When the New England Patriots fail to win the Super Bowl, columnists in Boston don’t know what to do with themselves. So instead of just appreciating the incredible run the Patriots have been on for over a decade, they sit down at their computer and write overreaction pieces. Like the one Eagle-Tribune columnist Hector Longo wrote after last season where he opined that is was time to trade Brady. Or the column from Jessica Isner of NESN where she wondered if Tom Brady is too Hollywood for the Patriots.
This year’s overreaction piece comes from Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. Unlike the others, Shaughnessy doesn’t overreact about anything about Brady. Instead, he overreacts about where the Patriots find themselves as a team currently. And in his mind, the Patriots have become the 1990s Atlanta Braves.
Brady is getting older and the Patriots are vulnerable.
The Patriots have become the 1990s Atlanta Braves. They play in an easy division, take care of business during the regular season, then get punched in the mouth and go home in the playoffs.
A long time ago, in the days before the Super Bowl, the NFL played a consolation game featuring the two second-place teams. It was sort of a junior varsity championship game. Close your eyes and try to imagine what would happen if these Patriots had to play the San Francisco 49ers next weekend.
New England was by far the fourth of the final four teams in the tournament. There’s no disgrace in getting to the final four, but the notion that the Patriots had a chance with their ordinary people after everything that had happened to this team was preposterous.
Let’s first discuss what Shaughnessy got right.
Brady is indeed getting older and the Patriots are indeed vulnerable. They also play in an easy division and they would get embarrassed by the 49ers. Everything else is wrong.
The Patriots aren’t the 1990s Braves, mainly because everyone outside of Boston could clearly see that the Patriots had no business making it to the AFC Championship game. Unlike the 1990s Braves, the Patriots didn’t have any players.
How many players on offense would other teams want? Brady, Mankins, Gronskowski, who’s out with a major injury, that’s it. How many players on defense would other teams wants? Wilfork, who’s been out the entire year, Talib, maybe Spikes, and maybe Dennard. Yet and still, they were one game away from the Super Bowl.
One would think that this would be celebrated. But apparently not in Boston.