Objective Patriots fans enjoy spoils of defeat

Published: 1/5/2020 1:05:15 AM
Modified: 1/5/2020 1:04:12 AM
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Huge Patriots fans who are also objective and realistic are enjoying the spoils of defeat after New England’s 20-13 season-ending loss to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in the wild card round of the AFC playoffs.
 
Just as they have always predicted.
 
“This is a game where we came up a little bit short,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “It’s always disappointing to end like this.”
 
Not ever disappointed, however, would be the objective fans and commentators who always know when these things are going happen. As huge Patriots fans, they of course are happy to be wrong when the Patriots win championships. Unlike the faithful honks, bobos, fanboys and footie-pajama-wearing loons, however, huge but objective fans can smile now, satisfied in the knowledge that they long since gave up on high expectations and are therefore incapable of suffering disappointment.
 
The rational, dignified zealots who monitor Belichick’s arrogance and Josh McDaniels’ senseless play-calling knew as soon as the team cut Antonio Brown that the season was over. They also knew when David Andrews and James Develin got hurt. They knew when Rob Gronkowski retired and the team signed antique tight end Benjamin Watson to replace him. They knew when the Patriots overpaid for Mohamed Sanu instead of overpaying for Emmanuel Sanders. They especially knew when Belichick drafted a wide receiver in the first round.
 
They realized it as soon as Belichick traded Chandler Jones to the Cardinals three years ago. And it first dawned on them when Bill the GM cut Lawyer Milloy in 2003: Someday, those regretful moves would end with an early playoff exit. Well, after eight consecutive trips to the AFC Championship and four Super Bowl appearances in five years, that day is here. Right on schedule.
 
Certainly, one who isn’t objective might point out that the Patriots are coming off three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, a feat unmatched in the salary-cap era. Clowns compromised to such a degree would probably argue that predicting New England’s failure to reach four consecutive Super Bowls in a one-game playoff format with a salary system designed to deter dynasties might not be such an impressive prediction. But tonight, it is those irrational devotees who weep as the objective fans celebrate their own prowess at objectively assessing football.
 
Some might think that the constant naysayers who predict doom at every turn are perhaps more emotional and homerish than fans who are simply hoping to enjoy as much football as possible. After all, how could ceaseless complaining, anxiety and scorn possibly be an objective, sane approach to a game that was intended to serve as a pleasant distraction from the ceaseless stream of irritants life reguarly shoves in our faces? But anyone who asks that is missing the point.
 
The point is that Tom Brady does not have a contract for 2020. Bill the Coach has not officially committed. Bill the GM almost certainly will. So many key players are free agents. Age, Arrogance, Ignorance and Comeuppance. The Four Horsemen of the Patspocalypse are riding into Foxboro. It’s, “The Last Night of the Patriots’ Dynasty.™”
 
“I think we’re all running out of time and chances, every year that goes by” Brady said after the game. Indeed, it’s starting to appear that the Patriots may have to settle for six championships in a 19-year stretch. And that “feat” remains tainted by the fact that one other franchise achieved the same thing over a span of 34 seasons.
 
Adorably misguided fans hope Brady will come back for at least one more season so he can return to form and lead the Pats to another title. Objective fans would also like for Brady to return so they can once again shout, “That’s on Brady!” when he throws an interception, as is their custom. Otherwise, his final pass against Tennessee will have been their last opportunity to gleefully critique an accomplished professional through their television screens.
 
If that were to pass it would be unfortunate, but they are not holding their breaths.
 
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.


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