This post represents an appreciative look from a die-hard Pats fan. I suspect it will draw the ire of disappointed Pats fans, and further encourage the trolls to continue rubbing our collective noses in a disappointing loss. Oh well, such is the price one pays for stating an opinion:
To Mr. Kraft: thanks for bringing a near-annual playoff caliber team to our region. Given the opinions often stated on this board by folks who obviously know alot more about building a team than your staff does - you'd think our team was the disgrace of the league (er, well, other than the Raiders). But the truth is, you've enabled your staff to put consistent winners on the field for about a decade - something no other team in the NFL has been able to accomplish. My heartfelt thanks for making this team worthy of my time and emotional investment. Thanks also for making this team relavent for a long time and for the three SB trophies presently sitting in the headquarters building. I'm not just a Pats fan, I'm a proud one!
To Coach Bill: thanks for doing a difficult job so well. Yes, there are those who think you hire bad coordinators; those that think we're past our prime; those that think you couldn't draft well to save your soul. But the facts speak a different tale. If you were so bad at these things, how the heck did you manage winning AFC championships and three, count 'em, three SBs? Must have been devine intervention - couldn't have been you and your staff. Some obviously expected you to win 15 straight SBs, and I know that you know that you've let those folks down. But the truth is, what you and your revolving-door staff have really done is to put a constant highly competitive team on the field for a decade. How you did that without any concept of drafting, coaching, teaching, managing a salary cap, a executing a whole host of other responsibilities is the great mystery of our times. One last thing Coach - I appreciate that you've done your job so well, there doesn't exist in our league at this time ANY coach that is your equal with respects to accomplishments.
To Tom Brady: you had a bad game. You'll be the first to say it. Yet, despite this you seemed to be the best Patriot on the field yesterday. The very best to have ever played your position have had bad games. Folks seem to forget that Favre only "won" one SB (and he wasn't the overriding reason why his team won), Elway lost three before winning two, Montana lost several times in the NFC championship game, Eli won two SBs, but the following year couldn't even bring his team to the playoffs, and last the not least, even the great Peyton Manning is 1-1 in the SB and has "one-and-outted" more times than he hasn't. I think your main problem is winning so often early. 3 SBs in 4 years is a tough act to follow - and since you haven't won in years, folks seem to think you're losing your edge. I say that's crap. From my view of the world, you're still one of the 2 or 3 best to have ever played at your position. But from others' view of the world, that obviously isn't good enough. I will admit that your timing is horrid - imagine if you had the same amount of SB victories as you do, only they were spread out over a decade. Then the "knights of the keyboards," the fans, hell - even the trolls would be extoling your virtues for the ages. But nope - it's become obvious that unless you win one more SB, your name cannot be mentioned in the same breath as Montana's. Funny isn't it, you've actually won more playoff games than he did. It's timing, timing, timing. Whatever the case my be, I'm honored that your putting on the pads in a Pats locker room.
To fans: I share your disappointment, and have been known to vent my spleen on these very boards about all things Patriots. But let's put things in perspective. Did you expect we'd win a SB every year? Are we not still the class of the league? Ask a Cowboys fan, ask a Jets fan, or better yet - ask fans from teams in our division if they'd be willing for just one second to "submit" themselves to the Patriots achievements over the last decade. I think you all know they'd do so in a New England minute.
To non-fans: You now have until next September to troll these boards, disparage a great organization, be envious, be snarky - the whole gambit. And you'll come out in spades because that's that the envious do - can't cling to the accomplishments of their own teams, so you disparage the rare "non-accomplishments" of consistant winning teams. How vindicated you must feel. How enriched you must feel. How uplifted you must feel. While I should be irritated with you, and often am, I pity you moreso - living vicariously through someone or something more successful than what you and yours can accomplishment is truly sad. But, in our internet day in age, when everyone can freely display their opinions, their thoughts, their inner-most feelings, if posting the perverbial "nah-nah-na-nah-nah" is your idea of profundity or intellictual "depth" - well, that speaks more of your shallowness than anything else.
I'll continue to enjoy some of the conversations on this board, and I'll continue to "vent my spleen" along with so many others. I'll hypothize to the reasons why our team is inept in not winning a SB annually for a decade, and I'll occasionally get irritated with mindless trolls. But what I'll try to do better is to keep our team and its accomplishments in perspective. Because taken on the whole - no NFL team in the future will enjoy the decade long run we have. And it won't last. And when it's gone I'll miss it. But when it happens, I'll look back fondly on these times - wins and defeats - and remember well that for about a 10-year period, our team was the measuring stick for all others. We were what others longed to be and what other fans longed to see in their teams. And that's a good thing.