Sunday, September 24, 2006

An Evening on the Couch

As my frustration with the statistically gaudy, but fundamentally inept Patriots offense, and my abject hatred for all things Jake Plummer grew simultaneously tonight, my friend Kim asked me the following text-messaged questions which I think are very valid ones for Pats fans to consider at moments like these:

"Are we delusional? Or are we spoiled...have we won too much?"

Answers: Yes, sort of, and FUCK NO.

Of course we're delusional. When Victor Kiam owned the team, hell, when Tony Eason quarterbacked the team, I still hoped we'd win every week. When we were down 23-3 at the half in XX, I still thought we'd come back. I was not quite 10 years old, so maybe it wasn't insanity, but rather naivety, that drove that one, but still...any true fan must be a little delusional, especially at the worst of times, because it's that delusionality that drives you to watch, to keep being a fan. If we were rational about it, we never would've watched against the Rams in XXXVI because what chance did we have? Right? We were 14 point dogs to the Greatest Show on Turf but we dove over couches into the waiting arms of our delusional friends when Adam split 'em have to be insane to stitch yourself into the fabric of a season and a team as deeply as most of us do. You're just setting yourself up for future heartache. It's almost guaranteed. But we do it anyway. Because it feels so good when they don't break your heart. It's a fucked up sort of risk/reward management, but what the hell?

We are a little spoiled, but not as much as the players and coaches and owners. Yes, there is a culture of winning in Foxboro that was unheard of until about 3 years ago. As decidedly mediocre as we've been as a franchise (and we just got over .500 for the team's history like a week ago), we've certainly taken to our winning ways awfully quickly. We expect the Pats to win. I always hoped they would, but there was never that expectation when I was younger. Just getting to the playoffs after the way we started in '85 was huge, getting to the Bowl was unthinkable; same in '96; just an anomaly. Now, when Tommy doesn't lead us to glory, or when the kicks go astray (as I'm afraid they will much of the year- I'm not sold on this kicker just yet)), we're not quite sure how to handle it.

Bigger problem? The Pats, as an organization, have reached Bill Simmons' much ballyhooed and condemned "Keith Hernandez Status." You know: "Wait a minute, I can do whatever I want; I'm Keith Fuckin' Hernandez." I hate to echo what Madden said tonight, but you can't just go around cutting people, not extending contracts for loyal vets, not rewarding multiple superbowl heros; you can't just assume that your system is so foolproof that it will work no matter who you plug in there. You can't just replace Joe Andruzzi, the WR Davids, Deion, Adam, Willie, all those kinds of guys. You can't cut Troy Brown and just hope he'll wait and re-sign for less money because he loves you. He'll do it, but it sends a bad message. You have one of the best quarterbacks signing a deal for 30mil less than he could make on the open market, presumably to help the team save money to sign a great supporting cast, and what do we end up with? Stephen Gostkowski? Doug Gabriel and Reche Caldwell? James Sanders and Chad Scott? I miss Ty Law for fuck's we couldn't use him now?

Winning, especially when you feel like it's the product of an inherent system or way of doing things, always carries the risk of bloating the ego of said system's creator(s) to the point that they think the house stands up because of the blueprints, rather than because of the bricks and mortar. And I know it's classic Boston journalism to build someone up just to knock them down, and I don't want to pile on because we have won three superbowls, but Pioli and Bellichick (and Old Pink Tie/White Cuff himself up there) are operating this franchise with an arrogance that does a disservice to the all for one vibe of the XXXVI guys, while at the same time insuring that there won't be an XLI crew for us to celebrate. Right now, we don't have the personnel to operate our gameplan. It's that simple. Caldwell and Gabriel don't scare anyone, and if Graham and Watson continue to drop balls, they won't scare anyone either. I got sick of listenening to everyone harping on the Branch issue, but he was Tommy's guy, and it's pretty fucking obvious that the whole team misses him.

As for the winning too much, well, it can never happen. We have three SB rings in the last five years; a fucking Boston gold rush, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Johnny Most only smoked a pack a day. And you know what? Being eliminated from the playoffs, or losing a revenge game to the "Ohhhhhh....the Denver Broncos...." still makes me sick to my stomach. If it didn't, I wouldn't be a delusional fan. Or I'd be so spoiled that occasional disappointment wouldn't scratch the surface of my supposed post-championship glow. If losing ever doesn't bother me the way it does now, well, My Wife can call that growing up, but I'll call it dying young. So what if we're delusional, Kim; I'd rather that than just not caring enough to even watch the games. And if we have a heart attack or three along the way, well, we'll keep jumping up and down on Sundays anyway. Though they cause anxiety and grey hair, the Pats keep us acting pretty fucking young.

*Many thanks to the good folks at Three Floyds and Rogue for making this game remotely tolerable...

**Heidi, if you're reading this, and the twenty I gave you is still wet, you'll know it takes longer than that for pee to dry...

***Does anyone know when Studio 60 or Heroes will be on? I kept waiting for NBC to say something about those two shows...did I miss something?


Blogger Peter N said...

Studio 60"s SECOND episode airs tonight and every Monday at 10...last week was great, but it just was a set-up for the rest of the season. Bradley Whitford (?) and Matt Perry just rejoined the show after Judd Hirsch's on air meltdown, ala Network. You should be all set for tonight with those few facts. Heroes is also on tonight, but I'm not interested. You'll like 60 bigtime!!! As we wait for LOST.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Peter N said...

SHOW DESCRIPTION:This one-hour drama chronicles the lives of ordinary people who find out they have some extraordinary abilities. After a total eclipse, a genetics professor -- whose father recently went missing -- uncovers a theory regarding people with superhuman powers. Elsewhere, a young man tries to convince his politician brother he can fly, a teenage girl finds she's totally indestructible, a Vegas showgirl discovers that her mirror image is a separate being and a gift artist (struggling with a drug addiction) can paint the future. Ultimately, this disparate group of folks will be asked to save the world.

BRIEF HISTORY:"Heroes" is executive produced by creator/writer Tim Kring ("Crossing Jordan"), Dennis Hammer ("Crossing Jordan") and David Semel ("House").

Santiago Alvarez as Isaac Mendez
Tawny Cypress as Simone Deveraux
Greg Grunberg as Matt Parkman
Ali Larter as Niki Sanders
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura
Adrian Pasdar as Nathan Petrelli
Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennet
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh
Leonard Roberts as D.L. Hawkins
Milo Ventimiglia as Peter Petrelli
Search Listings by Keyword

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Muse said...

I think you are spoiled.

Your team was great, and you still have some great players. But, like you mentioned, you have some gaping holes and your coaching staff has greatly changed since you last won a superbowl.

So I think you have a bit of work ahead of your team - you need to figure out how to mend those holes with your current talent and mesh into a new team while learning to work with the strategies of the new coordinators & coaches. And Bill needs to be flexible and learn new plays and strategies because he's not going to win the same ways he did in the past.

You just need to admit that it's going to be a struggle this year. You're not terrible, you're just not the best either.

I have to acknowledge to do the same thing. We lost some really key players, and while Ben is good, he's not a stellar QB. We focus too heavily on a run game that we can't do without the Bus and our O can't block or protect as well as they should. And while our D is very good, they aren't working well together right now and Joey Porter needs to have his mouth sewn shut... But that's the difference between us, I can say, well, it's going to be a rough year and scale my expectations back. It sucks, but that's life. And at least it's not as bad as the dark Malone years...

And I admire Tom for not being greedy.

9:36 AM  
Blogger MattySox said...

Peter, Thanks for all the info...apparently the irony of my statement escaped you, as you must not have watched the Pats game last night and been inundated with about 10,000,000 commercials, plugs and promos for those two shows...Thanks to NBC, I'm WELL aware of when these shows air, and thanks to you, I'm well aware of what to expect, should I ever have another Monday night off and choose to spend it watching these shows instead of Monday Night Football.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Michael Leggett said...

My take on Jets Fans, is up Now:

They're just Yankees Fans on break from Baseball, but not their nasty ways:

F--- 'em all.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Peter N said...

And I did miss your sarcasm.....but at least I hope the info was helpful...last night's 60 was great!!!
And tonight's Papi night, and tomorrow's Pesky glee. Unforgettable monents to come. Stay well.

8:57 AM  

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