After the dust settles and you can step back and reflect on the past six months, it becomes slightly – ever so slightly – easier to accept what we witnessed Sunday afternoon.
How did they even get this far?
While there will be plenty of “failure” talk and the usual suspects will be grousing about the lack of “weapons” on offense, the team that took the field went as far as it could possibly go. That automatically makes it better than some of the previous editions. You can nitpick about personnel decisions, but hindsight is always 20/20.
The Broncos and specifically Peyton Manning, stepped up big time and took what was theirs. If you watched any of Seattle’s win over San Francisco, there has to be a piece of you hoping that Manning can shut up the yappers of Pete Carroll’s crew. After hearing for weeks locally about how we could expect Manning to make the crucial mistake or how he wouldn’t be able get his team past Tom Brady and the Patriots, there was even the tiniest bit of satisfaction in knowing that even in a Patriots loss, the local talkers were again dead wrong.
It was a fun ride, with some of the unlikeliest and most entertaining victories we’ve seen, as well as some very satisfying late season wins. While there is no doubt that we’re approaching the end of the Brady/Belichick run, it is not over yet, and there was plenty of young talent on this team that took steps forward this season, and should take on even more next year. There may be questions about Brady’s ability to get it done by himself, and that likely will be a focus during the offseason.
My hope is that we can appreciate this team for how they continued to play each week despite what the injury list looked like or what the scoreboard looked like.
While I see numerous columns about there about how it is time to make massive changes because the “magic” isn’t there anymore, or that this “formula” doesn’t work, or whatever, I’m choosing today to just look at a few columns which reflect what I think is the right way to look at things here:
It leads with a photo of Peyton Manning, and I can’t help but smile looking at it. I feel good for the guy. Yes, he gets over-the-top adulation from the national press, and his previous playoff failures seem like they’re brushed under the rug by most, but this guy has been through a lot the last few years, his career was almost over, and from some reports, it might be closer to ending than we thought – but he put together a record season, and the look of pride, accomplishment and yes – relief – on his face is perfect. You gotta feel good for the Goober.
Patriots magic act went up in smoke in Denver – Tom E Curran says that this team had us fooled.
For once, fulfillment in finish to Patriots season – Erik Frenz says that this time, the Patriots lost to a team that they should’ve lost to, and that is strangely fulfilling.
Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.
We’ll jump right into the offseason this afternoon and Chris Warner take a look at the Shrine Game.
The Celtics will make what will likely be their only national TV appearance tonight, as they take on the Heat in Miami. NBA TV picked up the game (which will still be seen locally on CSNNE) as part of their NBA Fan Night.