It feels different this year. The Patriots have dutifully signed up for the playoffs with their usual first-round bye and second-round home game (thank you, Buffalo, Miami, and New York), but this year it feels that in order to go to the Super Bowl, they are actually going to have to (gulp) . . . earn it. Imagine.For the New England Patriots, nothing has changed in this one day time span, but he has the gall to write this column as though something did change. Anyone who has read this wildly inconsistent and illogical sportswriter for any length of time knows precisely why Shank's now pulling his punches - it is an effort, however insincere and lacking in consistency with previous columns, to appear even handed and semi-thoughtful and not the lazy and repetitive slouch he is.
This year, the Tomato Cans have not toppled in the correct order. Everything has not gone New England’s way. A berth in Super Bowl 50 is going to have to be won by beating another good team in the playoffs. This time, it won’t be enough to stand back and watch the other guys set themselves on fire.
It is also part of another strategy. When Shank bores us with an unrelenting torrent of 'tomato cans' tweets and columns, he is setting up the highest expectations possible for the Patriots so he can take his patented world class dump on them should they fail to deliver anything less than the Lombardi Trophy.
Do not be fooled by Shank's circus act.