By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
Once again the Patriots are one game away from playing in the AFC Championship game. If they somehow find a way to beat the transplanted Los Angeles Chargers, who are 7-1 on the road and the better team by a fairly significant margin on paper, it would increase their record of consecutive appearances in the second biggest game of the National Football League season to eight.
That is downright ridiculous.
Then again, so is the haughtiness of New England football fans, most of which couldn’t have spelled NFL before Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe arrived in 1993 and started building the foundation upon which Bill Belichick and Tom Brady turned into the greatest run the game has ever seen.
For nearly two decades it has been a foregone conclusion that the team that calls Foxboro home will not only win the AFC East, but they will also do so with the ease of a sixth-grade bully taking lunch money from underclassmen.
Nevertheless, to paraphrase longtime New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling, all good things in life come to an end. It’s a lesson that the majority of prima donna Pats fans are about to learn in a hurry.
It is not a stretch to say that the Patriots are where they are – again hosting a Division round playoff game in the house that Drew built, and a win away of playing for a chance for an 8th Super Bowl appearance since 2001 – due almost exclusively to Brady and Belichick.
That being said, the chances of them winning a 6th Lombardi Trophy – which should be renamed for Belichick, but never will be – are so decidedly slim because of them both.
Once again – at age 41, no less – GM Bill gave Brady a bare cupboard of offensive weapons to have at his disposal when the season began. Apparently counting on a nearly 30-year old Rob Gronkowski – who was obviously torqued off due to a trade he vetoed to the Detroit Lions in the offseason and seemingly a shell of himself as the year rolled on – to again be the best tight end on the planet and assembling a group of Flotsum and Getsum for wide receivers, he expected TB12 to make chicken salad out of chicken excrement as he has for the majority of his 19-years of his career in New England.
However, even the greatest to ever play the quarterback position in the history of the game of football has his limitations. And much to the dismay of Pats fans, not even Tom Brady can pull a golden egg out of his ass at this NFL advanced age.
The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
Should the Brady/Belichick tandem for the ages find a way to get past a superior opponent in the Chargers on Sunday, it is merely a stay of execution. If they have to go to Kansas City to face the high-powered Chiefs in perhaps the most difficult place of visiting teams to play in football, it could result in a crucifixion, one of which has not been seen in New England since Hall of Famer lineman John Hannah said that then QB Tony Eason should be wearing a dress in the 1980s.
(Quick apology to 75% of current Pats fans who didn’t know that New England has had a football team since 1960.)
For the first time in a long time, Belichick’s boys are closer to the bottom of the eight teams remaining in the playoff picture after Wild Card Weekend. Their defense is toothless. Their offense is getting fit for dentures. And their sure shot Hall of Famers are showing their age.
Whether you like it or not Pats fans, the party is pretty much over.
Due to poor drafting, bad decisions on free agents, and an arrogance that is unprecedented in the history of professional sports, the hammer is about to fall hard on the franchise that has had some of the greatest lows and unseen highs in NFL history.
But, hey, the Josh Daniels and Danny Etling era is likely to bring back memories of the Dick MacPherson and Hugh Millen days of the early 1990s, right? I’m pretty sure most of the current Patriots sycophants will have to use the Google machine to catch that last line.