Prior to the year 2000, fans in New England were trained to complain about their mediocre local sports teams for so many years to make themselves feel better about their ordinary mundane lives, that when greatness arrives, they don't know how to appreciate what they are witnessing.
How else can you explain the Patriots fans booing one of the greatest offenses in NFL history? This actually happened following a three-and-out in the fourth quarter with the Pats winning convincingly, 28-7, against the worst team in the league, the Miami Dolphins. Hello! The Pats are six points away from breaking the 1998 Minnesota Vikings mark for most points scored in a season.
Fans had the right to some irritability in the second half, but how angry can you be with a four touchdown lead? Pats quarterback Tom Brady did not play well in the second half. He had only three completions on 15 attempts for 41 yards. At least on two occasions he forced deep passes to Randy Moss into triple coverage and he also threw two interceptions and was sacked, which resulted in a lost fumble.
But so what! With Sunday's game quite in hand, the second half against the Dolphins turned into a backyard sandlot game with Brady airing out the ball to Moss. One fan was so disgusted and screamed "why don't they run the ball! They are getting what they deserve. This is terrible!"
Bady was terrible? He only tied Dan Marino for the second most touchdown passes (48) by a quarterback in a season with still one game to go. What he "deserves" is an MVP award. This was a meaningless game. God forbid they air it out and have a little fun on the field.
When Moss was asked if it was wise of the offense to keep taking shots downfield when he's in double and sometimes triple coverage, he said "I mean, hell, I'm Randy Moss. What do you expect?" Moss was having some fun with the media as a grin, from ear-to-ear, spread across his face to a chorus of laughter as the media surrounded him in the room.
Brady was a little more subdued, but said he was trying to work the ball to Moss "Part of the plan was to try to get him up running through the middle of the field," he said. "He's pretty dangerous when he does it. We'll just have to see the film, maybe there were other guys [open] but sometimes you see him run there and just want to lay it up there for him."
With this unique time in New England sports history, fans have been spoiled. Fans no longer believe in curses, with two World Series victories from the Red Sox. The Boston Celtics, during one off-season, have gone from the worst team in the NBA to a championship contender and currently own the best record in the NBA. Winning and perfection is now expected in these parts and anything short of that is just not good enough for fans.
For some reason, the New England fan-base just can't enjoy what's happening. They are so used to worrying about a sky that hasn't fallen yet, that the puffy white clouds over their heads are just not puffy and heavenly enough. They don't win close games anymore, they almost lose games. My God! What a tragedy!
Maybe fans should just enjoy the Patriots run to perfect instead of worrying about how Laurence Maroney is running, by the way, he's averaging 4.8 yards per carry, or that Brady is focusing on throwing to Moss too much. Never mind that Wes Welker tied a team record for most receptions in a season with 101 (Troy Brown had 101 in 2002). Maybe Brady is throwing too much to Welker instead.
Another fan screamed "they better not play like this in the playoffs!" If you think Tom Brady will play like this in a meaningful playoff game, let me stress the word "meaning," you haven't been paying attention to Brady the last seven seasons.
Expect Brady to go back to finding the open receiver when Moss is triple covered and the offense will continue to score at will. They are just too good. Don't worry.
And if you decide to worry about the Patriots defense, don't! They've only allowed 16 points per game, tied for best in the league.
Sunday's game against the Giants is not completely meaningless. Sure there are individual records on the line along with 16-0. The touchdown passing record for Brady and Moss had two more touchdown catches against Miami, giving him 21 for the season and pulling him within one of Jerry Rice's NFL-record of 22 set in 1987. But this should not be a game to stress over or to worry about for Patriots fans. The playoffs for New England are still two games away. The Giants game should be simply enjoyed for what it is, a regular season exhibition game.
Besides, the Patriots are well aware how poorly they played in the second half against Miami. Receiver Wes Welker after the game said "Yeah, all of a sudden we didn't play better in the second half. We need to be a second half-type team and make sure we're putting things together."
So please relax Patriots fans. What ever happens on Saturday won't matter in Arizona in February. That's when it all really matters.