Ok, this is my main Superbowl post.
I guess I'll start off by explaining where I've been for the last two weeks. Rather then be abducted by aliens or killed in a car crash, I was avoiding the football media. This was for a number of reasons, primarily that I was cautiously optimistic and didn't want to become either extremely arrogant or pessimistic because of something I read.
I also didn't watch the actual Superbowl, in what appears to be a failed attempt to re-activate the Crosby Anti-Jinx (yes, I made up the name, but the concept is real: see 1960 World Series) so I may not be totally accurate in some of these statements. If I'm not, feel free to correct me. I may or may not watch a recorded version of the SB - do you think I should?
So, I guess part of the reason I'm confused is because I really felt like we had this one -
- In 2007, we were like the Packers of this year in that we got consistently less dominant from the midway point of the season on. I wouldn't say I expected us to lose, but I felt like all we needed to do was win this one game and it would be all over. It was as though I saw a loss creeping up behind us in my rear-view mirror, and only hoped it wouldn't catch us in the SB. This year, though I didn't feel like that. I felt like this was our year, our chance to not only get revenge but re-awaken the dynasty, dominance, and playoff success. It was supposed to be an end to the "dark age", not the "dark ages" starting over.
- Now, the reason I felt like this was because I think you can all agree we've been getting better. In 2009, we had no mental toughness. Now, or so I thought, we did. We rebuilt the team in 2010, and had were turning things around. All that was left was to get the playoff monkey off our back - and when we did that against the Broncos in such an epic fashion, the sky seemed to be the limit.
- With that said, I didn't think we would win the Superbowl this year. I though we'd lose to the Ravens, and then come back next year with everything in place for a Superbowl, or even 19-0, run. The Ravens, who I've always sort of liked, would get another SB, and Ricky Williams would finally be on a team that competed for something.
- I guess you could call the win against the Ravens the start of my confusion - I tend to be right, whether it was the 4th and 2 game, overall the 2009 season, the 43-3 game against the Jets, the playoff game against the Jets, the Packers not winning a playoff game, the Pats beating the Broncos, the Jets missing the playoffs this year, the Manning interception against the Saints, etc. All of those were, if surprising, also somehow making since. The 2011 Ravens victory did not.
- But, perhaps, we were just maturing faster then I expected. Like I said I expected a SB or better in 2012 - maybe I just was supposed to think 2012 SB, as opposed to 2012 season. It was as if a massive, delicious turkey dinner was sitting on my table when I came home, with no explanation of who put it there or why. Kind of odd, unexpected, but hey, its good, so why not dig in?
- And then, of-coarse, that turkey dinner turns out to be poisoned. I remember saying in a comment earlier in the year the most likely scenario was we beat the Broncos and lose to the Ravens, the second most likely was that we beat the Ravens and win the SB, and the virtually impossible, not-happening situation was that we lose the SB. This was our time, time for the team to come full-circle - as in, back to winning SBs. Sticking with analogies, it was like in 2006-2007 we were pushed off our throne of greatness. During the rebuilding years of 2008, 2009, and 2010 we were climbing a ladder back up, and finally in 2011 we reached the final step - only to have someone stomp our hand, make us let go and cause us to fall all the way back down again.
So now, looking toward the future, what does this mean? You can see my other thread for more information on that, but I'll summarize here: teams that lose the SB tend to really stink it up in the following years. 2009 Colts almost went undefeated, then they lose the SB and boom they're the worst team in the league. 2008 was the last time the Cardinals competed for anything. 2007 lead to the mental weakness of 2008, 2009, etc, and was what threw us off the top of that latter in the first place. The Bears have been stuck in permanent mediocreness since 2006. The Seahawks, Panthers, Raiders, Rams, and Eagles all are the same.
And thats what really bothered me about this loss. If we're back to where we were in 2008, thats a disaster. Put aside the fact that Brady's aging and may be done by then, theres just the fact that 2008, 2009, and to a lesser extent 2010 sucked. They were painful to watch, painful to follow as a Patriots fan. Now it seems like we'll have to go over through it all again.
Or, theres the really unlikely but possible result that this triggers Angry Belichick. Theres a slim chance I was right all along about 2012, and that the Pats will come out mad as hell about this and drop 50s on everyone next year. I was wrong about everything this year, so maybe I'm wrong when I say we'll fall back into rebuilding years.
Finally, that brings us to the Giants and Eli Manning. In 2007, it was all luck. We were better, and they only won because of a catch that probably never will be repeated. In 2011, it wasn't as much luck, at least in when it came to getting to the SB. They were decent this year, I'll give you that. They earned their playoff wins, except for against the 49ers who beat themselves, and hey, the Ravens beat themselves against us. But seriously - why is it always them?
And why does America seem to like Eli? I find Eli to be everything thats wrong with football - he's inconsistent, illogical, the opposite of all things that make sense. QBs that only play one down shouldn't be successful. Eli shouldn't have more rings then Peyton. Eli shouldn't really have any rings at all. The Giants shouldn't have a 3-0 record against the Patriots since 2008. I could understand if we lost to the Saints or something - but the Giants? Thats messed up.
At least with Peyton it made since. With Eli, though, that Starwars scene with Jar Jar comes to mind - hes a bumbling idiot, and yet somehow he always manages to be in the right place at the right time. One day he'll be a pick machine whos choking it up against the Eagles, then next he'll be making us and the Packers look like chokers.
So, thats my notes on the Superbowl. Beyond the loss or the fact that Eli now has robbed us of two rings is what bothers me the most is that it seems as though some very hard times will be ahead. Or maybe not. I felt like good times were ahead, and looks like I was wrong. Its as though the the world when it relates to football has turned into some sort of wonderland in which noting make since.