Failure Is A Relative Term

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:

Manning, Broncos deserve endless respect — and even in defeat, so do the Patriots – Chad Finn.

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.

  • latetodinner

    So it has been 2 days since the defeat. As I see it the Pats just ran out of gas. How any team can loose it’s tops 5 defensive players (Wilfork, Mayo, Kelly, Spikes and Talib), its top two offensive players (Gronk and Hernandez) and then expect to win an SB is beyond me. They gave it a good, entertaining run and I am not too upset with how the season ended…although my hatred for both Manning and Pete Carroll will make the SB a difficult game to watch. A few thoughts on the post AFC game, coverage and Pats offseason to come.

    - For the first time since Bill Belichick resigned as HC of the NYJ, I think he has publicly embarrassed himself by doing something seemingly out of character…loosing his cool. He may be right, Welker was deliberately trying to injure Talib. He may be right that the league should look into it and fine Welker. However, as head coach of a professional football team it is expected that he act more professionally than he did in that press conference. He, has not, in 14 years here lowered himself to something so petty (okay maybe he did once when he mocked Freddie Mitchell of the Eagles)…but this is the first time he brought into public a bitter feud with a player and allowed his true feelings to show through. I thought his time and place were all wrong and his comments reflected poorly on the Patriots organization.

    - Josh McDaniels needs to go. His love of pushing the ball down field rather than tailoring a game plan to the plays that are available…infuriates me. I am not blaming him for the loss…I think the Pats just did not have the horses. I am blaming him for a first half offensive plan that lacked creativity and execution ability. Going back to 2007 and his arrogance in the SB he has frustrated me. This game was no different.

    - It will be interesting to see what the Pats do this offseason to retool the offense and to some extent the defense. They are getting 7 starters back going into camp. We will see how they all bounce back from their injuries and if they can stay on the field next year (Gronk). But I think the Pats need to use some capital on TE, WR, OL and DT next year in the draft. I also think they need to bring in an FA linebacker ideally who can be a run stuffer…to replace some of Spikes snaps. They will need some anger on that defense with Spikes gone.

    - I would like to know why at least the SF examiner is not doing detailed stories on the PED issues in Seattle. That is the most under reported story of the year as far as I am concerned. It should have gotten Pete Carroll suspended by now.

    • bsmfan

      > Ped issue in Seattle.

      Try it anywhere and you get shot down. Maybe in SF, you’d have more of an appetite, but there is 0 nationally. When I’ve used the term “Seadderall Seahawks” before, you get downvoted quickly (yes, it was on Reddit), even by non NFC West fans. One has to wonder because they these 5th and 6th round draft picks playing like they’re #1 overall picks… all of the guys that they actually hit with a positive test (2x on that team vs. any other).. how many are they not testing or just not reporting?

      Again, you won’t get any traction from the national media. It’s long been clear that their “drug testing policy” is a joke and people only seem to care when someone on their rival gets hit.

      We’ve hit on this before with the double standard between the NFL and MLB. I’ve also brought up, usually with agreement, that most people don’t want to know what NFL players take to stay on the field. However, it seems like Pete Carrol has his own BALCO going up in Seattle with the stuff you see..

    • thedoctlc

      If Belichick weren’t 100% certain that Welker was trying to take out Talib he wouldn’t have said so, let alone a second time after having gone back over the film. While there’s likely no love lost between these two, this isn’t an isolated incident: remember the thousand yard stare Belichick leveled at that Cleveland DB who dove at Gronk’s knee helmet first? Maybe he was emboldened to say something on this occasion since NE is now eliminated and the league can’t penalize him or the team much at this point. Perhaps it was an opportunity to stick up for/butter-up Talib in the hopes of signing the latter at a home town discount. In any case, I think its a mistake to assume there wasn’t a purpose behind Belichick speaking his mind on this subject, especially since he had time to consider his words carefully on two separate occasions.

  • bsmfan

    Ah, “cap is crap” talk is back. It’s hilarious because I hear callers after referencing this as fact, when it’s clear F&M have zero interest in understanding it. However, it’s not just a F&M thing. I see and hear people who scream “TRADE FOR LARRY FITZGERALD!!!!!!!!”, like it’s some remote possibility that Arizona would even consider it, unless some team offered up two entire drafts of picks.

    We had 5.6m free last year:

    http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-england-patriots/cap-hit/

    We have 2.4 free for next year:

    http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-england-patriots/cap-hit/2014/

    This is before we have signed any free agents, restructured anyone, and you have to leave 3.5m-5m for rookies.

    The good writers around here are good with it but make sure you educate yourself if you’re fooled otherwise.

  • NS Webster

    Yeah, I’m thrilled that people who thought Manning would make a mistake turned out to be wrong. That showed them!

    Are you kidding? Why even write something so bizarre? All you’re doing is taking the far extreme you criticize the media for. Nobody’s “happy” that they lost, nobody’s “satisfied.” Sure, I’m not devasted or anything, and it’s not a big deal – but spare me the ridiculous rationalizations.

    They lost, it’s too bad, we move on to the next thing. As for rooting for Manning, are you rooting for Jeter now? You either root against your archrival to the bitter end, or the term has no meaning.

    Seriously, though: “there was even the tiniest bit of satisfaction in knowing that even in a Patriots loss, the local talkers were again dead wrong.” Is possibly the most absurd thing you’ve ever written, especially because you don’t typically write absurd things.

  • Brian Shea

    I made the mistaken of listening to Felger & Mazz for a couple of hours today. Why did I do that?

    Felger is back to his sticking of his head in the sand when it comes to the salary cap and roster building, criticizing the Patriots for their approach at building the team when any logical person who paid attention this year knows that it is the Pat’s roster building philosophy which helped them stay in this position when all those players went down with injuries. They do what Felger & Mazz want so much, to take the NY Jets approach at roster building, and we go 8-8 or 7-9 this season.

    Mazz declaring that he’d rather see the Pats be like the Ravens, who “load up” for one year, then go 8-8 or 9-7 the next. Do you really think that Mazz, Felger, Shaughnessy and the like in this media would accept an 8-8 or 9-7 season? What a joke. This is a team that absolutely gets killed when they go 13-3 or 14-2, I can only imagine what an 8-8 or 9-7 season would bring.

  • DryHeave

    I’m not trying to bash Peyton Manning here, I’m really not, he played a hell of a game and deserves all the credit in the world…however, just got to say it. He had perfect throwing conditions. He ALWAYS plays great in perfect conditions but seen enough evidence. He’s just not a very good cold/bad weather QB…..better pray for a warm front to come through.

    I think this is gonna be another Super Bowl where the old cliche proves true again, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS…just like the Pats beat “The Greatest Show On Turf” and the Giants beat the record setting Patriots. I think the Seahawks come out on top here…Should be an interesting game anyway.

  • bsmfan
    • Homer Greenz

      Jack’s comments were hilarious.

  • Trip McNeely

    I just find it ironic that the local media, particularly the ones that don’t cover the Patriots every day, always complain about BB’s press conferences and his canned boring answers to questions. Here he actually opens up about how he feels and gives an honest answer to a question and is being crucified for it. They’re calling him a poor loser, and saying he has an axe to grind with Welker. Listen up people you can’t have it both ways, you don’t het to rip him for not being honest and then rip him when he is honest. That is simply ridiculous.

    Oh and I would never listen to his show but when I turned on Early Edition last night there’s stupid Felger ranting about the Patriots and how they’ve never gone all in for Brady. Um Felger yes they did, it was called 2007 when they gave him two outside receivers and a slot receiver to go with his two tight ends, oh and they went out and signed the best defensive free agent available that year and went on to go undefeated in the regular season losing the SB because of one of the most ridiculous catches of all time. (And the fact that Asante Samuel let a game ending INT go right through his hands.) Saying they never went all in is revisionist history. I can still remember people saying specifically that the Patriots had loaded up to go for it.

    And one more parting shot, Jackie Mac’s “letter from Brady to BB” is the stupidest thing I’ve read since I quit reading Shaughnessy. Stick to hoop Jackie or stick to interviews, because your overall lack of actual football knowledge comes through when you try to sound like you know what your talking about.

    • bsmfan

      To add on this, yesterday, Felger was going nuts about how the team preaches ‘The Patriot Way’, which means we’d never sign guys like Richard Sherman, which has cost us games and championships. All because the folks down in Foxboro constantly tell everyone that their “Patriot Way” means they win more games.

      Yes, daily, there’s loudspeakers at Gillette broadcasting out “Patriot Way” propaganda and it’s syndicated all throughout the region. If you disagree with it, you’re summarily executed.

      He continues to distort the Welker situation so it benefits his argument against the team/BB. I’m surprised he’s not paying royalties to Borges here because he sounds like him on this topic.

      Serious question: Did someone ever burn him down there? He’s getting near Borges level. Someone, at some point, must have used this “Patriot Way” against him and drilled it home. He continues to shoehorn it into every argument for people who defend the team or BB. It’s almost psychotic to where you have to wonder.