Monday, September 18, 2017

Is That More Like It?

It's amazing how things can change. Before the season opener, many fans (not just me) were actually hinting that this patriots team might just flirt with 19-0. Even after losing Edelman, they were just too loaded.

Then they went out and laid an egg.

My goodness, everyone did a 180. This team was overrated! We ignored their flaws! They're just not good anymore!

Now, it's possible that the team was overrated. After all, hard to underrate a team when you're predicting it to go 19-0. But, in theory, the loss to the Chiefs should have been shocking. It's the sort of thing that happens. Teams sometime just don'r match up well, especially early in the season. There's a reason Patriots teams seem to get better as the season goes on. Because they do. As the team gels and everyone learns their job, it's easier for them to do their job. So, Kansas City was the right team at the right time. At least from their perspective. 

But, give the Patriots coaching staff that much game film to work with, and they came up with some new plans. New ways to make their limited personnel work for them.

Then they went out and crushed the Saints.

So, which is the real Patriots? Of course, they both are. The Pats have excelled lately at changing their entire approach depending on the game. One week they'll air it out for 500 yards. The next, run the ball almost exclusively. It's what's so fascinating about this dynasty. You never know what you're going to see.

Other than lots of wins.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

We're On To 2017

It wasn't quite long enough, was it? I know I could have used some more time to bask in the glow of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. I could have watched those highlights a few more times. Heck, Do Your Job 2 just came out. I've only seen it once!

But, it had to happen. Tonight the patriots start the defense of their latest title. And, once again, they seem to be on the way to another one.

Spoiled brats.

Because, just how good is this team going to be? Pretty damn good. Maybe not quite as good as they were a couple weeks ago, but plenty good. I can't imagine picking against them any week they play. They took the team that won the Super Bowl, added Gronk, swapped Edelman for Cooks, and added a star cornerback. Yup. That sounds pretty good to me.

I remember prior to the 2007 season, the EEIdiots were doing their win predictions. Of course, it was hard to find a game they were going to lose. They finally decided that the team would lose a game or two because a team always loses a game or two. They didn't know which one, but there would be one, and it would be a shock when it happens. Which is, of course, exactly how it played out. 

That's where I am this year. They'll probably lose a couple games. Maybe their last game after wrapping up home field. Maybe Atlanta will catch them napping in their revenge game. Maybe there will be a few drops in some rainy game. Whatever it it, we'll be surprised when it happens. But, it won't happen a lot.

In fact, I say twice. Which puts them at 14-2 with smooth sailing through the AFC playoffs.

What do you think?

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.

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