Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dan Just Doesn't Get it

Today, Dan engages in a discussion that thousands of New England sports fans have been doing all week...trying to rank the Patriots loss in the Super Bowl in the list of all-time worst moments in Boston sports history. He writes this column just a week after prematurely trying to place the Pat's season in the tops of all time list.

Dan ultimately concludes that despite the fan's vote which puts this at the top, he would actually put it behind the Sox infamous troika (1986, 1978, 2003) . His premise is that the Patriots have had inordinate success, already winning three Super Bowls this century. No big deal he claims....the Pats have had a great number of years. He does not seem capable of grasping of why Patriots fans are so disconsolate - you have a chance at perfection--a chance to do what no team has ever lived through the ups and downs and the close calls where the Patriots had everything go their get within two minutes of victory....and then poof, it is gone. The Patriots will win many more games in the future and we can hope for a few more Super Bowl victories but the opportunity for perfection like this? An infinitesimal chance. Not only that, the Patriots have almost come a punchline -- how many times will Patriots fans hear "You cheaters got what you deserved!"

Prior to 2004, the Red Sox were lovable losers--so as bad as their defeats were, you could lean on the sympathy from not only fellow Red Sox fans but from many others who could sympathize like long suffering Cubs fans. It's not this way with the Patriots - people seem to genuinely hate the Patriots and this loss gives them ammo--plenty of it to rub Pat's fans faces in it.

A few other points

- Full disclosure: This past week I myself did a rack and stack of the worst moments in Boston history in an email exchange with a friend and I ranked the 78 and 86 Sox ahead of this year's Patriots. I think this owes mostly to the fact that I was much younger when those occurred and thus much more nostalgic. (I also place the 76 Pats team loss to the Raiders near the top of my list)

- Of course Dan has to make reference to Schilling and the question of how ugly his dispute with the Red Sox will be. Guess he has not read the recent articles which claim that Schilling really seems to have come around to the Sox way of thinking

- Whoever patted Dan on the head and said "Good Boy" when Dan coined the phrase "Bill Belichick's History Boys" should be shot


paul said...

What kind of article do you expect out of the paper who's parent company owns part of one of the teams its covering and not the other?

Shank and the 17% Boys say "Come away from those uncouth men who play in Foxborough. The Red Sox will heal all wounds. Oh, and did you renew your membership to Red Sox Nation yet?"

Monkeesfan said...

To add to Dave M's point, the "cheaters got what they deserved" attack isn't borne out by the facts - the facts of the confusing and ultimately futile nature of the rule in question (not to mention the utter lack of credibility in the Rams-walkthrough story - more below) and the nature of what the Patriots actually did there.

I only half-agree with Dave's point about this being the ultimate crushing loss because the Patriots lost the opportunity for a complete sweep of the season; the odds are against the Patriots or anyone else ever pulling off the 19-0 sweep, but after 2007, can anyone say that with as much certainty as before? I know I can't.

The genuine hatred of the Patriots that exists elsewhere is difficult to fathom, as it has a deranged quality not seen in hatred of any team, even teams guilty of far worse than what the Patriots have done. That this hatred is deranged is shown by the fact that the national media covering SB 42 was openly cheering and celebrating after the Giants won.

This hatred is what is drving the Matt Walsh story. A media not driven by hatred would point out -

- That the John Tomase piece that started this cites just one source, unnamed but presumably Walsh.

- That the scenario laid out in the story (the Patriots videographer taped the Rams walkthrough in the Superdome before SB 36 without being noticed or asked for credentials by NFL, Rams team, or stadium security and left on the media bus) is impossible, especially given that the NFL found that someone was using a telescope to monitor Patriots practices that week.

- That at no point have the Rams ever claimed their walkthrough might have been taped by the Patriots.

- That any tape Walsh might have of a Rams walkthrough (if one assumes he has one) could not come from the Patriots; it could only come from the Rams.

- That the NFL, with nothing to gain from a cover-up, has never found evidence linking the Patriots with wrongdoing.

- That at least one other media member (Michael Holley) has cited multiple sources on the record indicating the taping never happened.

- That Walsh has provided contradictory accounts of his Patriots employment timeline, with one account saying until January 2003 but another saying until January 2002, before SB 36 (BTW the recent AP story on Walsh inferred he was with the team through SB 38?!?).

- That Walsh was fired from the Patriots though he'd claimed to some over the years that he'd quit).

- That Walsh has been more concerned with getting money (indemnity) than with providing information; he was turned down by ESPN and the NY Times before Roger Goodell agreed to pay indemnity.

As for other heartbreak losses in Boston sports history, I'd like to counter with some New York chokes -

2000 NY GIANTS SEASON - Rout Vikings 41-0 in NFC Title Game, massacred 34-7 by Baltimore Ravens in SB 35.

2001 WORLD SERIES - Curt Schilling shoots down the Yankees; the Yankees dynasty takes the first big hit.

2002 NFC WILDCARD GAME - The NY Giants storm to a 38-14 lead over the 49ers - then surrender 25 unanswered points, and then blow the last-second field goal try.

2003 WORLD SERIES - To date the Yankees last appearence as they become Marlin food.

2004 ALCS - No need to elaborate.

2004 AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS - the wildcard NY Jets pounce on the 15-1 Steelers by forcing two late Roethlisberger INTs, but blow a late field goal try in regulation; the Steelers drive downfield and kickm the game-winner in OT.

WEEK 11, 2006 - NY Giants lead Tennessee Titans 21-0, then sack Vince Young but inexplicably let him go, apparantly scared of incurring a roughing the passer flag; he runs for a key first down. The Titans score 21 points, then Eli Manning throws an INT with some 40 seconds to go and the Titans finish off the game on a last-play field goal.

2006 NY GIANTS SEASON - The Giants storm to a 6-2 record, and then collapse to 8-8 and lose in the wildcard round of the playoffs in Philly.

NY YANKEES PLAYOFF RUNS 2006-7 - one-and-done rounds each year.

WEEK 16, 2007 - The Giants lead 28-16 in the third, then surrender 22 points before scoring a garbage-time TD in a 38-35 Patriots win.

Yes, I'm bitter about losing SB 42, but my reaction is what can be used as a slogan -

Quest For #4 Interrupted, Not Derailed

I'm counting down to training camp so we can start all over again.

Monkeesfan said...

One other comment - the 1976 playoff loss to the Raiders was far worse than any Red Sox loss or subsequent Patriots playoff loss because Ben Dreith took the '76 game away from the Patriots. I loved Gil Santos' comment from SB 36 where a Raiders rep told him, "You shouldn't be here," and Gil retorted about Ben Dreith and how he'd gone through that - "Payback's a bitch."

dbvader said...


good points. I think that if you look back over the years, going undefeated would not seem so impossible. I thought the '05 Colts could have done it. If they had beaten the Chargers, they would have kept playing hard. The year before the Steelers went 15-1. Minnesota did in '98. San Fran went 15-1 in '84 and the Bears in '85. Then there are a bunch of 14-2 teams. I am in a way surprised it hasn't happened.

Dhalgren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhalgren said...

My head exploded when I read that article today. Suffering and losing does not define Red Sox fans - loyalty does. But for Dan, suffering = reasons to print more money (books). I shot him an angry email. last time I did that, he read it and paraphrased me in a future article. He won't this time. I just had to slap him, even if I am late in reading it.

(The article that paraphrased me was back in November 2001. Dan wrote an article saying that he had a recurring nightmare that Dan Duquette was still GM of the Sox come 2002. My letter to him was about a recurring dream of seeing the Yankees win the 2001 WS and seeing Giuliani get a Congressional Medal Of Honor in the awards ceremony. This was a response to his asinine article stating that if you didn't like the 2001 WS through Game 5 (the Mr. November game) then 'you don't like baseball.' Grrrrrr.)

Monkeesfan said...

For Dan, suffering = reasons to print more money (books).

Gads, I can't wait for Shank's newest chronicle of fate, THE CURSE OF THE JAGUAR: The story of New England Patriots football futility and the curse laid upon the Patriots by the Jacksonville Jaguars -

the "curse" being that the Patriots always fall in playoff runs (1996, 1998, 2005, 2007) where they have to play the Jaguars - Dan should have a field day with this coise.

Dave M said...

Hi All

I dont seem to have a chance to post much in the comments but just wanted to say thanks to all those who post comments (even OB) - I enjoy reading everyones' perspectives.

Glad to know that I am not the only one who really had a hard time with the Ben Dreith game--I cant believe it has been over 30 years