Like most of you guys/girls, your boy was doing my best to live a life of leisure this weekend (meaning GTFO of the house and explore the wilderness where the plague theoretically can’t get you) and while I was scrolling the Tweeter at one point on Saturday night (I said “doing my best”!), I came across this gem of a would-you-rather from Barstool Sports’ Octagon Bob:
Great question from @RobbieBarstool:— Brendan Fitzgerald (@BrendanFitzTV) June 19, 2020
If you could go back and experience one UFC fight from history as a commentator which would you choose?
Now, I dunno a single thing about the UFC other than it seems like it usually involves a lot of blood and that my buddy’s dog used to bark at UFC fights when we would watch them on pay-per-view because that very good boy hated it when he saw people fighting on TV. True story, I swear to god. That dog would see a fight on TV, and be like ‘BREAK IT UP HOOMANS, WE ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE BEST FRIENDS!!!”
What I do know, though, is that my born-and-raised Masshole brain immediately took that “what game would YOU call”? concept to the Patriots, because let’s be honest, even in the midst of *gestures broadly to everything going on right now*, our brain still defaults to Football Season and the first year of the Post-Brady....whatever. And remembering the happier times. Of which there are many.
I mean that’s kind of what we do here. It’s our thing.
So if we open it up to the entirety of the history of the New England Patriots, not just the dynasty, but the team’s entire history going back to the AFL days, which game would YOU pick to do commentary on?
You can do play-by-play or color, honestly that’s half the fun. Pick whichever one you’d kill it with.
Before we go any farther, obviously this would never happen, unless you readers are hiding considerable talents and in my case if for no other reason than the gods blessed me with Danny Amendola’s height, Vince Wilfork’s voice in said Danny Amendola-sized body, and even that notwithstanding, the FCC would send a SWAT team through my windows within 3 minutes of kickoff for gratuitous and completely unwarranted profanity. So, there’s that.
That being said, let’s start with the suggestion of our fearless leader, Bernd Buchmasser:
2014 AFC Divisional Round: Patriots vs Ravens
The first line of this game’s Wikipedia page both says it all and yet massively undersells it at the same time:
The Patriots became the third team in NFL history to erase two 14 point deficits to win a game (the last to do it was the 2003 Chiefs) and the first to pull off the feat in a playoff game, rallying from down 14–0 and 28–14 to win 35–31.
Where to even begin with this heavyweight fight? Tom Brady saying (in my imagination, anyway) “F*ck this sh*t, I’ll do it myself” and running in the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game after going down 14-0? Julian Edelman executing the first double-pass allowed by Bill Belichick since the early 2000s? Brady tying Joe Montana’s record for postseason touchdown passes? The ineligible receiver skullduggery that Belichick and Josh McDaniels *ahem* borrowed from the Alabama Crimson Tide and tweaked with various window dressings to baffle the Ravens even further? Duron Harmon’s deep-ball interception at the 1-yard line with under 2 minutes of game time left?
Bernd, you got this one, man, it’s all yours.
(also, after this one, I’m going to try to avoid postseason/Super Bowl games, cause those are obvious and also in cases such as 28-3 and The Butler Did It, I’m certain you would do wonderfully because at the conclusion of both of those, I’d be surprised if I could spell my own name, nevermind squeak out the undrafted rookie’s name that...well, you know.)
A tradition unlike any other. An event so iconic that it has proven to be literally more timeless than Gone With The Wind. Alec runs a masterful, stirring tribute to it every single year. Enough said. The part where this game ended up 49-19 and a Patriots win while we were all comatose on the couch in a Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie coma was just a bonus.
2013 Week 6 vs New Orleans Saints
Could you one-up Scott Zolak’s legendary moment losing his mind when Brady fired a perfect dime to Kenbrell Thompkins vs the undefeated New Orleans Saints with 5 seconds left on the clock? You know, this one?
(PS: since I have referenced my buddy Gunner the Saints Fan many times on this site, most notably for his blistering hatred of the Atlanta Falcons in my Hater’s Guide to that Super Bowl, let me tell you: he was PISSED that afternoon. It was delightful.)
Any 2000s Peyton vs Brady
Obviously history has proven who the true GOAT is, but it’s important to remember that at one point, this was an actual rivalry between the two best quarterbacks the game had ever seen that just so happened to both play in the AFC. Oh, and one coach that’s already in the Hall of Fame vs the hoodie everybody loved to hate, Bill Belichick? It was the only thing that mattered that Sunday. Shoot, it was the only thing that mattered all weekend (all due respect to our rivalry high school basketball games). The amount of star power in those games is STAGGERING in hindsight, ranging from obvious HOF’ers like Ty Law, Richard Seymour, and TB12 on our side and Peyton, Reggie Wayne, and Dwight Freeney on the other sideline to a murderer’s row (no Marvin Harrison pun intended....oops) of “man that guy will never make the Hall but he’s freaking GOOD” players like Mike Vrabel, Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark, and Troy Brown. It’s a cliche for a reason, and certainly right after Father’s Day we’ve all heard a dad say this, but in this case it’s 100% accurate: you just had to be there.
2007 Week 11 vs Buffalo Bills
Look, I’ll be the first to admit (as I have many times on this site and every form of social media known to humankind besides TikTok) that I have a bizarre, borderline unhealthy obsession with the 2007 Patriots. With that mandatory caveat out of the way, imagine watching Randy do this and trying to make sense of it into a mic in real time:
Phew. Randy at the peak of his powers was just.....well the best way you can sum it up is “Randy at the peak of his powers”, and any fan of the game, even if you despised him, knows that’s just how it went down.
I realize LOL’ing at the Bills seems cruel and unusual now, but at the time, 0-31 in 2003 wasn’t really THAT long ago. Plus, if we’re being real about it, Buffalo is still in New York, and as we all know, the New York teams always must be teabagged. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Randy Moss hauled in 10 passes for 128 yards and 4 touchdowns on that glorious day.
1978 Week 15 vs Buffalo Bills
Yes, the Bills again, just two generations earlier. Admittedly, this is a tad out of my wheelhouse. But for the OGs that sat on the metal bleachers at whatever that trash old Patriots stadium used to be called, I would have to assume that watching the New England Patriots simultaneously defeat a division nemesis, clinch the division for only the second time in franchise history (and the first in the NFL era), and basically punch their ticket to a rushing record that held strong until (BARF) the Ravens broke it last year would be an absolute blast to be on the mic for.
And obviously, after this game, disaster would strike and coach Chuck Fairbanks would be suspended before peacing out for the University of Colorado job and the Patriots subsequently got absolutely plastered in the playoffs against the Earl-Campbell-led Houston Oilers to the tune of 31-14. In that moment, though, when those records were on the table and so was the division title for a historically laughable franchise, and the icing on the cake was beating a division team to do it? Mmmmmm. Crack open another Schaefer Beer for that one.
That’s just off the top of my head. What classic Patriots game, regular season, playoffs, or Super Bowl (we have a lot to choose from!) would YOU grab the microphone for??
Or, CURVEBALL: would you call Jarrett Stidham’s first-ever start in 2020, if the gods give us football?