There’s Always Last Year

Coming to terms with the Patriots lost to the Broncos and the road ahead for the team

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gettyimages-499221526The football season is over.

Well, I guess not officially. But in my mind it is, thanks to the Patriots losing to the Broncos this past weekend. Rough go, boys. Not a game that was particularly easy on the ticker. I’m very well accustomed to running through all of my emotions over the course of a game while watching the Pats, but this Pats/Broncos game seemed to have all my emotions running faster than usual. It was rough.

And now it’s over. Now I’m rationalizing the pain away and constantly reminding myself that you know, the Pats did win the Super Bowl last year. I’m up to my usual tricks when this happens, when the Pats lose a game like they lost on Sunday- telling myself it’s only sports and telling myself that I should feel so very lucky and fortunate to be rooting for a team that has a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl every year. No really, they do. They’ve been in five straight AFC Championship Games, 10 total in the Brady era. The fact that whether or not Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever is even up for debate is crazy talk.

Because he is.

Argument over.

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I will happily cheer for the Carolina Panthers in this year’s Super Bowl. It’s not like I don’t want Peyton Manning to win and go out on top, a rarity these days…actually most days. I’d be fine if Manning won. Good for him. My issue would be the media coverage if he did win because holy good God does the media have a Effel Tour sized erection for Manning. Even if you were to filter that statement through my unabashed Pats-bias it would still translate to a Washington monument-sized half master. I just don’t think I’d be able to handle it. There are few things worse in life than ESPN fawning over one of their favorites. War. Poverty. That shit going on in Flint. Trump. Those are probably the only things worse. Actually, child soldiers caught up in civil wars in African nations, as depicted by Beasts of No Nation, is worse.

Speaking of Beasts of No Nation, Idris Elba not being nominated is the real outrage to be had when talking about this year’s Oscars. That dude dominated that movie, he loomed over scenes in a way that screamed massive movie star just straight up kicking ass. Forget Will Smith. Elba was robbed.

Now we enter another fretful Patriots’ offseason filled with one or two popular veterans being unceremoniously traded and/or cut, a couple head-scratching signings, tepid frustration during the draft and one or two wide receivers being signed, neither of whom present any semblance of a down-field threat or any tangible and realistic chance of being on the team in October. As fans we will be frustrated and mildly annoyed as the manbots on ESPN criticize the Pats and Belichick, a smattering of them even proclaiming the Pats reign as Kings of the AFC East is now dead, with the Jets likely to steal the thrown. One dude will say the Bills are on the come-up. Due to contract obligations, someone will be forced to take the Dolphins. Then it’ll come time for the footballistas to make their picks and a lovely select few will again pick the Pats, but the majority will take the Colts or the Steelers or the Jets. A dark horse will emerge. We’ll all laugh at the Browns. The Ravens will be better. Maybe. The Pats will be taken for granted. Definitely.

Peyton will be gone, the Broncos still a contender, but not as much as one. Their defense will take some hits. I saw today that Von Miller is due to be a free agent and while the Broncos will probably re-sign him, at least franchise him, the potential of him moving on is there. That’d be a blow to Denver. Meanwhile, the Patriots will return the majority of their surprisingly good defense, as well as Brady, Gronk and Edelman. Amendola will likely take some kind of discount to stay. Dion Lewis will be back, reminding us all of the little firecracker we fell so hard for during the first half of this season before he got injured- an injury that in the grand scheme of things, was the biggest domino to fall during the 2015 campaign to repeat as champions. He was the most important card to be pulled in the delicate house of cards that was the 2015 Patriots. It’s that simple for a football team to be derailed and each team has at least four or five players they can’t afford to lose and their success is directly related to how many of those players can stay healthy. For the Pats, it’s Brady, Gronk, Edelman, Gostowski then a coin flip separating Jamie Collins, D’onte Hightower and Chandler Jones. Both Gronk and Edelman missed time on offense, Collins and Hightower on defense. That’s too many key players; too many for a team to overcome, too many stumbling blocks to successfully navigate through unscathed; momentum in tact.

But hey, we won the Super Bowl last year.

That’s a fun thing to keep telling myself during this run up to this year’s Super Bowl.

And if that doesn’t work- if the Peyton love gets to be too much or the Cam Newton hate to vitriolic, there’s always the promise of a new baseball season. I mean, there’s no way the Red Sox can suck again, right?

Right?

 

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