Redemption Road: The Patriots’ Super Bowl XLVI

Redemption Road: The Patriots’ Super Bowl XLVI

This past week has been incredibly surreal in the eyes for New England Patriots fans.

A great game last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens ended with play-after-play lining up just the way Bill Belichick wanted to see it go. With Sterling Moore, a player dropped by the mediocre Oakland Raiders and picked up to the Patriots’ practice squad, making the key defensive stops in the endzone that we have not seen since Asante Samuel last donned the backfield. Raven’s kicker Billy Cundiff pooching the kick from 32 yards away was an ending Myra Kraft could have only dreamed of.

Coming out of Sunday, even Tom Brady admitted that he was less than stellar. The team didn’t do anything amazing and still eeked into the Super Bowl in Indy against their 2007 Super Bowl opponent, the New York Giants.

And in a way, this 2011 run feels nothing like that 2007 run.

Sure, it’s easy to say that there’s clearly a difference in the teams. The 2007 team had won every single game that season while this season, the Patriots played no team with a winning record until the AFC title game against Baltimore.

The 2007 Patriots had an aging cast of future Hall of Famers on the defense. Eager to get one more ring before hitting the dusty trail.

The 2007 Patriots were on a revenge streak of “eff yous” against the entire NFL after being outted for Spygate. The numbers put up week-after-week were not unlike my Friday nights of Madden. Brady and Randy Moss both reached NFL records in touchdown numbers and the NFL was scared.

This year’s Patriots are not the 2007 Patriots. But you know that.

No one expected a lot from this Patriots team. A 10-11 win season was right where we thought they would be. Slipping into the playoffs, hopefully in front of the New York Jets, and possibly going a round or two.

But the SUPER BOWL?!

It’s a win-win situation for New England fans. Still a little hungover from the Bruins Cup win of June, we were all accepting of the fate of the Pats this year.

“We’re going to the Super Bowl! We’re going to the ‘Ship!” was the call of Rob “I Am Party” Gronkowski after Sunday night’s win. The stage is set and the opponent is chosen.

Anyone planning on participating on the Super Bowl betting over at TopBet should keep an eye on the line. The Patriots are currently favored by a slim margin with the over under on points being 53.

In my wildest imagination, as awesome as it is to be a Patriots fan this year (and for the last decade, at that), I cannot imagine another heartbreaking loss like 2007. Lucky for us, this team doesn’t have the same ramifications as that one.

This weekend on the radio, I heard a caller call in. An older woman, spouting about how her husband has been a fan of the team for 40 years through heartbreak and championships. She used a word that I knew immediately resonated with Pats fans, that word was “proud”. She was proud of the team for overcoming a lack of expectation. She was proud of what the team has done for the legend of Myra Kraft and the Kraft family.

And I couldn’t agree more.

This 2011 Patriots teams reminds us of what we love about our sports teams. Take the Celtics of late out of this, our favorite championships were executed with home-grown talent and by taking risks on guys the rest of the league didn’t believe in anymore (IE the 2004 Red Sox, Patriots of the early 2000s, the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Bruins).

This year’s Boston Red Sox is a team of overpaid, overvalued, whiny players who are coming off the most disgusting end to a season and off-season New England has seen in a long time.

This Patriots team is not your 2012 Red Sox.

They are likeable.

They are working class.

They have guys playing whatever position Belichick tells them in that day even if they played QB in college, drafted as a wide receiver, return kicks, and need to be put in as a DB for the entire game. Thank you Julian Edelman.

So, despite a season that has culminated in a lot of debate over their value and whether each win was good enough or the defense was good enough or if Brady still has it, the Pats have landed in Indy.

Revenge is not the key word in Super Bowl XLVI. The word is redemption.

This is not a Super Bowl about avenging the loss to another team. The Patriots simply don’t care what other teams, even if it is against their own team. These Patriots have pride and with pride on the line, redemption for the name of everything in Foxboro is the key.

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