So, after one of the biggest Sundays in recent Philadelphia sports memory, I have chosen to write about the injury of Tom Brady? Listen: you watched the games. You know that the Eagles looked solid, and that while it was good that the Phillies took 2 of 3, a sweep would have been huuuuge. You are impressed with McNabb and DeSean and are trying to ignore the fact that the Rams are an absolutely terrible defensive team. You know you should be more excited about the Phillies, in the middle of a pennant push, but hey – football’s back. You’re a Philly fan; you know what you need to know about Sunday. So, I’m going a different route – I’m reaching out to a group of fans who are at a loss, who have just seen their Superbowl dreams go up in flames – New England Patriots fans.
If you don’t know by now (Editor’s note: And if you checked the links this morning, you know that even the Pope is aware of this), Tom Brady is done for the season. Cooked. Fin. I normally wouldn’t sympathize with New England fans. They fall in there with New York fans, D.C fans, Pittsburgh fans, Dallas fans and LA “fans.”
However, I am willing to ignore my normal stand of no compassion for New England/Boston fans because of their significant loss. I mean, not only did Patriots fans just lose their best player for the season, but they lost him in week one! They essentially lost any realistic Superbowl hopes at the very beginning of the season, a terribly anticlimactic and painful development for any NFL fan. Part of why we watch is because we hold out the hope that, however faint it may be, this could be our year. This could be the year we win it all. At some point, most fan bases realize their team doesn’t have a shot, but at least you get a couple of weeks to dream a bit.
And consider this – every year until Belichick and Brady retire, the Patriots will have to be considered a Superbowl threat. So it wasn’t as though Patriots fans had to realize the inevitable a bit earlier then they hoped; this Patriots team was still talented enough to win it all, and after the way last year ended for them, had a whole hell of a lot of motivation. Instead, many “experts” think they’ll now have to fight just to win their division. You know, the rugged AFC East, where the next best team is the Jets. Oh, that’s just painful.
So, with that in mind, I offer some tried and true Philadelphia coping mechanisms.
1. Give up all hope. Accept that your season has gone to hell. Now Pundit, I’m sure you are saying, that just sounds pessimistic. Maybe, but it goes deeper that that. If your team does start playing well again, it will be an awesome surprise. If they don’t, at least you were ready for the pain. It’s almost impossible to do this, but it will either keep you sane or make for a pleasantly exciting season.
2. Forget Tom Brady exists. Listen, Patriots fans, we know that Tom Brady was the love of your football lives. You’ll compare every quarterback you have ever had to him again. He’ll always be your first true love, we get it. But…think of it as though he’s taking an extended trip, like he’s going to Europe for a semester or something. You’re just on a break, that’s all. Whether its Matt Cassel or Chris Simms or Doug Flutie, they deserve a chance, they may be some fun, and this was how you met your love in the first place, wasn’t it?
3. Take pride in being a Patriots fan. Philly fans have this down to a science – we overcome constant failure and disappointment by remembering that we’re Philly fans. Philly fans show up. Philly fans root and scream and continue to care, even if we know we’re probably sunk. No team is going to change the kind of fans we are – our teams may consistently fall short, but we are always real, passionate, and obsessive fans. It means something to call yourself a Philly fan – it’s a commitment you don’t back down from.
4. Remember that you still have Randy Moss. He’s the most entertaining receiver to watch in the history of the NFL. He makes catches that I couldn’t have imagined before I saw him make them. He’s absolutely awesome to watch. Every time Donovan McNabb gets hurt, Eagles fans everywhere say a quick prayer, thanking God for Brian Westbrook. In Randy you must trust.
5. Do everything you can to win your fantasy league. It’s a healthy outlet to channel your pain. Scour the waiver wire. Propose countless trades. Mix and match lineups. Buy NFL Sunday Ticket if it helps. The best part of fantasy football is how engaged you become with the rest of the NFL. So, if the Patriots sink, don’t fret – just fantasy. Trust me, it will help.