Sometimes in life, we take some things for granted. It is very easy to do with things that we just expect to be there.
When you turn on the faucet for your shower in the morning, you expect the water to be refreshing and hot. When you go outside and you take a deep breath in the fresh summertime air, you expect there to be oxygen there for you to breathe. When you think of the New England Patriots in the last decade or so, you expect excellence and top shelf teamwork and effort.
As New England fans, we were so used to living in strife and misery during the days when Sullivan Stadium was empty. Where the parking lots were riddled with rocks and clouds of brown dust and dirt from the unpaved lots. We were used to the misery of our favorite team losing decisively to the powerhouse Bears and the speedy Desmond Howard and the Green Bay Packers. We, as fans, were used to walking in to the local sports place, with our Grogan shirt donned with a "Patty the Patriot" logo on our shoulder and getting snickered and laughed at..
|Chicago Bears' Dan Hampton (99) and Otis Wilson sack New England Patriots' quarterback Steve Grogan during Super Bowl XX, Jan. 27, 1986, in New Orleans. The Bears sacked the Patriots seven times as the Bears won, 46-10. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)|
Well times have changed so very much. The Patriots took a definite upswing after the Bill Parcells era when Robert Kraft purchased the team and hired Bill Belichick as the head coach. They had a little bit of a swagger. They seemed as though they felt disrespected and took it out on their opponents.
Back in the day, the Patriots never had luck on their side. Let's take a look at some of the old scenarios that occurred:
Draft picks ending up being busts. Robert Edwards breaking his leg at a flag football game after an outstanding season (what a shame). Irving Fryar cutting his hand just before the Super Bowl in 1986 depleting the Patriots of their young, fast receiver for the game. The time the team threatened to move to Connecticut and departing the friendly confines of Sullivan stadium and the quaint city of Foxborough, MA. The list could go on and go on.
Then, as most Patriots fans know, one fateful day the Jets laid out Drew Bledsoe on the sidelines and broke blood vessels in the quarterback's chest. It was the day backup quarterback Tom Brady took over as starter. Patriots fans have never looked back since.
All of a sudden, when things would normally go wrong for the Patriots, things finally started go right for Foxborough's homeboys. For example, look at one of the most famous calls that finally went the Patriots way : the "tuck rule." If you are a Patriots you know what this is, so I don't have to go into details.
This brings us to today.
WR Randy Moss, acquired via a draft day trade
The Patriots and fans are used to winning. Even when the team is possibly in turmoil, chaos and mayhem, they have found a way to win. New England has won three world championships and the flutter of the word DYNASTY has been floating around the media outlets.
With all of the off-season pickups made by the Patriots, Vegas oddsmakers, media outlets and NFL experts have listed them as favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Is this way too premature? Are people all around the country putting too much stock in an aging Randy Moss? Are the Patriots no longer the "disrespected" team of old?
I'm a pessimistic fan at heart. I've lived through 20 years of debauchery with the Celtics, the plight of the black and gold and their own drought and up until 2004 when the Red Sox finally pulled their win in the series out. Most of my life has been a miserable sports mess.
Now look, it is easy to take a look at the acquisitions and get excited at the possibilities. New linebacker needed check. Backup running back to Maroney check. With the loss of Graham they needed a replacement, good blocking TE check. They seem to be making the correct moves right?
With a brutal schedule coming up this year, the Patriots need to take it like they always do ... Day by day and game by game. They cannot waiver on this.
I have heard the rumblings of 14-2 and 15-1. Let's be realistic here.
I think that the overconfidence and cockiness scare me a little as I am naturally a "glass is half empty" type of guy. We as fans also need to do the same thing that Bill Belichick does with his players. Lets take this one day at a time and one game at a time.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves as fans. Look what happened to Carolina and San Diego last year, they assumed that they would have the season wrapped up but instead they were playing golf during the SuperBowl.
I am as excited as any fan out there of the possibilities and the prospects we have for the future of the Patriots but I hint on the side of caution to keep your eyes open and be ready for anything.
One thing rings true though... It is going to be a fun and exciting season.
Shane is a lifelong Patriots fan who grew up in Worcester, MA. He showed his Patriots spirit by representing his home team all over the world while in the military. A resident of Bangor, ME remains a diehard fan of the team and regularly makes the 500 mile round trip trek to watch them whenever he can.