It's really amazing how quickly things can change in this wonderful sport we call professional football. In the blink of an eye, we can go from ecstatic to despondent, elated to depressed, and joyous to miserable, and then start it all over again. Each moment is fleeting, and every touchdown is soon forgotten in the wake of the newest storyline. I wish we could all just dwell on the good memories forever, but alas, that's not the way football works.
And with this in mind, I'm continuing on with the Top 20 Most Memorable Moments of 2014 at what is either the best possible time or the worst, depending on how you look at it. Given recent events, this moment is particularly timely, but at the same time, it might not be as enjoyable for some people as it would have if things had gone a bit differently over the past several days. But the list is the list, and we have to respect it.
What we have so far:
20. wins a job - and our hearts - with a spectacular preseason.
19. officially arrives in a Week 6 contest against the .
18. The Patriots get embarrassed on national television with a 41-14 beatdown at the hands of the .
And now the Number 17 Most Memorable Patriots Moment of 2014.
17. The Patriots sign Darrelle Revis.
Along with every NFL offseason and the official start of Free Agency comes the general excitement - as well as the nervousness - that surrounds the possibility of landing or losing a big name player. And when it comes to the Patriots, it seems that every single year there is a guy in particular that dominates the headlines. In 2013 it was Wes Welker, who ended up signing with the Denver Broncos, and in 2014, it was Aqib Talib. The sense was that New England would make all necessary moves to keep Talib, as he represented the first legit corner with shut-down ability the team has had in quite some time. However, since this was the Patriots we were talking about here, nobody knew for sure what was going to happen. What the fans knew, though, was that if Talib did depart, it was back to those dark, dark days of the "bend but don't break" secondary that gave up yards in chunks, couldn't get off the field on 3rd and 45, and lived and died off turnovers. So things were definitely tenser than usual.
So when Talib not only left New England, but defected over to Denver as well, all hell broke loose in the northeast corner of the country. Bill Belichick had lost his mind. The Patriots refusal to pay their players had once again screwed them over. It was the same rhetoric that spews forth from the heavens every March when guys go elsewhere and nobody has any idea what the New England front office is thinking.
But then, just as things seemed darkest, a sliver of light started to break through. Rumors started to swirl that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were about to cut All-World defensive back Darrelle Revis and he was about to become a free agent. At first nobody believed it; after all, Tampa Bay had just traded a 1st round pick for him and given him what they call in the industry a buttload of money. It just didn't make any sense. But lo and behold, on March 12, 2014, the Bucs officially announced that they were cutting Revis, saving the $1.5 million bonus that he was due, as well as freeing up some cap space to make additional moves.
Suddenly, the best cornerback on the market was available.
No way the Patriots would sign him, though, right? First of all, it just made too much sense; everyone knows that the free agency move that everyone sees coming is the last move the Pats make. Secondly, he was on the Jets for years; no way he comes to a division rival. And third, there were too many other teams, with plenty of money, who needed a corner, so it wouldn't be long before the bidding just became too crazy and New England bowed out. No point getting your hopes up.
I wasn't long before fake Twitter accounts were posting fake pictures of Revis landing at Logan airport. Media members with sources close to the Patriots hinted that the team was pursuing him. It was suddenly all over the TV. Articles titled "Revis to the Patriots?" started to pop up all over the internet. Maybe, just maybe, it was going to happen.
March 13, 2014...New England reaches a two year agreement with Revis. He was officially a Patriot.
There are plenty of words to describe the general feel of Patriots Nation when the news broke. Shock. Awe. Excitement. But mostly, it was relief. FINALLY, the team had a shutdown corner. FINALLY, this defense could get back to the kind that won them championships. FINALLY, Tommy B wouldn't have to score 40 points a game. it was one of the most exciting free agent signings of the Belichick era, and that it had come on the heels of Aqib Talib leaving to go to Denver and all the analysts talking about how much better than New England the Broncos now were made it oh so much sweeter.
No need to remind anyone of what kind of impact the Revis signing had; we all know how the season ended, just as we all know how Denver's season ended. Revis became a key cog in a championship unit, and one that we thought would be around for the long term. And while the Darrelle Revis Era in New England only lasted one brief season, what a season it was. And the feeling that accompanied him signing with the team allowed Patriots fans to feel something that they rarely get to feel - offseason excitement.
I know that, in the wake of Revis going back to the Jets, this particular top moment is going to ring flat for a lot of people; I can almost hear Patriots Nation screaming right now. "Who cares??!!" they'll say. "He signed with the Jets, which is the worst thing ever!!! Why didn't Belichick just pay him??! Now we're back to the worst secondary in the history of the world!"And to those people, I simply have nothing to say. You'll still be as reactionary and short-sighted next season as you were this season, so all I can really do is let it be. But I will say that the Revis signing, the anticipation that came with it, the sense of invincibility that he brought to the offseason, and the ensuing moves that the Patriots made as they built a world championship team makes this one an easy pick for me, regardless of how 2015 is kicking off.
If this article gave you the redass, don't worry; the Number 16 moment will feature a player who is still on the team, and Tebow willing, will be for several years to come.