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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

After The Fall

Just when you think Pats have righted the ship...bam!...along comes one of those games where they look incapable of beating anyone, not just the particular opponent on the field. 7 points against Tennessee? A defense that got lit up by the alleged offenses of the Redskins, the Bengals, and the Giants? They couldn't run, they couldn't tackle, and they turned the ball over - with the exception of one drive (and even one that was aided by penalties) they looked like an expansion team. And again they were coached (particularly in the waning minutes of the first half) like Bill Belichick had a deal with the devil that had come due.

Or perhaps it was just the Monday Night Jinx has rearing its ugly head again - I guess the Steeler win in Week 1, now sadly a distant memory, wasn't enough to exorcise that demon. A Patriots fan always prays to the scheduling gods to keep them away from Monday night, which isn't going to happen to a team that won the Super Bowl. (I don't have actual data on their all-time MNF record, but it has to be among the worst in the NFL. Even in their good years they never seem to win on Monday night.)

There is no wild card option now. There are too many teams they've already lost to in the hunt, and the one they haven't played (Indianapolis) has better a conference record. Either they win out (beating the Jets and Dolphins at home) and grab the East crown or this is the second year in four that neither Super Bowl team even gets to the playoffs (since the Rams are out).

Oh, well, either way...no matter how bad the Patriots end up this season, that 2002 Super Bowl flag is never coming down. This is especially sweet considering how many people up north abandoned the team in troubled times and jumped on one bandwagon or another. (I'm thinking of one team in particular.) Some of them are still waiting for their loyalty shifts to bear fruit, while those who stuck with them have something to crow about. Heh.

What makes things more complicated is that one of my former neighbors in college is the quarterback for the team I'm supposed to despise. You would think that going to an Ivy League school (and a law school for a university that doesn't even have a football team) would prevent this sort of thing from happening.


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