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Where to rank the Pats, No. 43 perhaps?Posted Thursday, February 7, 2008, at 7:24 PM
It has been said that patience is a virtue, but not normally one of mine.
But for the record, I waited almost 72 hours before writing about the perfect New England Patriots.
Oh, I'm sorry, but the Pursuit of Perfection (if I never hear that phrase again it will be about a million years too soon) ended with the Pats 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII Sunday night.
The dynasty talk has ended as well. I guess you can't be a dynasty when you haven't won a Super Bowl in the past three seasons.
That patent on 19-0, much like Pat Riley's term "Threepeat," should be approved any day now. It too bad, but 18-1 has a much nicer ring to it, especially to an Indianapolis Colts fan like myself.
I realize that it wasn't the Patriots who were blowing their own horn, but just about every media organization including ESPN, which I hear was considering changing their name to PATS, thought the Patriots, who had won their first 18 games of this season, were destiny's child.
I guess someone forgot to inform the Giants about that; much like on Jan. 12, 1969 when Joe Willie Namath led his New York Jets to a 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Some believe the Giants' victory over New England as the greatest upset in the history of the National Football League, considering that the Pats were trying to join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only undefeated team in league history. But as the commercial featuring members of that Dolphin team shows, the population to the town of Perfection is still one.
If you go by point-spread alone, shows you what the damn odds makers know; it would be the third-greatest upset in the history of the Super Bowl.
The Jets were a 17-point dog to the Colts and the St. Louis Rams were a 14-point favorite over New England in 2001, which was the first of three titles by the Patriots and start of the so-called dynasty seven Super Bowls ago. This year's invincible Pats were a meager 12-point pick over the Giants.
Once ESPN and others did not have the perfect season to talk about, they wanted to know what to make of this season by the Patriots. Their coaches and players called it "disappointing." Members of the media who were singing the praises of the Patriots over the past two weeks called it a "failure."
A friend of mine put it in its proper framework. "They are the 43rd best team in NFL history," he said. "They are best Super Bowl runner-up ever."
I seriously doubt if they would have to wait for a patent on "43rd best." It reminds me of what world-class distance runner Steve Prefontaine said after being met at the airport after running in the 1972 Munich Olympics. "They are going to name a street after me, Fourth Street," in reference to his fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters..
Although the Pats only lost by three points, they got the crap beat out of them physically. Quarterback Tom Brady, who still has three Super Bowl rings to his credit, actually looked human as he came to the sideline time and time again after another stop by the New York defense.
It was nice to see the Giants defense hit him, harassed him, knock him down and made him look like just any other sixth round pick. A quarterback is only as good as his offense line and Brady won't be purchasing any gifts for his linemen any time in the near future.
I wonder if he is still laughing at the thought of his team, which averaged over 35 points per in games that ultimately didn't count, being limited to 17 points, as he did after New York receiver Plaxico Burress, who ironically caught the winning touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning, made the prediction that the Giants would win 23-17?
I also wonder if Brady, who is not 100 percent reportedly, would have taken himself out of the Pro Bowl this Sunday if had he won a fourth ring? I guess pain hurts more when you lose. You never saw Peyton Manning duck out after another disappointing loss in the playoffs.
I cannot leave without saying a word or two about my favorite coach, the No. 1 personality in New England Bill Belichick.
I guess someone forgot to tell him of the rule that everyone has to stay on the field until the clock reads 00:00. Once you get your tailed kicked, I guess it's time to get out of dodge and prepare for another mind-blowing press conference. Humble pie doesn't taste so good, does it Bill?
A friend called me after the game and said he shouldn't have been so happy about the failure of another human being. But we both said we couldn't believe how excited we were when the Giants won the game on the third and final lead change of Super Bowl XLII. But as least we felt a bit guilty about it.
This year's big game was almost as good as the Colts beating the Patriots in the AFC championship game last year on the way to winning the Super Bowl. But as they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
B.J. Hargis is sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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