The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl. I am very excited. I did not expect them to make it this year, because of how porous their defense was. In fact, as recently as a few weeks ago, I was saying I did not want the Patriots to even make it to the Super Bowl, because I figured they would be playing the Green Bay Packers or the New Orleans Saints, and would get blown out in such a matchup. But you never can predict what will happen in football. And the Patriots are going to be heading into the Super Bowl in two weeks as the favorites to win. But to win it, they will have to go against a good New York Giants football team that matches up well with them.
This is going to be a tough couple of weeks for me. I still can’t properly deal with what happened in Super Bowl XLII. As far as I’m concerned, the game never happened. I treat the 2007-2008 NFL season and playoffs like I do the 1994 baseball season. I just say that the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season, breaking all kinds of records. And then I choose to believe that as soon as the season ended, there was a strike and there was no Super Bowl, just like there was no 1994 World Series in baseball. It’s a coping mechanism and it helps me get by without having to think about the football atrocities I witnessed.
But now I am forced to acknowledge my Voldemort. I am forced to recognize the game-that-must-not-be-named. Not just because it will be all over the news for the next two weeks and there will be countless replays of the worst moment of my life as a sports fan. But I will have to acknowledge it because I want revenge and redemption. Any true competitor wants to beat the best in the game to be champion. And while San Francisco or Green Bay or New Orleans would have been exciting matchups, I think any true Patriots fan wanted to meet the Giants in this Super Bowl because of Super Bowl XLII. We want another shot at them. I don’t know what the outcome will be this time. The Patriots could get their revenge or they could lose. We’ll see in two weeks time. But they’ve got a shot at it at the very least, and that is all you can ask for.
One theme that Pats fans have been talking about a lot in the last week or so is that this playoff run is shaping up to be a “Godfather scenario” where the Pats settle all family business, Michael Corleone-style. The Broncos beat the Patriots in 2005 to hand Brady his first playoff loss. The Ravens handed Brady and Belichick their worst playoff loss and the team’s worst home playoff loss in 2009. Now they have vanquished both of those opponents. All that remains is the Giants. And they will have the chance to do it in Indianapolis, on the home field of their nemesis, Peyton Manning and the Colts. The only thing missing from this playoff run is the New York Jets, but even the fact that they didn’t even make the playoffs is sweet and savory.
I don’t know what will happen in two weeks. I do know that, win or lose, another Super Bowl appearance further validates the Patriots and this amazing run of dominance they have had. Tom Brady will be playing in his fifth Super Bowl. Only John Elway can say that. The next two weeks are going to be torturous for me, but I hope the end result is worth it. And even if it isn’t, it won’t be as devastating as XLII. So I got that going for me, which is nice.