To Henry: I’ve got Re-Up Gang Vol. 3 on in the background. This is for you.
Men are measured by many things. I choose to measure myself this morning by my ability to be gracious, humble, and completely and unabashedly honest.
To the Giants and their fans, congratulations.
To the Patriots, fuck you.
I’ve had that inside me for weeks now, just churning in my loins (Will Ferrell can’t just be Ron Burgundy with a basketball uniform on, that’s not original). Like all things kept inside, it grew with each passing suppressive day of silence.
Well, the rationale for silence came crashing down around me last night, so silence, be gone! Get out of here silence (sorry, I just watched There Will Be Blood the other night—you’ll get that if you’ve seen it)!
Here is what I have to say:
Bill Belichick, you are, as Henry and others have pointed out, an immature and ungracious man. Genius though you may at times be, grow the hell up. Yeah, you don’t like losing, and you don’t like having to deal with the media. I get it.
Perhaps you should get this: you have a dream job. You earned it, no doubt, tracking stats as an underpaid assistant’s assistant way back in the day, then working your way up to your current level, but earning your place makes you no different than any other NFL coach. And like any other coach (and professional athlete for that matter), dealing with the press is part of the job. So do it with some damn grace.
Answer the press’s questions with more than “we’re disappointed” when asked how you address your team in the locker room after such a tragic loss. Because disappointment is when your kid gets his first detention. Disappointment does not cover an awful coaching job in the most historical game your unexpressive coaching facade will ever encounter.
Also, wait until the game is over to run onto the field. I know you know the rules. The clock stops on an incomplete pass. It will not start until the Giants snap the ball. That does not change because your cut-off sweatshirt laden pride got a damn boo-boo. Yes, the game is over in the sense that you no longer have a shot at winning. Surprisingly, the game isn’t all about you—it’s not Spygate after all.
Speaking of Spygate, now that I’m pulling the skeletons out of my close one by one, lets weigh in on that. I was, and am still, disgusted by that. Not just at the Patriots, mind you, because it’s obvious that stealing signals goes on in many shapes and forms from every coach and team in the league. I am disgusted, rather, for the evasive way of dealing with the issue.
You confront it, Bill, as many times as you need to. This goes back to your need for some grace. Surely you’ve got some—rumor has it you have a true personality off the field, one that even laughs and sings karaoke. Take a page from Coughlin and let a little shine into your coaching. That strategy is apparently better at garnering Super Bowl victories in ’08.
Moving on from Bill, here’s something for you, Assante Samuel. Let me be the first to say that I hope you do not re-sign with the Patriots next year. I’m sick of your holdouts, I’m sick of your attitude (if me-first is proven to be Patriots incompatible, why is Samuel allowed to be so?), and I hate you for not intercepting that damn pass on the Giant’s last drive! I knew it would be our downfall the second you let it bounce off of your hands and out of bounds. It was.
Now go get rich and fade into mediocrity elsewhere.
Lastly, someone must address the Patriots shift in perfection-talk acceptability that occurred after the Chargers victory two weeks. With that win, since the final game of the season was now upon you, speaking of possible perfection became acceptable.
Well, it’s crap, and it was a stupid move.
If you say you play “one game at a time,” then you focus on only ONE GAME AT A TIME. With only one game left, there is no way to look forward, but that doesn’t mean you look back.
I heard it in the post-game sound bytes after the Chargers win, I heard it on media day, and I heard it all day yesterday during the pre-game shows: different Patriots talking about their “chance at history.”
Even in the game, which the Patriots were out-played in by nearly every standard, this forward thinking was apparent. Did you see the hug between Seau and Bruschi after Brady’s TD pass to Moss?
I just don’t understand. Why change? Why suddenly allow yourself to openly talk about your awareness of your opportunity. No one expects you not to think it, you obviously did all season, but don’t let everyone in on it.
Because in doing so, you became a different Patriots team. You played the opening second and every following one with the wish that you could find a way to make the final second come faster. Gone was the singular, uniting focus. Gone was the live-for-the-moment attitude (except for you, Kevin Faulk).
And gone, too, was history.
Congratulations, Giants and fans, for having a team that became a tighter unit with each passing playoff game. Congratulations for playing a Super Bowl game where your goal was visible from the opening second of the game (how many on-field celebtraions can you remember?) Congratulations for silencing all of your doubters.
Congratulations for doing it fairly, for doing it proudly, and for doing it gloriously.