Disasters In Retrospect 

Part One

              By Tom Mahoney              

This is it. The marbles are in the bag, and it’s time to take them all. Despite the distrust on both sides of the Boston-NY rivalry, the truth of the matter is that these two teams are very similar. This game is going to come down to execution, Turnovers, and a little luck.

Both teams have flaws that are cover up by a Super Bowl winning QBs. You can make arguments that both QB have also been the best QBs in the clutch this season. Brady lead his team from behind more than any QB this season. While Eli was the highest rated QB in the forth quarter this season.

Both teams struggle this season due to injury and other factors with establishing an identity. I hear the NY media whining about how injuries have hurt the Giants, but they have no idea. The trials and tribulations the Pats team faced this season are really astounding, and proof that the truth is stranger than fiction. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Watching the NE-NY game earlier, I was shocked at how different the Pats team was. I started the avalanche that led to BB’s Coach of the Year award last year. When I wrote that “You have to be an idiot if you think anybody but BB should be coach of the Year.” Suddenly, everybody was talking about BB being Coach of the Year. In retrospect, he should be Coach of the Year this year.

Now I’m not saying that I had this opinion the whole second half of the season, and everybody else is an idiot. This season was so bizarre and disastrous in so many ways that I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. I know I didn’t.

However, BB really rebuilt this team in the turmoil of disaster after disaster striking this team during the season. How many times has a coach successfully rebuilt a team in less than two or three years and survived? Not very often. I have never seen not heard of a coach rebuilding a team during the season. It was so unprecedented, ugly, and awkward that it seemed to happen when we weren’t looking. How, in the hell, did BB get this team to the Super Bowl? The first half of the season was one disaster after another. First the lockout, players moving all about, vested veterans not doing squat, the defense in shambles, and finally the disastrous release of Haynesworth and the benching of Ellis.

We were all so focused on the negative, that we missed the positive. Slowly but surely things came together, even as disasters continued to strike the team. They went from a bend and break 4-3 defense, to a bend and sometimes break sometimes 3-4 defense, to a pure 3-4 bend but don’t break defense that has given up a little over 15 PPG in the Playoffs.

They kept getting better and better as disasters struck, players fell, got bench, couldn’t get off the bench, got cut, and got put on IR. BB transformed “The worst defense in the history of the NFL” into a defense that championed the Pats through the AFC Championship Game and straight into the Super Bowl. Don’t forget the Pat’s offense struggled against the Ravens and it was Wilfork, some guy named Sterling, and the defense that won that game. And to make it worse, we all really missed it. Most real Pats fan thought they were done at one point or another.

In retrospect, we Pat’s fans should be ashamed of ourselves. A lot of people thought they were done when Haynesworth was released. It was just too much upheaval in one season. A lot of people thought they were done at a myriad of other points. I wrote they were done when Andre Carter went down. I wrote, “we may have won the battle and lost the war,” after watching Carter get carted off the field. However, they closed off the nonbelievers, and kept fighting and improving at such a snails level we couldn’t quite see the slime trail through the upheaval. And all the snipping behind BB’s back rather than praise for all the subtle and remarkable improvements that kept striking the team, and the winning (they just kept winning?), was our weakness. In retrospect it was truly amazing. Even the offense. I know what you are thinking the offense wasn’t rebuilt, they were on pace to break all kinds of records after week three. That’s true. The pretty guys were all set. But the O-Line was a Shakespearean tragedy this season:

****Now is the winter of our discontent
****Made glorious summer by this son of York;
****And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
****In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

They started 11 guys on the O-Line this season as one warrior after another fell on field of combat. 


Even before the season was to show it's colors, before the flowers of fall could bloom, and the hearts of happy warriors could frolic on fields of grass, our mortality betrayed us all:

****For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
****Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov'd him!
****This was the most unkindest cut of all;

When the Matriarch of the Pat’s family finally succumbed to cancer. And Sorrow filled the hearts of New England.

To be continued...





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