Game One is only two days away, and the anticipation and excitement is palpable in the Boston air. Or that might just be the tension from Bobby Valentine’s epic meltdown this week on WEEI. As this Patriots’ fan spent the vast majority of the offseason eagerly prepping for my own big event, my June wedding, I feel it’s only appropriate to draw from the hundreds of pieces of information I’ve stored in my brain from Style Me Pretty and Martha Stewart Weddings and tell you, dear reader, why preparing for Game One of the NFL season is like preparing for the biggest day of your life.
First there’s the bride, or as we know him, Bill Belichick. The bride has spent the last 9 months pouring through all of the stats, reading every piece of literature on the subject matter and making sure that she is going down the aisle with every X crossed and O circled. She knows what flowers are in season in June (peonies, hydrangeas), and what vendor on Etsy sells muslin bags at a cheaper price than at Michael’s. This is her show. Do not be confused about that. The Bride has assembled a crack squad of assistant coaches – florists, invitation printers, pinspot lighting experts – and is relying on the financial backing of a wealthier individual to execute on her vision. Ah, the things I could do with the Kraft family wedding budget.
The next key player is the groom, our man Tom Brady. The groom’s job is to look good in a tuxedo (check), execute on the bride’s game plan, be dependently wonderful on the day that matters most and not royally screw up by throwing an interception or getting too drunk before the big event. The groom gets a lot of attention, but everyone secretly knows that without the bride, the groom would be sitting on a bench somewhere, staring at his hands.
The maid of honor and best man make up your offensive line. Their job is to keep all of the distant relatives, who have last minute requests like having their hair blown out by the bride’s expensive stylist, away from the bride and groom so they can perform to their best potential. They must be chosen wisely. An unreliable best man will take the groom to Tijuana for his bachelor party and render the groom inactive for the rest of the season, and potentially his career. The maid of honor needs to be the calm head who tells the bride that, even though she wants to install cameras in her man’s suitcase during the bachelor party, spying never gets you anywhere (although snitching gets you even less, Eric Mangini).
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The bride spends so much time planning the wedding that she will inevitably be disappointed when some old friends cancel their RSVPs after the 53-man roster, er catering numbers are due. She acknowledges the wedding would have been more fun with Deion Branch on the sidelines, but realizes it’s ok that Koppen and Hoyer aren’t there. She probably wouldn’t have even noticed them that day anyhow.
Things will go wrong during that first big game of the season. A receiver will inevitably miss a route, leading to a pick 6, or your band will play two songs on your Do Not Play list. Don’t fret. Next quarter, said receiver will catch a 36 yard touchdown pass, and the band will redeem itself by playing Call Me Maybe twice (this actually happened at my wedding and it was amazing). Someone will turn right at the end of the aisle instead of cutting left. But it will be fabulous regardless, and you can talk about what you would have done differently when you review the video. When the coins are tossed and the rings are exchanged, you will know this: you are ready for some football.
Week One Thoughts: The Patriots have not had an outstanding preseason, with questions as to the strength in their offensive line. Consensus is that the Pats have an easy stroll to the playoffs, but only if Tom Brady stays healthy, so all eyes will be on left tackle Nate Solder. If the O-line gels and Brady has time to throw, the victor should never be in doubt. Jake Locker is not a particularly intimidating quarterback to face for the first outing, but running back Chris Johnson is no joke. Fortunately, the Pats run defense looks solid. The Patriots will try to make a statement in week one and let the NFL know that, despite the easy schedule, this team is for real.