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The Patriots Have Never Been Superman

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We don't just need any hero, we need the right hero for the job.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2007 team seems to have changed the perception of who the Patriots were.  They seemed to be this alien from another world that was stronger, faster, able to leap buildings in a single bound, and defeat opponents simply by overpowering them.  They seemed to be Superman, but really that perception is wrong.  Sure Brady, Moss and Welker were playing at elite levels, and the O-line was sending more guys to the pro-bowl than they had a right to, but as a team, they weren't stronger or faster than their opponents.  They were simply better prepared.

If you're going to look at a super hero to model the Patriots after, you need to find someone who spends his time in the shadows doing some detective work, learning the strengths and weaknesses of his opponent, before he strikes quickly and decisively.  A guy with no super power other than the ability to prepare himself physically and out think his opponent before, during, and after battle.  A guy who doesn't have overpowering weapons, but has an array of dependable weapons that he chooses in each situation to best effect.  You're looking at the Batman, whose biggest asset is his brain.  The cunning behind the Patriots is the Hoodie himself.

Now the Batman had a sidekick that he took under his wing and trained to the best of his ability.  Now Robin wasn't as strong or smart as his mentor, but had amazing balance and flexibility.  The problem came when he struck out on his own and tried to BE the Batman that he went from being the Boy Wonder to the Boy Blunder.  I think we saw that transition when McDaniels went to Denver.  He didn't try to stay within himself, he tried to be the Hoodie.  It wasn't pretty.

Eventually Robin, now Nightwing, went on to have a successful career of his own.  Not so with McDaniels.  After failing outside the shelter of the Batcave, he returned to the side of his mentor.  This is where the biggest divergence in the story lines occurs.  Batman never brought Nightwing back for any length of time, and if he did, he wouldn't give up being the Batman to do so.  With the Patriots and Belichick, it seems that bringing back McDaniels after O'Brien left (bratty Robin number 2, Jason Todd, maybe?) meant he turned over a little more control of the offensive side of the team to McDaniels.

The result?  The loss of the ability to diagnose another teams weakness and attack it pregame and the complete and utter loss of any ability to adjust as the battle shifts during the game.  Instead of all of the Jokers, Riddlers, Penguins, Two-Faces, etc. having to fight the Batman, they are left fighting against his two bit sidekick, who the Joker just killed on National TV.  Did you see that sea of red?

McDaniels seems to act like the Patriots are Superman and can simply force their will on any opponent because they are stronger, faster, and have the nifty heat vision thing going for them.  They aren't.  If the Patriots are Superman, then they are wearing Kryptonite underwear and there is really no hope for this team this year.

The Patriots have to get back to their roots of single minded preparedness, both physically and mentally.  They have to analyze themselves and their opponents and be willing and able to adjust during battle.  They need to get back to using the simple weapons in their utility belts in the proper order and at the right time.  They have to be able to fight opponents that are much stronger than they are by taking their strengths away.  In short, they have to get back to being the Batman and not the Boy Blunder.  If that means grounding the Robin, then I'm fine with that.

They need to get back to their roots, and they need to do it right away.  They need to make sure the their utility belts are full on game day.  Activate the stinking batarangs, for crying out loud!  Don't sit them on game day!  Also those little bat shuriken thingies are pretty cool too.  They activate two of them on game day and yet use the hell out of just one of them.  We've shown we can't arm wrestle with Bane and get away with it, but that's OK.  That's not what Batman would do, and that's not how the Patriots are going to win games either.  We have to get back to playing Patriot football.  C'mon Bill, don the cowl.  You're the only one that can.  Be the Batman.