Why the Patriots MUST win Super Bowl XLVI

Hello! Before we get started, please note the redesign of the site I just put through. It’s not a huge difference (I’m not good enough with web design to create a look I really want), but it should be a little bit cleaner and easier to look at. Hopefully. I still need to figure out how to put in page breaks like almost every other good blog does, but that’s another problem for another day. If you have any suggestions on how to do that, I’m all ears. I’ll probably change the header from the Drive image eventually, but it just came out on Blu-ray, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s probably my most recommended movie of 2011, so I will continue doing my part to promote it. There are still things I want to change about the look of the site, but again, until I find someone who can totally overhaul it to the way I envision it looking, changes will be made in small moves. And there I go rambling again.

To the topic at hand. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

I’ll try to keep this relatively short, but bear with me, because I am extremely passionate about my team winning this game. (No shit, right?) The matchup against the Giants is epic from a storyline standpoint, and will probably increase the ratings of the game by 10%. As if the Super Bowl needed better ratings. This one will likely break the record (again) for the biggest single TV event in U.S. history, with estimates of at least 160 million people tuning in. Because of the Boston-New York rivalry, the recent history between these two teams, and the NFL history on the line, the stakes are that much higher, and fans like me are that much more desperate for our team to win. To that end, I’m gonna give you a quick list of the primary reasons I think the Patriots need to win this game. This is not gameplan analysis or a list of things the Pats need to do to win. You can find that crap on thousands of outlets online or on TV.

Like I said last year after that horrific playoff loss to the Jets, I was not gonna get so emotionally involved this year until the playoffs. I think I did a pretty good job of that during the regular season (as always, I didn’t watch a minute of the preseason). At this point though, it’s almost too much to take. I want it over with, but by god I want it over with with another Boston championship. I don’t do predictions of scores, never have. I’d love for the Pats to win in a blowout and not be shitting my pants for 3 hours (well, 4 hours this time with extended pregame and halftime), but in the end that’s probably unrealistic. Unless the Giants play very poorly, all the smart money is on this being a close game. I don’t give a crap how much they win by, so long as they win. Fuck it, let em win by 3 just like all the other Super Bowls. 10 points or more would be much nicer. Do it convincingly for once.

To be fair, I should note how much I respect the Giants for what they’ve now been able to do twice in these playoff runs. They’ve now won 6 straight playoff games on the road, which is outrageous. And despite how goofy I think Eli Manning is, he is clutch as fuck. Never in a blazillion years would I say he’s better than Tom Brady, but he’s been better in the playoffs for going on 4 years now. I’m still worried about the Giants’ pass rush, but for the reasons below, I tihnk this time around the Pats can, should, and yes, MUST, pull out a victory tomorrow. If the Giants win, feel free to come back here and let me have it, but I promise I won’t care, nor will I be shocked. I actually believe the Giants should’ve been favored.

Here we go:

1. MHK. After Patriot owner Robert Kraft‘s wife, Myra, died of cancer just prior to the season starting, the team dedicated this season to her. Patriots players and coaches have been wearing an MHK patch on their uniforms all year, and she was universally loved and admired both in and outside of the organization. She was one of the most respected, most influential women in Boston. Robert Kraft has been emotional all year in interviews when his wife is mentioned. You really get the sense from the players that this is legitimately a big deal to them. And let’s face it, she had to have something to do with that Billy Cundiff kick going wide left. Amiright?

The artwork Patriots players had commissioned for Robert Kraft.

*It’s the 10-year anniversary of the Patriots’ first Super Bowl run. I like round number anniversaries like this. Winning another Super Bowl would mean 4 in 10 years, an undeniable dynasty. It’d be a nice bookend, and any other success going forward would just be icing on the cake.

*Statistical history for Brady/Belichick. With a win, Brady will be amongst the most elite of elite company, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only 4-time Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. That’s huge. It would mean Ben Roethlisberger would have to win 2 more Super Bowls to tie Brady (highly unlikely) instead of one (we already dodged that bullet once last year). I’ve been saying for years that 3 Super Bowls is incredible, but 4 really sets you apart. And let’s face it, the farther we get away from the last Super Bowl, the less people talk about Brady’s overall greatness. Brady can also win his 17th playoff game, which would break the tie he currently holds with Montana for all-time playoff wins. Brady & Belichick have already set a record by appearing in 5 Super Bowls together, and they’re already way ahead in overall wins among the all-time great QB/coach combinations.

*Saving my sanity. Last May, I wrote a piece about the worst sports losses of my life. Super Bowl XLII was #1 on that list, and it wasn’t close. Granted, the perfect season isn’t on the line here (the primary reason that loss was so painful), but the thought of losing another Super Bowl, of watching Brady and Belichick lose a second one, is unbearable. To that end…

*Shutting up the haters. Ooo, this is a good one. This one might give me the most personal satisfaction. I’ve lived outside New England for 5 years now, so I’ve seen this up close and personal for a long time. When the Patriots lose a game, I catch shit at work constantly. People can’t wait to see me and let me have it, even if most of the people talking shit to me are fans of garbage teams. I even hear it from people who don’t even follow football, but they damn well know when the Patriots lose. Funny how that works. And when the Pats lose a playoff game? Shit, I wish I’d called out sick Monday, 2/4/08. People LOVE rooting against the Patriots. They LOVE hating on Tom Brady, even if he’s in the 99th percentile of famous people you should actually admire. Seriously, other than envy, I don’t get it. I kinda get why you’d hate on Bill Belichick. He’s a smug son-of-a-bitch. He refuses to give the media anything. He’s the Dark Lord. I think that stuff makes him even cooler, but to each their own. Don’t you have to at least respect what he’s able to do year in and year out? Constantly bringing in undrafted free agent rejects and turning them into winners? Until they traded for Randy Moss in 2007, Brady has been the only true superstar on the team this entire time. Rob Gronkowski might be getting there, but he’s not a true superstar yet. The haters also ignore the fact that this run in New England is probably the best coaching job in the history of football, given the level of competition in the league. Most of the hate falls on the Patriots in general, or on Brady or Belichick specifically. People don’t seem to hate other individual Patriots players, and never really have. I digress.

I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where most NFL National Football League fans are not Panthers fans (the closest NFL National Football League team by proximity), but bandwagon Steelers fans. Now, despite the fact that the Patriots valiantly avenged the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Denver Broncos Tebows, and then dispatched their most hated division rivals (the Ravens), I still can’t find a single person here who would prefer the Patriots win this Super Bowl, if given the choice. A lot of people who want the Patriots to lose aren’t even rooting for the Giants, they’re just rooting against the Pats. This makes no sense to me. Really, you’d rather see the New York team with their trash talking, cocky defensive players win? Your jealousy over the Patriots’ consistent success, envy of Brady and hatred of Belichick runs that deep? It’s a sad commentary on society, in my view.

I would love nothing more on Monday than to be able to go into work proudly wearing a Patriots hat and my Belichick hoodie, pull down my pants and tell everyone to kiss my Masshole.

-I found this interesting. The Boston Globe (fairly accurately, I’d say) lists in photos why everyone outside New England hates the Patriots. I understand it, but golly gee, quit chuggin that Haterade for 5 minutes and at least appreciate the history. Appreciate that you’re not gonna see a Brady/Belichick combination for maybe 10 years, maybe 20 years, maybe not ever again in your lifetime given the parity of the NFL National Football League. Going forward, it’ll be a miracle anytime a coach/quarterback combo can win 2 Super Bowls together. The odds on 3 or more? Exceedingly remote. You don’t have to be a Patriots fan, but if you’re a football fan, you should respect and appreciate what’s going on here. Simple as that.

Official beverage of all non-Patriots fans on Super Bowl Sunday. And every other Sunday.

*That fucking David Tyree replay could never hurt me again. With a 4th Super Bowl, especially one coming against the Giants, I would no longer give a shit about David Tyree and his stupid helmet (and the offensive holding that should’ve been called that allowed Manning to get free for that pass in the first place!!!). Because in sports, as in America, people only care about what’s happened most recently. “The Giants won 4 years ago? Who gives a crap!? The Patriots won yesterday. Wear your 18-1 t-shirt all you want and live in the past while I strut around in my Super Bowl XLVI championship shirt. 4 Super Bowls, bitch. Wake me when Eli, Peyton, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers have even gotten to 3.” These are all things I hope to be able to say next week if people have the balls to drudge up the past. I’ve been avoiding most of the Super Bowl press coverage these past two weeks precisely because I don’t need to see the helmet catch for the 94 billionth time. We all know damn well it’ll be shown at least 5 times during the preshow and the game itself, so why subject myself to it further by watching ESPN this week? No thanks.

*Boston fans still have championship bloodlust. This would make 8 titles for us in the 4 major pro sports since 2002, something I do not take for granted. I know this is not going to happen again while I live. But while we still have good teams, we still expect them to contend for titles, which is entirely reasonable, not greedy. The Celtics’ run looks to be over, but the Pats, Red Sox and Bruins are still good enough to add to our trophy case. The Patriots haven’t won a championship in 7 years, the longest championship drought in Boston sports. This is entirely unacceptable.

Why I’m encouraged…

-Tom Brady doesn’t play like crap two games in a row. That should worry all you fuckers rooting against us. And yes, I say us like I’m a part of the team. Deal with it. I like that they survived the Ravens game (which is the only honest way to describe it) in spite of Brady playing like garbage, because this sets him up perfectly for a big comeback game. The Boston Herald‘s Ian Rapaport did a great piece on just how good Brady typically is after playing a shitty game (as he just did against the Ravens).

-Do you like symmetry? In 2007, the Patriots beat the Giants on the road in the regular season (the final regular season game, actually, which got them to 16-0), and the Giants obviously beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. This year, the Giants beat the Patriots on the road in the regular season. Which means…YES!

-Let’s face it, the Patriots simply owe them one. Redemption. Revenge. Whatever you wanna call it. Brady cannot fall to 3-2 in Super Bowls. He cannot lose to Eli f’n Manning twice.

-Hopefully this time around, the 2 weeks between games will have cooled the Giants’ momentum. The Patriots didn’t really have any momentum, so there was nothing to cool on their side. All there’s been is time…time for Brady to think about how crappy he played in the AFC Championship. I like that.

-If you’re the superstitious type, you probably believe one of the reasons the Pats lost on the day of infamy is the fact that Belichick wore a red hoodie, a style he had never worn before that day. Well, good news has come. Allegedly, Belichick will definitely not wear that again. It’s the little things, people.

Chad Ochocinco is due for a big game. I kid. But wouldn’t it be funny, if after all this disappointment all year, he caught 7 balls for 148 yards and 2 TDs, and won Super Bowl MVP?

-At some point, Eli Manning and his receivers have to run out of miracles. DON’T THEY? I mean, COME ON! Helmet catches. Hail Marys. No-calls by the refs. I’m having horrifying visions of Victor Cruz breaking a 10-yard catch for 70 yards after catch and a touchdown. Get out of my head, Giants uniforms!

Why I’m discouraged…

I’m not discouraged! They need to win. They must win. They WILL win.

Or I’m done watching the NFL.

Probably.

Maybe.

To think, Brady could be going for his unprecedented fifth ring instead of his fourth. DAMN YOU, FEBRUARY 3, 2008!!!

One more thing. I found this piece on ESPN by Greg Garber a really fascinating read, detailing the relationship and history between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Pats fans and football fans will appreciate it. [Not satisfied yet]

I wish I were this good with Photoshop…

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