A friend of mine, in his infinite kindness, brought up a certain black Sunday this past February the other day when we were out getting some drinks after work.
There was no reason for it - we weren't even talking about football and he isn't even a Giants fan. He just did it to be a jerk. And while I had to appreciate the level of jerkdom, I'd be lying if I said it still doesn't sting. A lot.
No, I'm not over this latest Super Bowl loss. And to be honest, I probably won't be until New England wins another one. I still haven't watched any replay footage, I don't plan to, and the mere mention of that game is enough to send me pouting into the corner every time. Childish, immature, and more than a little sad, but that's just the way it is.
I've tried to put a positive spin on it over these last few months, and at the end of the day I'm definitely optimistic about the 2012 season, but to be honest, there really isn't all that much good that I've taken away from that loss. In fact, the only real positive I've been able to filter out from the gallons of tears I cried over that game was how lucky I am to be a fan who considers anything less than a Lombardi Trophy a failed season. It's very easy to forget that there was once a time, not that long ago, when losing in the Super Bowl would practically have been a Patriots fan's dream come true. Hell, they would have even taken a playoff loss, as that would have represented a rare winning season. The Patriots have been so dominant for so long that we tend to lose sight of the fact that for the majority of their existence, the Patriots weren't just bad - they were preposterously bad. The Patriots of old were not only the laughingstocks of the entire NFL, but the laughingstocks of the professional sporting world in general. Inept players. Bumbling coaches. Horrible management. Hands down the worst home stadium in the league. Drunken, obnoxious, disorderly fans that will just as soon slap you in the face as say hello.
Well - that last one still rings pretty true. But I'm happy to say everything else has made a turn for the better.
And that's the subject of this week's trivia quiz: the bad old days. As the Pats get ready to continue their streak of NFL dominance into 2012, I thought it would be prudent to remember that Patriots fans didn't always have it this sweet. Today's trivia questions come from the pre-Kraft era, when the Patriots were little more than Boston's bastard stepchild.
1. What are the most points ever allowed by the Patriots in a playoff game?
2. True or False: The Patriots once had to call a recently cut player out of the stands to play for the team when a last minute contract dispute left them shorthanded.
3. What is the Patriots' record for most consecutive losses?
4. When was the last time a Patriots QB threw for less than 1,000 yards in a season?
5. What is the most yards the Patriots have ever allowed in a playoff game?
6. A fair number of head coaches only lasted one season with the Patriots. What is their combined winning percentage?
7. Which head coach, still seen as one of the Patriots' biggest disasters, took the reins from Mike Holovak in 1969?
A. John Mazur
B. Ron Meyer
C. Chuck Fairbanks
D. Clive Rush
8. What is the Patriots' all-time worst record?
9. In which decade did the Patriots experience their worst-ever winning percentage?
10. One of these things is not like the other one, one of these things just doesn't belong. Which one is it?
A. Zeke Mowatt
B. John Stephens
C. Michael Timpson
D. Lisa Olsen
11. Where were the Patriots almost relocated in 1992 due to total lack of fan interest?
C. St. Louis
12. True or false: poor wiring almost electrocuted new head coach Clive Rush at his opening press conference.
13. Which of the following was NOT a record held by the Patriots following their first ever Super Bowl appearance?
A. Most sacks allowed
B. Fewest total yards gained from scrimmage
C. Biggest Super Bowl blowout
D. First QB in Super Bowl history to not complete a single pass
14. Fill in the blank: The Dallas Texans were robbed of a game winning touchdown pass against the Patriots in 1961 after a crazed, drunken Pats fan rushed into the endzone and batted the ball down. That mysterious fan is forever known as "The Man in the _____."
D. End Zone
15. What was the worst part about going to a game at the old Foxboro Stadium?
A. The lack of functioning bathrooms
B. Those backless metal bleachers
C. The total lack of amenities
D. The probability of a double-digit Patriots loss
E. The horrendous parking, entrance, and exit situation
F. Getting soaked with beer when a fight broke out in the upper deck
G. All of the above
Come back later on this afternoon for the answers!