FOXBORO, MA -- The New England Patriots, one of the most storied franchises in the last decade, died yesterday of not showing up, according to 68,000 fans who booed them off the field admist angry demands for refunds.
I used to write obits for the Boston Globe when I first started out. I hated writing them. I especially hate writing them for my favorite sports team, the New England Patriots, mostly because it means no more football that matters. Again, it means no more football that I care to watch because I hate all other teams that matters.
It hurts; not like a paper cut or a rolled ankle. It's more like a swift kick to the groin. Twice.
The first play from scrimmage and the Ravens take it to the house.
Yes. To. The. House. TO THE @#&@% HOUSE!
The stadium was already booing ok after the first play, however the health of the franchise quickly deteriorated once that firs tseven went up on the board quicker than a kid asking for candy at the check out line. Little did we know, the team that Coach Bill built was going to flatline and do so quickly. Addomg to or misery would be the fact that the flatline would happen in the first quarter.
Yea, the first quarter.
As we tried to revive the team, but nothing seemed to work. CPR. Defibrillator. Massive electric shocks. Adrenalin shots to the heart. Water boarding. Cold water to the face. Cattle prod. Tasers. We got zippo. Nothing worked. The only sign of life was in Julian Edelman, who scored twice, looking very much like Wes Welker.
Sportscasters in Boston said this team had no heart. They weren't tough. They couldn't execute when they needed to. Thy were banged up from the QB through the reserves.
Fact of the matter was, the team was too inconsistent on offense; lacked a significant running attack; couldn't come up with offensive schemes to shield Moss from double coverage; didn't have a legit third receiver; had an offensive line that played, well, offensive; had a defense that played brilliantly on one series, then screwed the pooch on the next; corner backs that couldn't cover my three year old in the open field; linebackers that seemed to miss all of the big tackles that needed to be made; special teams that wasn't so special; and, a team that looked and played old at times.
The last critique I'll make is that the team didn't feel like a team. There were no leaders on the defensive side of the ball. Brady carried the torch on the o-side, but still seemed a little "soft" at times. There were no Vrabel's, Bruschi's, Harrison's, etc. No one got in players faces, screamed at them and demanded better.
For the past 10 years or so, we've had experienced much happier times -- 2001, 2003 and 2004 were great. Even 2007 was a great season, with the exception of that one loss. However, I guess what I'm driving at here is that we, Patriots Nation, need to realize that this is out moment of truth. We are no longer a shoe-in for the AFC Championship game (or Superbowl for that matter). We are an older team that needs to be revamped in all phases of the game -- from game strategy through PAT execution. Due to the money dumped into the team by Kraft and as long as Brady is at the helm, we'll be a perennial playoff bound team with the potential to win it all if the stars are aligned. And those are big, big if's.
So I guess this is the official end of a dynasty. Close the casket. Lower it in the ground. Grab a shovel and bury it.
Let's hope for some sort of re-birth in 2010-11 and not a Cleveland Browns/Detroit Lions type of new decade torturous, rebuilding decade.