Monday, February 20, 2017

These Championships are Getting Expensive

I know. Poor spoiled New England fan. Your teams win too many championships. Boo hoo.

And, that's probably the proper reaction.

But, that doesn't mean that there really is something to think about. After all, if you're a collector, your team winning a championship means you'll be spending money. Even if you're like me and tend to shy away from big ticket items. I tend to go for mass quantities of cheaper items. Newspapers. Magazines. Soda cans and bottles. Which is why for this most recent Super Bowl win, I think I'm about done. I finally tracked down a commemorative Pepsi can. I could add that to the two Sports Illustrated magazines, program, and three newspapers. I love the newspapers and magazines especially since they really capture the moment. I like being able to put the championships into context like that. More than a t-shirt or autographed football can.

Plus, I've learned from all the practice New England fans have had. I tend to stay away from t-shirts now. For one thing, there's expensive. Plus, I amassed quite a few of them before I pulled myself back in. So, adding more is just excessive at this point. Besides, shirts calling out AFC champs, or even FOUR TIME CHAMPS just seem outdated now. So I make a real effort to avoid that sort of stuff. Unless, you know, it's cheap.

I've also learned how to find the things I do collect. I know which stores are open first thing in the morning that have a newspaper. And, which ones might have an early edition with a different headline. (Really mad I missed any "Falcons win" editions this year.) I know which stores get the magazines, and which have the cheapest prices. Its a skill. I don't want to miss anything just because I didn't know where to find it?

From, here I'll eventually add a picture to hang on the wall at some point. But, that's all that's left of my "regular" purchases. (Still love that I have "regular" purchases after my team wins a championship.) And, you never know what cool new thing will be out there that I've never thought of. But, hopefully I'll be able to keep the budget where it needs to be. Because, as I said, this can get expensive.

Which items are on your "must buy" championship collectible list?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Adding to the Championship Grid

After the last Patriots Super Bowl title, I realized that there were then nine champions for Boston professional sports in this century. If you had images of those nine titles, you could lay them out in a nice 3x3 grid. That would make for a pretty cool wall display.

But, they shouldn't be just any images. Sure, images of the first pitch and kickoff and tip off and puck drop of the championships would be neat, but pretty boring. And, not exactly important.

I felt that the grid should be made up of the seminal moment from each of the title runs. Either the most satisfying, or memorable moment of each title. Which images did I think should go into a grid?

2002 Patriots: Game winning field goal.
2004 Patriots: Game winning field goal.
2004 Red Sox: Foulke underhanding to Mientkiewicz.
2005 Patriots: Deion Branch catch.
2007 Red Sox: Papelbon jumping on Varitek
2008 Celtics: The new big three in action
2011 Bruins: Tim Thomas making a save
2013 Red Sox: The three players making the "safe" sign at home plate.
2014 Patriots: Malcolm Butler pick.

Those were the nine I would pick. Obviously, nothing is set in stone. Still wonder if a Victorino grand slam pic is better for 2013 Sox...but that wasn't in the World Series. Should that matter?

Anyway, we now have another one to add. I guess that means it can't be a 3x3 grid anymore. Have to go 5x2 or something. But, which image would you pick from Super Bowl LI? Some candidates jump to mind. Obviously the Edelman catch jumps to mind. What about James White driving to the end zone with the winning score? How about just about any picture of Tom Brady? (Well, ok, not the one of him diving to try and stop the interception return.) For me? As much as the Elelman pic would be a great one, and one that I definately want an autographed version of, I think the White score does it for me. Nothing means as much as the first ever overtime game-winning score. Never been a moment like that before.

Which one would you chose?

Which ten?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

That is why We're Cocky

I'm still not sure I've come down yet. Sunday night was so over the top of anything I was expecting, I've been all over the place since then. What was supposed to be a cake walk became a thriller. It hasn't really had a chance to sit it. I've just been going through the motions. Watch the post game ceremony. Get out early to buy a newspaper. Two newspapers. A program. Watch video clips online all night.

But it's still not real.

Even though you always knew there was a chance, coming back from down 28-3 just requires such a perfect execution it's hard to really be comfortable with it.

Because, of course the Patriots were always potentially able to come back. I mean, really crazy territory, didn't they score three touchdowns in like three plays in the buttfumble game? It went something like pick-6, fumbled kick off returned, buttfumble return. Right? And, they came back against SF or Denver, or maybe both, where they just dominated the game for a chunk of time. Like the had a second gear in reserve. Scored three or four touchdowns by simply outplaying the other team.

Add to that the fact that when you really looked at it, Atlanta hadn't dominated the way the score would suggest. The pick-6 was skewing things. It wasn't completely far-fetched to think they could shut them down for a bit.

So, it was always a possibility. The clock just started to be more of an enemy than we might have liked. You started to do the math in your head. How many possessions are there time for? That's where the strip sack was huge. It made the math work again. All they had to do was do it.

So, that's why New England fans are cocky. It's not some sort of "In Bill We Trust" brainwashing. It's not some ego thrusting itself on everyone. We assume that the Patriots are going to pull it out, because they so often pull it out. It's like assuming that David Ortiz will come through in the clutch. Of course he will...he always does. Of course Brady will bring them back. He brought them back from 25 points down in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The last time, he brought them back from down ten points in the fourth quarter to win the Super Bowl. That was after he brought them back from down 14 the AFC Divisional game.

So, the next time the Patriots are trailing, why would we worry?  There is apparently, nothing Brady can't do. 

It's not cockiness when you're right.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Spoiled Patriots Fans

So the other day I was scrolling through the sale section of the Patriots Pro Shop, as I'm sure we all do from time to time. I noticed that they had a Chandler Jones jersey discounted heavily. Not exactly surprising. But, the following collection of throughts went through my head.

"Wow. That's cheap."
"He was a good player."
"He won a championship with the Patriots, so he'd be nice to have."

Yeah, I know. Not exactly revolutionary. You probably didn't need that look deep inside my soul there. 

But, it was that last thought that strikes me. I find myself limiting my Patriots fandom to Championship winners. Case in point? I saw a really cheap John Hannah autograph on the Bay recently, and was reluctant to make a bid because he didn't even win a championship. The second greatest Patriot of all time, and I'm passing because he doesn't have a ring.

How spoiled have I become?

Sure, I know that title winners are an exclusive club, even in Boston. I know they should be revered as something special. It's just odd that I completely discount non-winners. 

Odd, or maybe a little sad.

My wheelhouse as a Patriots fan was the Drew Bledsoe era. I still say he should have started the Super Bowl over Brady. I also will always wonder how he would have done if he spent his entire career under Belichick. But, when it comes to collecting Bledsoe memorabilia, I actually find myself making excuses for it. "It's ok to buy that Bledsoe helmet, he does have the one ring."

Now, some of that is a self-imposed filtering system. I know there has to be limits to things. Just like long ago I made a decision to only collect Topps cards simply because I knew I needed to trim the collection somehow. It's not that the other sets weren't worth collecting. But I needed some self control, so eliminating half the options out there was helpful. In the same way, it's a bit of self-control to eliminate players without a ring from my collection. I know Wes Welker was a great player. But, I need limits somewhere.


Do you find yourself having a "Championship Bias"?

Monday, December 5, 2016


Yesterday, Tom Brady did something pretty incredible. He won his 201st game as an NFL starting quarterback. It's an incredible accomplishment. The most amazing part is that he's not done yet. Another half dozen or so this year isn't out of the question. And from there, he can really stretch this thing out.

Which really makes me wonder. Why isn't he considered, hands down, the best quarterback ever? Oh sure, most everyone puts him in the conversation. And, lots of people even have him in that spot. But, why is it even a question. 

I've asked myself the question a lot. Why isn't he Derek Jeter?

I mean, I'm not saying that wins are the ultimate stat. I'm not saying that picking the best of all time is as simple as turning to one stat, and seeing who's the highest. I'm also not sure that "wins" mean very much when they're assigned to an individual in a team sport. But, I do know one thing. They mean a lot more when they're assigned to an NFL quarterback than when assigned to an MLB shortstop. But, nobody had any problem giving them to Jeter. Remember the big debates? Yankees fans admitted that ARod or Nomar had better stats. But, Jeter had the rings. He knew how to win!

Shouldn't Brady get the same consideration?

But, there's more. Brady actually has the personal stats too! He's won MVP awards. He's set passing records. He's led the league in just about any statistical category you can think of. You could make a case that he's the best ever based on stats alone. Jeter could never come close to that!

So, here you have Jeter, who many people want to elevate to greatness based entirely on team win totals. On the other hand, you have Brady who has those team wins, but actually adds in elite personal stats, and you still have people wavering. "Well, Manning has a lot of stats." "Well Montana has lots of rings too." They're able to elevate with just half of Brady's argument. How is that even possible?

What's keeping Brady back? Because he's good looking? So was Jeter, apparently. Because his team wins too much? The Yankees did that. Because the his team is despised? The Yankees? Hello!

So, why isn't this easier? Time and time again we award greatness based on team victories. We award greatness based on postseason performances. We award greatness on statistical excellence. We award greatness to great guys.

With all of those reasons rolled into one, why isn't Brady elevated to a level never seen before?

Especially after win number 201.

Monday, November 14, 2016

That Last Play

Practically before the ball hit the ground, it started on twitter.

Pass Interference! Holding! Something! Anything! Everything! Gotta throw a flag there! Are you kidding me!?!?!?!

Of course, that was occasionally interrupted by: Good non call. Maybe a PI on Gronk.

I'll be the first one to admit that I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. I swear it's a rule installed purely to allow the officials to just decide for themselves who will win the game. It's a coin flip. Which is why so many team have the Heave and Hope as a regular play in their book. But, that's not the point.

As usual, those statements were eventually replaced with: It doesn't matter...first and goal from the goal line, you gotta score there. Can't blame the refs and look for a flag.

To which I always ask, why the heck not?

You hear it every time there's a controversial play in a sporting event. Any game. Any sport. If the call goes against you, you don't complain. You can't whine about the officiating. You just have to make plays. Which always makes me ask, "how come the Seahawks didn't have to 'make the plays'?"

Because, sure. If you have the ball at the one yard line, and can't get the ball in the end zone with four tries, that's pretty pathetic. Only, though, if you get four fair tries. Take this game in particular. First down, they only kinda sort try to score. It makes sense to drain the clock a bit. After all, you have three tries left. Then there's a stuffed run. And a fumbled sneak attempt. All leading to the fade to Gronk. It doesn't matter which one of the three works, as long as one of them does.  But, the Patriots were robbed of that chance. Why is that their problem?

The next response is usually something like: "If they hadn't sucked all game, they wouldn't have been in that position."

Again, true...sort of. Because, apparently they sucked just at the same level as the Seahawks (minus the PI non-call). So, why did the Patriots deserve to lose, but not Seattle? Sure, the Patriots turned the ball over. But, the Seahawks fumbled too. The ref's just chose not to call it a fumble when they did. Why is that on the Patriots?

Why are the Patriots expected to convert their third down, when the Seahawks are allowed to do it while committing the most obvious hold in history?

If the final answer is supposed to be "Don't complain...make plays," how do you make the plays? Don't you make plays by forcing a fumble? Don't you make plays by going after the quarterback on third down? Don't you make plays by setting up the perfect match-up in the end zone? What happens when those "plays" aren't allowed to be made? What then?

And why doesn't Seattle have to make their plays?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It’s Good to be Gronk, by Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski with Jason Rosenhaus

I don’t need to tell you who Rob Gronkowski is, do I? He’s the best tight end the NFL has ever seen, and has been rewriting the record books since his first play in New England. Of course, you also know that there’s more to Gronk than his play on the field. There
are his antics off the field, and the injuries that keep taking him away from the field. All of these aspects of Gronkowsk’s life are covered in this book, from childhood to the beginning of his career. All the things that made Gronk who he is, and why that’s just so good.

Yes. Rob Gronkowski wrote a book. Yes. It reads exactly how you think a book written by Rob Gronkowski reads. So, if you’re looking for Hemmingway or Shakespeare, this isn’t the book for you. But, if you’re looking for some fluff to read after finishing your Hemmingway or Shakespeare, this might be the perfect book for you. Because, the book does do a great job of giving you some football insight. I admit I didn’t know much about the history of Gronk. I always wondered why, with the way he dominates the NFL, he wasn’t a legend coming out of college. Now I know. He goes through his high school career, and how it made him the player he is today. He talks about his college days, and how it made him a NFL player. It talks about his career in New England. Both the ups and downs. It goes into great detail about what makes Gronk tick. Of course, it goes into the most detail when he’s talking about parties. I’m guessing the amount of space in the book devoted to an NFL season is about equal to the about devoted to one party in college. But, that’s what makes Gronk Gronk. It’s also what makes this a great book for any Patriots fan. If you want to read about what it’s like to be a rookie in the same training camp as Tom Brady, that’s in the book. If you want to know how to build a slip and slide in your house for scantily clad girls, that’s in there too. Truly something for everyone.

Rating: 3 quarters

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