- What I am about to write is a complete cop out: I was not as upset by the 2011 Super Bowl loss as I was the 2007, because I already knew the Patriots were going to lose. It’s a lot easier to accept defeat when you are winning, 17-15 in the third quarter and know it’s the last moment you’re going to be ahead. Why did I know this? Simply because these Patriots are not the Patriots of the early aughts.
Yes, I wrote in my blog post earlier this week that the Pats were the Pats of ‘03-’05. I confess, that was just me clinging to hope. I lied for the sake of art. I didn’t actually believe it. At the Super Bowl party I attended tonight, I shook the hand of the victorious Giants fan in attendance, said “Good Game” and actually meant it. The 2007 me would have perhaps stomped out of the room.
Tonight’s loss came down to a few plays. Had Welker caught that pass…Had Belichick not challenged that catch and lost a time out…Had the Patriots allowed the last Giants touchdown on 1st and goal, which 5 of the people I watched the game with advocated (even I said “they have to let them score ASAP, when the Giants were inside the red zone). Simply put, Belichick got out coached by the average home fan watching the game. Yes, we had the advantage of watching the game on a 46 inch television, but he had the experts in the field on his sideline. Belichick of years past would have let the Giants score quickly and put his man Tom back on the field with two heroic minutes to play (similar to the play in 2003 when he took the safety in the Broncos game in order to have better field position). The Belichick in tonight’s game has gone stale.
So too has Tom Brady. In an angry/emotional post-game Facebook post, I suggested that the Patriots sign Peyton manning and make Brady compete for his job as starting quarterback next year. Yes, it was the post of an upset fan whose “MHK” pin was pressing into her heart. But it also rings a little too true. Since Tom Brady has become “international-superstar-married-to-Giselle-and-renovating-a-22,000-squarre-foot-house” TomBrady,” every other Boston sports team has won a World Championship except the New England Patriots. Tim Thomas, along with his rough edges, is more Boston than Tom Brady.
So where do we go from here? Well we obviously don’t fire Belichick and Brady, although I still like my idea of making Tom compete for his job next year. We look toward the draft and realize that poor Vince Wilfork has been working far too hard. We need to go back to the days of Harrison and Bruschi. That said, fixing the defense isn’t the way we win the Super Bowl next year. The Patriots defense played their hearts out tonight. It was the offense who lost the game.