By Kevin Flanagan
All good things must come to an end, right?
In a painfully ironic way, the slim hopes that Patriots fans had for the deeply diminished roster that Bill Belichick put together entering the year using bubble gum and paper clips finally were buried in Buffalo this Sunday.
Seconds after Cam Newton put the ball on the ground in Buffalo with seconds remaining on a drive that at worst would have sent the must-win contest into overtime for the flailing team from Foxboro, the reality set in that the glory days of the past two decades are soon to be a distant memory.
It also was just another sign that the self-absorbed City of Champions that Boston sports fans have so arrogantly labeled themselves as dwelling in is no longer.
A discerning eye, which I question exists in these parts any longer, can see that the road three of the four local franchises are on is more likely to lead them back to Loserville than a duck boat parade anytime soon.
Except for the Celtics, who, unlike the others New England fans follow with fervor, the region’s remaining clubs are entering different disrepair stages.
The easiest one to point to, and the freshest on everyone’s mind, is the Patriots. Only the blindest sycophants gave this grossly undermanned team a chance to post anything more than a .500 record in their first season without Tom Brady behind center in nearly 20 years.
Those chances diminished even more after the pandemic put the professional sports world on its ear and resulted in players opting out and training camp reduced to Zoom meetings with occasional walkthrough practices.
We will leave Bill the general manager’s spotty record as a topic for another day for now.
The second freshest would on the once Teflon championship cape that New England fans would use to defend their smugness when it came to the success of the area’s sports teams is the Bruins.
On the threshold of winning a second Stanley Cup, the B’s coughed up a furball in Game 7 against a St. Louis Blues team that was in line to be in the NHL draft lottery as late as the first week of January in 2019 at home in TD Garden that June.
And while no one can argue the impact that COVID19 had on the odd playoffs that followed, they once again saw one of the last fleeting chances of winning it all slip away.
After a history of bad drafts and yet another unproductive offseason, the team that calls Causeway Street home is left with an aging core of soon to be free agents and not much else.
And not to mention the questions surrounding goaltender Tuukka Rask, the real potential that captain Zdeno Chara – despite his greatly diminished skills on the ice – will no longer be the leader that this team has leaned on for almost 15 years.
As for the Red Sox (Anybody else remember them?), they perhaps have the deepest hole to find somehow a way to dig out of.
Everything on Chaim Bloom’s resume points towards a hopeful resolution of a rebuild of a talent pool for the Sox to pull from going forward. Even so, after the MLB draft this summer, John Henry’s team ranked well into the bottom third of future potential players to make a difference for the clubs they were selected by.
However, most of the Fenway Faithful that fill the ballpark to watch baseball and not sing “Sweet Caroline” are a fickle bunch. Retooling the team is something that is expected to happen in months, not years.
Although Halloween is in the rearview mirror, the scariest times that Boston sports fans have experienced in the past are likely coming again soon.
Follow on Twitter @KevinMFlanagan.