and shouting "Hey, who's having fun now?" with snow slowly failing down around us like during the 2001 Raiders playoff game that changed everything.
Despite all the hysteria in the moment, let's step back and try to get a little perspective. The first half of the season is a roller coaster. None of this really matters pre-Thanksgiving. Right now, it's all about setting the table for the late-season feast. Two weeks ago, the Jets were world beaters and now it's time for Fitzy at Townienews.com to start printing off some "Hey Rex, Kiss This" t-shirts.
As low as Patriot Nation was last week after the Broncos fiasco, we were that high after the beatdown that none of us ever saw coming on Sunday against the Titans. I suppose that's why we watch. We never quite know what is coming down the Pike.
Especially a 59-0 throttling of a playoff bye team of a year ago during an October 18th snow storm. Was it all a dream inside of a snow globe or did that really happen?
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