THE STEWDIO: Those Spoiled Boston Fans
No, I don’t have my priorities wrong. I never place school before my teams, and I’ll take sabermetrics over econometrics any day of the week.
I missed the parade because I simply had no desire to stand in the cold and watch those stupid Duck Boats crawl by. Again. I did that a mere 14 weeks ago, when the Red Sox celebrated their first title since the Wilson administration.
If there’s ever been a case of diminishing marginal utility, we’re experiencing it right now throughout greater Boston.
This city has flat-out forgotten how to lose. The Curse is finally over, and the Patriots have lost exactly two games out of their last 34. The future is just as bright—with Brady, Belichick, and the boys all returning, the Pats will be heavy favorites to win next year’s super-sized championship game, Super Bowl XL.
They’re acquiring more titles than they know what to do with. At the tender age of 27, Tom Brady already has as many rings as Troy Aikman and Larry Bird. Three more titles, and Brady will have won enough rings to completely fill the hand of hexadactylic baseball reliever Antonio Alfonseca.
The iTunes on my computer plays like a broken record. All I hear anymore is Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Bostonians certainly paid their dues, time after time, before being rewarded by the Red Sox, but Super Bowl XXXIX somehow seems like it came too easily.
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? One episode of the chilling television series The Twilight Zone tells the story of Rocky Valentine, a gangster who is shot to death and awakens to find a friendly man named Pip standing over him, explaining that he is Rocky’s guide and will give him anything he wishes. Just like that, Rocky has all the money he wants, never loses at pool, and gets every girl he desires.
After a while, though, Rocky gets bored, and implores Pip to send him to “the Other Place.” Pip cackles in return, “This is the Other Place!”
Boston’s unworldly sports success is still divine, but each successive title is destined to be less thrilling than the last.
What was once jubilation and ecstasy is now merely contentment, with expectations for the Patriots so enormously high that they can only be met, not exceeded.
The dynasty has officially been christened, but I’ll happily watch the miraculous 2001 Pats over the methodical juggernaut of today.
Those 2001 Patriots started the year 1-3, and lost star quarterback Drew Bledsoe to injury. Then a man named Brady, nothing more than a forgotten sixth-round draft pick, marched the team back to respectability, and even to the playoffs.
The dream ended on the snowy night of January 19, 2002. Or at least it was supposed to end.
With under two minutes left and the Pats trailing the Raiders 13-10, Brady fumbled and Oakland recovered. A few Rich Gannon kneel-downs, and the Boston faithful would have to “Wait til next year” yet again.
Then Tom Brady got one more chance. Look what happened.
The keys that unlocked the dynasty were buried as much in the NFL rulebook as in Belichick’s playbook. The “Tuck Rule” call that overturned Brady’s apparent fumble is probably the most important call in NFL history. Who knows where the Pats would be without it?
Adam Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal to send the Snow Bowl into overtime, and his 48-yarder to win the Super Bowl two weeks later, were nothing short of heroic. That Pats team was what dreams are all about.
Now the Patriots are like a factory, churning out trophies every year.
I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that we’re getting a little spoiled here in Boston—three major titles over a 371-day span will do that to you.
A championship respite is on the horizon, as the Celtics won’t advance in the playoffs and the World Series is over eight months away.
Come October, Boston will once again be hungry.
And if the Sox repeat, I’ll forfeit some sleep and go watch the Duck Boats roll by.
—Staff writer Stewart Hauser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.