The New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl.
They won the AFC with one of the worst defenses imaginable, made of practice squad rejects and wide receivers. They had a paltry running game and an aging offensive line. The wide receiver corps found itself relying almost solely on a single player, while the tight ends picked up the rest of the lack. Most importantly, Tom Brady didn't get any younger either.
For a Boston/New England sports fan, one always has to remember there's always next year. The title droughts, the chokers and all the underachievement take their toll on a fan's faith, but the teams stay local for a reason; we love them for it.
Underdogs can never lose. Like a third world country making it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, Boston has every excuse to go crazy at any success. Boston isn't the world's largest city by a long shot, and still it makes major impacts on sports and culture. New England is the only region ever to win titles in hockey, basketball, football and baseball within a single decade. Somehow, the fans make magic.
We believe in Brady and Bill Belichick. No matter how ugly things get, we will stand with them. They got the ball rolling for Boston and keep pushing it onward. To Boston, they are not just player and coach, but legends and gods, myths to tell the grandchildren about.
And the Patriots have much better chances of success next year.
The AFC East is crumbling, as the Jets lose their spark and the Bills continue to fall under expectations. Miami may or may not get Peyton Manning, yet the team is deficient in the whole of its offense, boasting an average rushing attack and a weak offensive line. The fact the Patriots didn't sweep the division in 2011 is astounding.
The rest of the AFC is undergoing a major power shift. The Steelers and Colts are both ready to enter rebuild mode, while the AFC West has become, well, the NFC West. Only one team seems to be ready to contend, and it is the injury-prone Houston Texans.
With four draft picks in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft, the Patriots are in a prime position to add all of the necessary components to patch up the team. Defensive ends, cornerbacks and wide receivers have entered in surplus, the majority of whom are projected as late first- to second-round picks. Right where Belichick wants them.
Admittedly, there are some key players who are soon to become free agents. Mainly, they are Wes Welker. Yes, I know he is one man, but he is worth multiple roster spots. After his re-signing, the Patriots can choose whether or not to keep the unneeded Dan Koppen, Deion Branch, and Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis.
Looking forward, the Patriots are perfectly poised to make another Super Bowl run. The gears are spinning in the right motion.
The real question is, how long the gears will last?