Wasn't the season supposed to be over already? Half of WEEI's callers thought so after MVP Tom Brady's leg was headbutted by Bernard Pollard.
The rest of the league was excited as well, as we saw truly pathetic Steeler fans making tasteless t-shirts commemorating the loss of Brady for the season. ESPN called for a changing of the guard in the AFC East, wondering if the Jets were now the team to beat based on their defeat of the staunch Miami Dolphins.
Tom Jackson picked the Jets yesterday on NFL Countdown and even Boston sports homer Bill Simmons picked the Jets on his ESPN article (although I'm sure he'll say something about not wanting to jinx the Pats in his next installment).
All the stars were aligned for Brett Favre and the New York Jets to hand the Patriots a whipping at home for the first time in seven tries. However, the Patriots prevailed because they did what everyone in the stadium knew they were going to do. Play defense, manage the game, out-coach Mangini (again), and pound the ball with our squad of running backs.
Everyone knew that Matt Cassel wasn't going to throw the ball 40 times in the game. Everyone knew that Matt Cassel wasn't going to throw deep like Tom Brady. Everyone knew that Matt Cassel wasn't going to throw for three touchdowns.
But what everyone didn't know, or seemed to forget, is that this team is still the New England Patriots, the best team in the NFL from top to bottom. Bill Belichick is still the best coach in the league in terms of preparation, or any other aspect of coaching for that matter, which was clear by watching yesterday's game.
I wrote last week that for the 2008 Patriots to be successful, they had to go back to their old ways. Goal line stands? Check. Running the ball effectively? Check. Stingy Defense? Check. Kevin Faulk? Check. No Turnovers? Check. All of these aspects helped the Patriots take down the Jets and quiet a legion of overexcited Jets' fans.
The Patriots delivered a message to the entire NFL yesterday that they are still the class of the AFC regardless of who is under center. No one player has EVER been bigger than the team since Belichick took over and this writer is glad to see the 2008 Patriots playing their brand of football, while embarrassing the Jets and Eric Mangini as usual.
I bet Tom Jackson and Bill Simmons change their way of thinking next week. But then again, keep hating; it only makes the Pats that much better.