It is no surprise that the Boston media is always trying to conjure up a sexy headline. They have a longstanding reputation of staying relevant and getting listeners by inciting complete panic among New England sports fans who are not known to be the most intelligent group of individuals (not true of course).
While there is positivity and hope brewing in some other cities with teams that are 1-2 (or 1-1-1), it’s apocalypse time in New England. I haven’t tuned in to once second of local sports coverage in the past 2 weeks but I could pretty much write the headlines in my sleep.
This week, WEEI asked us all “Is Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game at Gillette Stadium the most important regular-season game in the Bill Belichick era?”
It was hard to wrap my brain against this one. Wasn’t last week the most important game of the Bill Belichick era? And before that, wasn’t the game before that the most important? My point is this is an incredibly desperate but totally typical question for us to be facing. We’re not used to losing–back to back games or by double digits. Writers and fans of all other NFL teams are waiting on baited breath for it to be the year the Patriots don’t go to the playoffs. The Pats make the media’s job harder, so I can understand why this headline exists.
When the Patriots are rolling over opponents year after year, you have to start reaching for topics on the radio and on Twitter every day. The hot takes are at their finest. This is when you get Felger saying Kyle Van Noy is an asshole, or Alex Reimer saying Tom Brady’s daughter is a pissant. But when the Patriots are struggling, the media is thriving. NFL shows have something to talk about, Trent Dilfer is relevant again, and Max Kellerman gets a huge Tom Brady hate boner. It’s a beautiful thing for everyone–haters LOVE to hate.
But if you think that this week 4 game against the Dolphins is the biggest regular season game in the Bill Belichick era, you probably work for WEEI. Oh wait, this was literally published by Ryan Hannable of WEEI. It be your own media!!
While it may not feel it, and it is pretty hard to believe, Sunday really might just be the most crucial regular-season game Belichick has had as coach of the Patriots.
Don’t believe it? Find a game where if the Patriots lost, their chances of making the playoffs would be less than they would be after Sunday (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008 don’t count for reasons stated earlier).
Having a hard time finding one?
Told you so.
Let me read that again. It’s the most important regular season game if you don’t count 2000, 2001, 2002, or 2008? That’s like 1/5 of the Bill Belichick era we’re just putting a big ol’ asterisk next to.
The most important regular season games of the Bill Belichick era are the ones that built this dynasty. If the Patriots never won another game they’d still be the most important and successful franchise in professional sports.
Regular season games aren’t important but if I’ve learned anything from the Bill Belichick era, it’s that the most important game is the next one. We’re on to Cincinnati. In this case, we’re on to Miami. And if you’re a gambling man or woman putting everything on Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins to give the Patriots their worst regular season loss of the Bill Belichick era, well, you probably lose a lot. Tom Brady doesn’t.