I saw a commercial last night called “Perfect Season.” It goes like this:
Perfect terrible beginning
Perfect pre-season distractions
Perfect injured Plaxico
Perfect Strahan near retirement
Perfect argument with the press
Perfect first loss
Perfect second loss
Perfect broken Shockey
Perfect week 17 loss
Perfect when it counts
Perfect point spread
And you know what? It was right for the Giants, it was a perfect season. The only result that mattered was the score in the last game, and once you’ve got that on your side — that’s perfection. A lot of Patriots fans I know were incensed at the thought of losing a mere regular season game this year, leading one to email me saying he would “drink a bottle of bleach” if they did. He’s on the rampage now for David Tyree, but he really should be angry at the Patriots. It was their failed strategy that led them to lose, and they deserve the blame.
At what point did we think we needed to be invincible to the be the best? Does it come from watching the Yankees? Does it come from the Celtics/Lakers rivalry? I’m more inclined to say the second one than the first, actually: Patriots fans have a desire to bury their closest opponent and hate everything about them, like the Lakers and Celtics did when they tore each other apart for a decade. I have never, ever understood the uniform hatred of the Colts and Peyton Manning. Outside of a three-game stretch that culminated in a loss that was arguable tougher than Sunday’s Super Bowl loss, the Patriots have owned the Colts. What’s there to be angry about?
I actually saw some highlights from this year’s Colts game recently and winced: I can’t even watch any more. That was when the undefeated talk really started, and when the Pats more or less started playing like the 2003/2004 Patriots, winning close games instead of blowing people out (notwithstanding the Buffalo game). That was fine, because those teams won it all, and one thing I have realized about the Super Bowl is how it was an expression of how good the Patriots were, not how bad they were. Let’s face it, they were getting smacked all over the f’ing field all night and still had the lead with 2:45 left. They just couldn’t put it away. They ran up against a team that, on the day of the game, was better in virtually every phase of the game and came up 35 seconds short. What can I say?
Here’s what: be careful what you wish for, as fans. We can’t control what the team does, and 16-0 is great and non-refundable: it’s ours forever. We won as many games in a season as any team ever, tying the 1985 Bears. Let’s take the positives out of this season and look back on our three Super Bowl titles as if they’re solidly in the past. There might be another one, but we’ll never expect it any more. The illusion that the Pats are unstoppable has been destroyed, but remember this: it was an illusion the whole time. They play the games for a reason. Let’s have some fun out there.