Thursday, January 25, 2007

Stepping out of character

Ok, I know this is a baseball blog. I set it up. I know. And this post is about football, sure, but it is inextricably linked to baseball. I promise.

It won't be hard to follow, since I have neither the wherewithal nor attention span to make a J Leo-sized post. I just don't have it in me.

Now, I know I get no sympathy for liking the Pats. I don't. The Patriots, in an ironic and horrifying twist of fate, are the Yankees of football. No one but Patriots fans ever want them to win. We find Belichick's eccentricity to be a sure sign of genius, and his cut-off, ratty-ass sweatshirt the calling card of a mind that is on another ethereal plane. We worship the ground Tom Brady graces with his Adonis-like form, and find owner Bob Kraft repulsive but a born winner who accepts nothing less than perfection.

Compare these to Joe Torre (who, like Belichick, has been scrutinized for having a far superior team and has been accused of not being able to win elsewhere (look what happened to B in Cleveland)), Derek Jeter, and The Boss (Steinbrenner, not Springsteen). The Colts are the Red Sox - the lovable little scamps from the hick town who can just never quite pull off the upset.

But, like the Yankees, the Patriots have gotten old. They have not been able to replace "character guys with character guys," to steal a line from the Sports Guy. Without Rodney Harrison, the secondary couldn't help stop the run even if Rhodes and Addai had been running off to marry their moms. Backup linebacker Larry Alexander gave it his best, but they looked mushy in the middle. Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney gave it their best for a couple of Gators (still bitter about the Buckeyes getting raped), but Deion Branch and David Givens each had nearly what they combined for in the regular season.

True, they have up and comers - Lawrence Maroney looks like the back for the future, Tom will be around and dominant (if he gets his head out of his ass) for six or seven more years, Assante Samuel tied for the league lead in picks this year, and Vince Wilfork - well, dude's bigger than a Yugo.

What it comes down to, I guess, is that in baseball we're lucky to have several chances to prove ourselves. I feel like the Pats could have beaten the Colts in a best of five, or even best of three, series, but they just got the best of them that one game. In football, there are no down-three-games-to-none miracle comebacks, and that makes me sad.

What it comes down to, I guess, is that when I walked out of the bar on Sunday, my first thought was, "Hell, it's only like a month before Dice K shows up in Fort Myers for training camp, right? Life ain't so bad."

Now, I just have to stop thinking of myself as a Yankees fan.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... after I conceded that the Pats were NOT quite the Yankees of football, you say they are. I think they're much less loathsome because they do it with a tight budget, not spending wildly. In fact, they're under the cap and could have spended more to get good receivers (or now, to keep Samuel). The Boss would never let something like that happen. He spent like crazy... and poorly. Pioli and Belichick spent very conservatively. That count for something, doesn't it?

Alos, the Yankees have a long legacy and have been good in previous decades. The Pats never had long-term success until recently. SO buck up, Drew. they're nto teh Yankees yet. And teh Colts aren't so lovable, not when Manning is on teh TV every five seconds. We're just a little sick of those Pats.

Drew said...

Yea, I know. You're right. But when I got no love from anyone at the bars down here, it made me feel a little like one of those asshole Yankee fans who try to justify liking those fuckers for some unknown reason.

At least we can all agree on Manning being a twerp who can sod off.

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