I don’t know if it’s because head coach Bill Belichick is widely perceived as a jerk, or if it’s because men are jealous of Tom Brady (why wouldn’t he date supermodels? Wouldn’t you if you were him?), or if it’s because of lingering hatred for Randy Moss, or if it’s because there are a lot of closet Mercury Morris fans out there, but I couldn’t find too many people who wanted New England to beat the Giants on Saturday night to become the first team in NFL history to go 16-0.
I wanted them to win. I’m glad they did. I’m even happier that both the Patriots and the Giants played an intense, highly competitive, and highly entertaining game when neither team needed the victory.
Well, you get the sense that Belichick would play Brady and Moss for four quarters if the Patriots were playing in a charity game against the ladies of The View. But give credit to Giants coach Tom Coughlin for giving it everything his team had to stop the Patriots from making history.
Everything the Giants had wasn’t enough of course. Nor is everything any other team has, which is why this NFL postseason is shaping up to be one of the least compelling in recent memory. Everyone knows the routine: The Pats and Colts will play in the AFC Championship Game, which everyone will refer to as “the real Super Bowl.” Then the Pats will whip the Cowboys in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls since the 49ers schooled the Broncos in Super Bowl 24 to the tune of 55-10. (Yeah, I know, you’re saying, “what about the Packers?” Well, I’m not picking them to beat the Cowboys again after what happened last month.)
But getting back to why I wanted the Pats to win Saturday: No one else had gone 16-0 before. It’s that simple. (Yeah, I know, the ’72 Dolphins went undefeated too. This is different. This is four more regular season games in a parity era. Besides, I was only a year old when Csonka and Griese went unbeaten. Suffice it to say that it didn’t make much of an impact on me.)
Isn’t that one of the things we look for in sports? Something has hasn’t happened yet? For the same reason that I cursed Brian Billick for his moronic play calls that denied the Dolphins the opportunity to become the first team to go 0-16 in a NFL season, I applauded every Brady to Moss bomb and every Brady to Welker slant. Because I wanted to witness something that not only hadn’t ever happened, but something that likely won’t ever happen again. Hey, it’s tough enough to get to 10 wins in the NFL (just ask Jon Kitna), but 16-0? Amazing.
So, even as I recognize that they have more work to do — 16-0 won’t mean so much if it doesn’t end in 19-0, which it will — I want to congratulate the Patriots on their tremendous run.
Need some convincing to get over to the Patriots camp? How about this: Bill Belichick is a big Bon Jovi fan. Don’t tell me you don’t have “Bad Medicine” on your iPod. Or this: Linebacker Roosevelt Colvin attended the same high school as David Letterman (no, not at the same time: linebackers don’t play into their sixties). Wait, this will make it easy: Every time Randy Moss catches a pass (and he catches a lot of them), Minnesota Viking fans everywhere pop blood vessels in their eyes in anger over the fact that their team let him leave town. That’s gotta be a good enough reason to appreciate the Patriots, isn’t it?