Monday, September 8, 2008

Pats home opener 2008:Black Sunday

The nation was primed and ready for a generous dose of it's home team. The weather could not have been more perfect, with bright sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures, the fans were eager to "kiss and makeup" with their New England Patriots. On this day the stadium stood proud, glistening, with its new counterpart, Patriot Place, safely ensconced just outside the playing field, a beacon of Patriot dreams and all that is possible. Fans dressed in team shirtsleeves filed the stadium, giddy with anticipation, eager to wipe the memory of their last game into the past where it belonged. It was good to be back in their presence and to be part of the game we love, filled with the hope and promise of a new season. Season ticket holders shook hands and welcomed each other back, making predictions and placing bets on this season's winning record. Spirits were high and if you were a member of Patriots Nation all was good with the world. After a goose bump producing video montage on the jumbo-tron of last years almost perfect season, our heroes took to the field and the record consecutive sellout crowd welcomed them with a deafening applause. A new banner hung from Gillette Stadium's rafters commemorating a 16-0 perfect regular season and three Army jets, perfectly synchronized in their flyby overhead, set the stage for the afternoon's headliner. It was a dream for every fan of Patriots football....until it became a nightmare that we wanted desperately to be awakened from. Not too long into the first quarter as the face of the franchise, our very own superstar, was cut down on a play grasping at his knee, did our nightmare begin, and we realized that we were awake. Everyone was watching the ball that he threw to Randy Moss which resulted in a questionable call of a fumble. Most of the fans were whining about the play when they noticed Brady was down. A few minutes passed and a quiet hush fell over the packed stadium as Brady's fate hung in the balance. Much to our relief, after a few excruciating minutes, he got up and hobbled off to the field, but the relief was short lived. We watched in shock and horror as he continued walking past the bench and disappeared down the stairs into the mysterious depths of the stadium. Disbelief registered on the faces of all those who had moments before been filled with joy and hope. Fans turned to each other looking for reassurance. He would be fine. He would be back for the second quarter, they are just being cautious with our boy, we told each other. As the replay was shown over and over on the jumbo screen, we collectively knew it didn't look good for Tommy, but no one dared voice what they were thinking. When Brady didn't return to start the second half we knew that the nations worst fears have been realized. Something was seriously wrong with our golden boy. Just like that it became Black Sunday and it made you realize how fragile life is and how it all can change in an instant. Of course the show must go on and the team rallied and won the game, but somehow it didnt really matter. The wind had been knocked out of the sails of Gillette Stadium and its fans and we were functioning on auto-pilot. Moss said in his post game press conference, "Every time the crowd went crazy, I would look over to the tunnel. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I kept thinking and hoping it was him and when it wasn't I couldn't help but be disappointed." Well said Randy. We share in your disappointment. When the grim news was reported today that Brady would miss the rest of the season due to his injury I was again in disbelief. How did this happen, why did this happen? And now what will become of the team? Lets just hope that our other superstar, Coach Bellicheck, has a master plan. Something tells me he does. I am sure Bill has a plan B. You dont get to where he is, with all those championships uner his belt, without one. Bill is far too smart and his team is far too good to move forward without an alternative plan. He will go to his play books and put his plan to action. He may already have a play book for a non-Brady offense . Its probably filed on the shelf under the title Black Sunday.

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