Homer or Hater, History Will Love These Patriots

4 Feb

Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.” Gen. George S. Patton (’43), as portrayed by George C. Scott (“Patton (’70)”).

Things were alot clearer back in 1943, not always better, just more clear.


What’s clear today is that America “love(s)” the New England Patriots, winners of Super Bowl 49 over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks (28-24). They just don’t know it yet. Too many in too high (& low) places too busy tearing ’em down (Deflategate).

But this is just what the doctor ordered for what ails the Patriots and the NFL.

And you can also chalk one up for passer-QB who looked to be on his last legs.

Patriots’ five-star field-general Tom Brady threw for four TDs, set a Super record for completions (37 / 50) and joined 49ers QB Joe Montana as only players to take the MVP trophy three times. Had Seattle not gone from “boom“ to bust, linebacker Bobby Wagner (10t / 2a / INT) might’ve been only the 4th middle-man defender to claim the award and follow teammate Malcolm Smith, the ’14 recipient.

A Seahawks victory would’ve heralded a new era in the NFL, one where manager-QB, i.e., Russ Wilson, Joe Flacco, displaces the 5000-yd passer as top dog.

It didn’t happen, but it’s coming.


It’s just a matter of time before pass-machines like Brady, Peyton & Eli, Rodgers, Romo, Brees, Ryan, Rivers, Cutler, Stafford and their ilk ride off into the sunset with not many of their set waiting in the wings.

We saw the writing on the wall last year in SB48 when Hawks demolished Denver (43-8) in what seemed to’ve been the final, major chapter in the great Peyton Manning story.

And with run-QB dominating the college scene so certainly that a third-stringer can come off the bench and run his team to a title (OSU’s Jones), the patent pro-passer is soon to become, if not a dying, a very rare breed, indeed.

But rather than “ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive” and bask in the glow of an NFL standard-bearer‘s success, the cherry topic has been hijacked once again by those who would scandalize & deconstruct a great game, choosing instead to pile-on Seattle’s proven head coach Pete Carroll as a means to second-guess & scapegoat the pain away.


Apart from a minor melee in the game’s waning moments as Seattle saw it slip away, Super Bowl 49 was a truly splendid showcase, a back n’ forth barnburner, decided only in the final minute when Seahawks QB Russ Wilson, 2nd & goal w/seconds left, tossed an errant pass through hands of Ricardo Lockette to be intercepted by johnny-on-the-spot safety Malcolm “blessed” Butler to clinch it for New England.

If you buy the blowhard line, Carroll blew the game in play-call.

And if that sounds familiar, it should.

It was just a few weeks back when Packers’ Super coach Mike McCarthy had his reputation drug through mud by similarly thin-skinned malcontents (See; NFCT15 ‘Cheese-Melt’).

The complaint: ‘Hawks should’ve run Marshawn Lynch (24 / 102y) for go-ahead TD rather than a pass play. This skewed thinking, even as Lynch got stymied at the 1 on prior play and the grapevine holds that ML had been less-than reliable in his five, 1-yd goal-line run attempts in ‘14 (1-5).


Most football folk know all too well that one-yard away from pay-dirt can play like one-mile through hell against a determined defense. It helps explain why the pass play, even with a capable run-threat, has been preferred goal-line call since Don Coryell (STL) brought Sid Gilman’s (SD / AFL) wide-open pass-attack to the NFL in early 70s.

NBC announcers Al Michaels and Chris Collingsworth must shoulder most the blame for igniting the flame of discontent on the play call, and then fanning it.

Like two compulsive school-boys, these two veterans of TV broadcast put Pete Carroll & staff right, smack dab in the cross-hairs of pointed & petulant criticism.

Al: “Amaaaazing.”
Chris: “I’m sorry, but I can’t believe the call.”
Al: “Me, neither.”
Chris: “I can’t believe the call…I cannot believe the call…a guy (Lynch) that’s been border-line unstoppable this part of the field (wrong)…I can‘t believe the call.”

Run vs pass debate is as trivial as it gets in post-game analysis. Paper vs plastic but not near as practical. ‘Bag it and move on’ is the preferred choice of most.


What‘s most curious in all the mealy-mouthed, Monday morning criticism of the Hawks’ brain-trust was how Seattle supporters, bandwagon-variety, no doubt, are cannibalizing their mastermind in Carroll, architect of the Seahawks championship rise to power.

Wilson is championship-caliber, that’s in the book, but he’s clearly still learning the finer points of his trade, like finding his target’s bread-basket or calling post-snap audibles.

As for Lockette, had he brought his gripper hands we might’ve had “Simultaneous Catch-gate,” Part II (See; GB-SEA ’12).” That would’ve been a hoot.

But there’s been a slight shift in mood by Tuesday.


Fans and reasonable (media) minds are starting to tire of the finger-pointing and Seattle whine, reminiscent of the Wisconsin vintage in 2012 (“Simultaneous Catch”) a particularly bitter blend. Ugh.

In the investigative state, Deflategate has already worked to add more unwashable tarnish (Spygate) onto Patriots legacy trophy, regardless of the League‘s final finding.

But even if the NFL finds a failure-in-standard (psi low) constituted a violative act with intent to gain an unfair advantage, a string of determinations hard to fathom at this point, such a wrong, given SB49’s result and likelihood that every player has, on occasion, converted a shenanigan into gamesmanship, will not place very high on most folks’ totem pole of misdeeds, the outraged Mark Brunell sect, notwithstanding.


On the tsk-tsk templar, with top spot constituting highest degree of culpability (violent crimes, game fixing & PEDs), lowest eliciting a stern finger-wag (taunting), deflation of game balls rides below cheap shots and just above faux crowd noise (ATL).

When historians compile & catalog events of time to rank NFL’s greatest teams, most are guided by comparative viewpoints informed in logic & fact, weeding out extremes, those mindsets captured by contemporaneous bias / prejudice, i.e., haters & hangers-on.


The Lombardi (60s) & Lambeau (20-40s) Packers, Walsh-Seifert 49ers (80-90s), Brown’s Clevelanders (40-50s), Noll’s Steelers (70s), Halas’ Bears (40s) and whomever Chamberlin coached (Canton / Frankford), are indisputably top-tier. These are the teams that birthed the dynasty tag. No doubts.

The 2nd-tier might include Steve Owen’s Giants (30s-40s), Landry’s (70s) and Johnson-Switzer Cowboys (90s).

Third-tier: Shula Dolphins (72-74), Parker-Wilson Lions (50s), J.L. Howell’s Giants (50s), Ewbank Colts (50s), Neale Eagles (40s) and Shanahan Broncos (98-99), with some subjectivity in play.

And where will the Belichick-Brady Patriots end up in the pantheon of greats?


Even with some tarnish, they’re clearly well-positioned to join the elite, given the titles (4), SB showings and, like their b-ball peers, San Antonio Spurs, their unprecedented longevity in success. They could find themselves in with the cream of the crop (top tier) once Tom hangs up his cleats and Bill turns in his head-set, which could be years away.

But this week, the Patriots are big winners and the whiners merely bottom-feeders in need of a good, firm (figurative) slap.

The General would’ve agreed.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credits: T.Brady, wc.cca, A.Campbell, 9.14.14; T.Brady, wc.cca, 10.11.09, J.Beall; Patriots pocket, wc.cca, P.Keleher, 11.8.09; P.Carroll, 12.29.13, wc.cca, M.Morris; R.Wilson, 11.11.12, L.Maurer, wc.cca; NFL wikiproject; Patriots wordmark, wc.cca, 60-92; NE Patriots SB trophies, 10.05, P.Keleher, wc.cca; P.Brown, wc.cca, Bowman, 1952; B.Belichick, wc.cca, 8.28.09, K.Allison.
Posted: 2.4.15 @ 12:45pm; edit 5:11; 2.5 @ 1:07am; 2.6 @ 12:29pm EST


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