On September 11 2001 all of our lives changed. Everyone knows where they were, I was in College in NC but back in Boston for a medical procedure. Like everyone else I have my 9/11 ties and memories. I had ticked on the same airline at the same time the next day. I have vivid memories of the train I had to take back to NC and how it came through NYC and I could still see the cloud of debris. We also all have stories for how the last decade was different because of this event. For me it was years later enlisting in the United States Army and becoming a father. I would have eventually been a father I would think but I would have never seen myself in the armed forces.
Weeks after the attack I was talking to Family back in Boston who were still reeling and embarrassed that the flights were out of Logan (a decade later the most secure airport I fly through) and joked that at least the Patriots will win the Super Bowl because well they were the Patriots. I didn’t think this would actually be especially given their record at the beginning of the season. I also thought that the Yankees would also be a team of destiny and for the first and only time I actually rooted for them to win a World Series. Of course they lost but for those not from the Boston area that year you actually say Bostonians donning the NY of the hated Yankees.
But back to the Patriots, they were very symbolic of the nation at this time. Entering the Super Bowl this team had won as a team and as such declined and in fact refused to have their starters introduced electing to be introduced as a team only. This display of selfless anonymity was symbolic of the countless anonymous heroes of 9/11 many of whose stories will never be told. This was the American Dream, a no name defense and an offense lead by a sixth round back up who would go on to become the greatest QB of his era. A team of hard workers not gifted athletes would pull off the unthinkable upset. And after the Super Bowl who can forget the great Robert Kraft and his speech about 9/11 and how today we are all Patriots. Despite the other Super Bowls and even if they had been 19-0 in 07, this will always be the defining moment. At a time when the nation needed football on Sunday, if only for a few hours forget the attack and the War that followed, the Patriots were just what this nation needed.
As a slight stretch to this I also years later found it interested that during the 04 Season when those in Iraq were voting for the first time (remember the purple thumbs) that the New England Patriots would be in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. These are the teams representing the two historic cities critical in our revolution and our freedom.
Anyways maybe this year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the Patriots will again be a team of destiny. A decade later they are no longer a rag tag gang of nobodies but rather a team assumed to greatness who have come up short here of late. Could they be the model of fiscal responsibility our nation currently needs(our mastery of the Cap). A gross stretch I know but it might be enough that this nations needs red white and blue falling from the rafters and Robert Kraft reminding us once again that we are after all, all Patriots.