Okay, so we’re officially four days removed from what I, at the time, considered to be “the most brutal game I’ve ever watched.” I wanted to write a blog on it more recently but resolved that everyone and their mother would’ve already had one on it.
Anyway, now that I’ve had time to think about everything, I can confidently claim that last Sunday’s AFC Championship was the most difficult Patriots game I’ve ever consumed.
There have been a number of gut-churning games that Brady and Co. have partaken in since 2001, but I can’t remember a game with so much parody.
Between the 4th down conversion attempts, the 3rd down conversion successes, the interceptions that were called back, the interceptions that weren’t, the seemingly endless run of 50/50 booth reviews that could’ve virtually gone either way, the nauseatingly dynamic potential of Kansas City to score a 70+ yard touchdown at any minute, and the coin flip, I was literally on the verge of puking.
Last week I wrote a blog about what it’s been like to follow the Patriots over the last two decades. In it, I talked in length about how anyone who suggests they know what this team will do or what they’re capable of is wrong. Last Sunday, I may have been the only one with a vindicated opinion.
During that game, I officially had that “Fuck, that’s game” sensation 3-4 times, and every time I had it, I was wrong. The one thing I know about this team is that when the game’s over, it isn’t.
Brady, once again, was nothing short of intoxicating to watch near the end of regulation. For the record, he didn’t play well—the guy threw two picks and there were at least 3-4 plays in the first half alone where Tom just flat out missed his read—but when push came to shove, he was flawless.
The funny thing about greatness is that it’s fleeting. To be truly great, it means you need to not only do truly outstanding things, but you need to do them on a consistent basis.
For the last two decades, Brady has forced me to readjust my barometer for what I consider possible on a football field. For example, if Phillip Rivers or [insert anyone else] pulled off what Brady did last Sunday, it would be his crowning career moment. People would think of Phillip Rivers and go, “Remember that game he had against KC in the AFC Championship back in 2019?” When Brady does it, you just shake your head and drive home.
The Patriots will officially play the Rams in Super Bowl LIII next Sunday. Vegas opened up the line with the Rams as 1-point favorites but it only took an hour for that spread to shift drastically in New England’s favor and I’m not sure how I feel about that. As I’ve always said, the Pats play better when they’re doubted. They show up when they’re not expected to.
That said, expecting them to roll into Mercedez-Benz Stadium on February 3rd and expose a second-year head coach, as well as a third-year quarterback, seems likely, but that makes me all the more concerned. Stay posted…
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)