Thursday, July 28, 2005

It’s Truly Over

In early February of this year, I and millions of other New England Patriots fans were jubilantly celebrating our third SuperBowl win in three years, and looking ahead with apprehension to the 2005 season.

It’s so much worse than we could have foreseen.

Success breeds loss in this game. Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis moved on to head coach at Notre Dame; Romeo Crennel became head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Both deserve their new positions, but it left the Head of the Beast fractured.

Which wasn’t considered that much of a problem. Personnel changes were made within the Patriots’ overarching philosophy, with staff who understand that philosophy and are committed to it. So okay.

Early on, things seemed all right. Goodbye Ty Law, we didn’t need you or your big mouth anyway. We lost Troy Brown, but always knew, in our hearts, that he’d come back. The draft and free agent acquisitions all looked to make our team stronger, despite other losses like Joe Andruzzi and David Patton.

Then things started to fall apart. Richard Seymour’s holding out. Tedy Bruschi is sitting out the season to finish recovering from the stroke he had in February (likely, to see if there is any hope of ever returning to the game {sob}). And now my wonderful, fabulous, beautiful Ted Johnson is retiring.

It’s one thing to fragment the head—ripping out the heart is something completely different.

The beauty of the Patriots these last four seasons has not been the winning, it’s been the way they’ve won. Not by buying talent and the attending egos. Not by bluster and hate, threats and challenges. But simply, quietly, by doing their jobs. By supporting each other and the entire team on every level, in hundreds of ways.

That way won’t change. We’ve lost players before, excellent players, leaders, players who were considered the heart of the team. We may yet have a chance to win three championships in a row.

But I, for one, will never be the same.

6 comments:

AuthorM said...

...I understood every third word.

Natalie Damschroder said...

Hey, that's pretty good, for you. ;)

(M isn't much into football, poor thing)

AuthorM said...

I have other interests, what can I say? :)

M

Natalie Damschroder said...

I figure 99% of the readers of this blog won't understand or care what I'm talking about.

But that's okay, because the blog is really for me. {g}

Shannon said...

OMG

*hyperventilating*

I didn't know about Ted.

*puts head between knees*

Natalie Damschroder said...

That was how I felt, too, Shannon. Luckily, Tedy's condition caused them to concentrate on the linebackers in free agency, and it sounds like the two inside guys will be okay. They've got great teachers, even if one of them never played in a 3-4...

Yeah, I'm trying not to panic. But I DID think 3 Super Bowls in 4 years was enough and fate wouldn't let us head for it again. Just as long as we don't sink to the depths...