Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't been more diligent about posting new material lately. What do you want from me? I've been more than a little disappointed by the recent run of success for the Boston teams that I hate. And the more I post to complain about them, the better they seem to do. It's just some sort of terrible nightmare, although admittedly of very minor proportions.

I have decided to take a new tack in dealing with the Celtics. Even though Ainge's panic moves seem, for the moment, to have worked out as well as could be expected, my distaste for the current regime still lingers from the Antoine situation. I also have serious qualms about jumping on a bandwagon, so I'm not rooting for the Cs. I have, after about 14 seconds of intense thought on the matter, decided to root against the Celtics a little less aggressively than I've rooted against the Pats, the Sox and BC.

Either way, it should be win win for me. If I am somehow bringing good karma to the Red Sox, Patriots and other teams/causes I root against, then maybe by taking a low key approach I might somehow reverse that trend. And if the Cs should stay healthy and stay selfless long enough to go deep into the playoffs, at least I won't have a seven month body of work to show how short-sighted and wrong I can be at my worst.

And so it appears that the Patriots are on the verge of another blowout victory. At this point, I have given up on watching the game. It is now to the point of turning my stomach to see them do what they're doing. Running up the score is not tremendously cool to begin with, but to go for it on fourth down inside the ten yard line when you're up by four touchdowns is just a bit too excessive.

I know I quote and refer to Jimmy Johnson's maxim that one ought to get better players if one has a problem with being blown out by one's opponents. And in the main I agree with the saying. The rest of the NFL teams had their chances to acquire the players who now make up this team. They also had their chances to get better players than the ones who can't stand up to the Patriots. So it's their fault that the Pats kick their asses, and kick them hard week in and week out as though they were General Sherman marching through Georgia.

But it's gone on long enough. Bill Belichick, and to a lesser extent his players, are emulating two of the more admired figures in the pantheon of dbags - the petulant child and the bully. Perhaps the NFL overreacted in their sanctions following the scandal in the Meadowlands. Maybe every single other owner, player, front office functionary and concession stand worker in the NFL failed miserably to do their moral duty and come to Bill Belichick's defense. After all, the man is the heart and soul not only of the NFL but of the American Republic as a whole. Just ask him, and if he's not too vexed by the weight of the world on his shoulders, he'll tell you.

Maybe it will be a sublime comeuppance should the Patriots march to 19-0 and net a top three pick in the upcoming NFL draft thanks to the 49ers finding new and different ways to get worse from week to week. Is that really the object of the exercise, or should it be? For five years now, I've had to sit and listen to every talking head even peripherally associated with the industry that is American professional football tell the world that the New England Patriots are the model for the way the game ought to be played. For five years we were told that the Patriots won with class and dignity, with an overall team concept and without the trappings of ego that seem to turn off so many fans.

Now, for the sake of avenging a slight in the form of an official overreaction to what was a moderately dirty deed, the Patriots have essentially taken that notion out back and put a bullet in its brain. There was nothing classy, dignified or admirable about the manner in which the Patriots defeated the Bills. Even worse, it's unsound business, or it will be after a certain point. I am a huge football fan, and I'm not watching the only football game on the air at the moment because it's not that entertaining to see a team be destroyed for 60 minutes of football.

I'm also tired of the whole get-up that Belichick rocks on the sidelines. Yeah, we get the point, it's the whole ironic commentary on the NFL deal with Reebok to provide coaches apparel and the foolish consistencies which are the hobgoblins of little minds. Unfortunately a fifty year old dude doesn't wear the shallow teen-aged rebellion particularly well.

I wonder if and/or when more people will start to feel that the Patriots have ceased doing the right thing for some time now. I know that there are Patriots fans who see this as payback for all those blissful years when the Patriots were so bad for so long and so often on the receiving end of lopsided scores. Maybe they're right. I just know I'm becoming less interested in watching this team play. And I'm a guy that has been known to make time to watch the Senior Bowl practice sessions.

As this season gets closer to the end, I have my own version of the perfect ending to this storybook season. I would like to see the Patriots go 16-0 in the regular season and then lose in the divisional round of the playoffs on the hallowed 13 month old field turf at Gillette Stadium. Perhaps a more conventional ending might have them make it all the way to the Super Bowl before they finally lost, but I like my scenario better. It would hurt Pats fans more, I think, if they lost out of the blue in their house right off that coveted first round bye.

If a few other wrinkles were added to the story line, such as a visiting player grabbing that ridiculous cut-off hoodie and pulling it over Belichick's head as though it were a hockey fight, that would put a smile on my face. I try, for the most part, not to condone violence in this space, but I am an imperfect man in many respects. I think it would be too much to ask to have some concerned citizen hurl a football into his groin to reenact the George C. Scott in Man Being Hit By Football bit from the Simpsons of yesteryear. But that would be damn funny also.

And so, Notre Dame finally won a home game. Yes, it was against Duke which just might be the worst team in the Bowl Subdivision series. But Robert Hughes looked very good. If they could ever sort out the abysmal play of the offensive line and the young backs can build on the strides they've made this season, perhaps James Aldridge and Robert Hughes can form a 1-2 punch in the backfield sort of like Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn. But that's probably too optimistic an outlook to take.

I don't have too much more to say at this point, though I will be posting more material over the next couple of days. I'm going to see Springsteen tomorrow night, so I'm taking it easy tonight. I'll have a lot to say about his show, I'm sure.

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