Ask any Patriots fan you know, and they'll tell you what the true definition of heartbreak is. If by now you haven't learned about what happened with them during last year's NFL season, then hit the little "x" in the upper corner of this window, because it's obvious that sports don't interest you.
However, I'll summarize the season for those of you who missed out on the "festivities".
The 2007 season started for New England at the NFL Draft. The Patriots, in a surprise move, traded a fourth-round draft pick to Oakland for WR Randy Moss. Fans all over New England were intrigued, surprised, curious, and reluctant.
They had heard the horror stories about Moss: dogging it in Oakland when the team played subpar and mooning the fans at Lambeau Field. They had heard about his arrogant attitude, and figured him to be Terrell Owens v. 2.0.
"Randy Moss: Team Cancer for Hire".
Many wondered why a team that watched its defense hand a first-half lead to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship the previous year would feel the need to go after a wide receiver. I was one of those people, admittedly. But Moss was a Patriot, and I didn't think that it would mean too much in the long run.
Boy was I wrong.
On opening day, you could tell that this tandem was something special. The very first time Brady hooked up with Moss, there seemed to be such chemistry, so much so that it looked like this team would once again find itself in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won that game against the Jets, 38-14. And they won the next game, and the one after that.
They went ahead and won the next 15 games on their schedule, going 16-0 in the regular season and "the Golden Boy" Tom Brady dumped a few more touchdowns to Randy Moss, 22 more, to be exact.
Brady himself would finish with a sterling 50:8 TD/INT ratio, and the Patriots seemed a lock for perfection, until the Super Bowl anyways.
As everyone knows by now, the New England Patriots are perhaps one of the biggest choke stories in the modern world. They were unable to muster a win against the Giants, whom they barely pulled out a win against in Week 17 just a month prior.
The Patriots' offensive line disappeared that night, and surprisingly enough, Randy Moss (who we New Englanders, for SOME reason, quickly warmed up to) was the only player besides Wes Welker that showed up to play that day.
So how could New Englanders be spoiled after that? Surely the Red Sox fans in our area weren't spoiled after their famous failures against the Yankees, Mets, and others in the past? It's true, they were not.
But the Red Sox didn't go 162-0 before blowing the World Series either. They were, for the most part, always an average team that just didn't have that one extra piece. The 2007 New England Patriots had ALL the pieces. The star quarterback, the playmaker wide receiver, the clutch runner, the short threat, and the hard-nosed (albeit aging) defense. And they couldn't get it done. What a shame.
The thing that spoils us is that, while we know it will not happen again, every single New Englander believes in the possibility of 19-0. No Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, Cowboys, Packers, Rams, Vikings, or any other team's fan will think they can go 19-0 this season.
But the Patriots' fans do think so. Christ, deep down, I believe in it. But it won't happen, and it's a shame. If the Patriots rebound and go 13-3 for the next three years and win a Super Bowl every year, it will never be as good as 19-0 COULD have been.
No matter what happens, 19-0 will always be the Buckner play, the Immaculate Reception, the Tuck Rule, the Kirby Puckett game: that one moment in sports that everyone thinks can happen again, long after its time has passed.
The Patriots will NOT go 19-0 this year.
I've decided this by myself (aren't you guys proud?). I don't expect them to, nor do I want them to. But when the Patriots lose their first regular season game this year (at NY, Week Two, BOOK IT), a pang of disappointment will go across New England and last for a few minutes for some, hours for others, and days for the dedicated.
But when Bill Belichick comes back and rebounds from the loss, out-schemes the next team they face, and gives his postgame interview in his best Ben Stein voice, it'll all be OK.
When Brady takes the attention off himself and compliments Moss or Welker or the defense, everything will be OK. When we win the AFC East and go into the playoffs, sweating only the playoffs and not history, everything will be OK.
And if by some miracle chance we go to the Super Bowl, play hard, and win the Lombardi Trophy in true New England Patriots style, everything will be OK.