Now that the 2011 season is almost 2 weeks in our rearview mirror, I have a few thoughts as I put a wrap on an interesting year. First, congrats to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, the BEST Green Bay QB of the last 20 years. He has as many Lombardi trophies as Brett Favre, more Super Bowl MVPs, and fewer interceptions and sexual misconduct allegations. Brett Favre, how stupid do you feel now? I know how stupid you SHOULD feel. Ok enough of that.
As far the Patriots go, I must admit I predicted a 9-7 finish at best this year. It was a good year for the Patriots, but wow what a miserable ending. I was yelling positive encouragement all the way through the first half of the game against the Jets. It worked out on the first drive after an interception as the Patriots prevented the Jets from getting into the end zone, and then the Jets missed a field goal. I thought maybe there is something to this positive thinking. I was wrong. Then came the fake punt with 1:14 left in the first half. Has there ever been a worse idea? AND NO I WOULD NOT HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA IF IT WORKED! Here's my logic. Football is like life. You have to make decisions based on situations that exist around you like the amount of time left, field position, time outs left, the score, personnel on the field, the way you're playing, what quarter it is. Then you determine if it's worth the risk. Absolutely the worst decision this side of Red Sox former manager John McNamara. You can't make a risky decision just because a player may be six inches to the left of where you think he should be. And Bill Belichick the control freak, you allow a second year player to make a decision like that on the field? Shame on you. The worst part was how DESPERATE the decision looked. Never have I seen desperation like that from the Patriots. Terrible.
Then came the fourth quarter, and Brady taking his time as the Patriots were down by two scores. It looked as though he was driving to his colonoscopy rather than the end zone. No urgency at all. Unbelievable.
Aside from that the Patriots really did have an amazing year. They were great at forcing turnovers in the regular season, and the offense was fantastic despite the midseason subtraction of one Randy Moss. A fall from grace only exceeded by Brett Favre. Sad. We could have used you Randy. Kudos to Devin McCourty. Great season. Now hopefully the Patriots will address a need I've been talking about for five years. A pass rush. PLEASE BILL. GET US A PASS RUSHER IN THE DRAFT.
Next, lets talk about treatment of fans at the games. The Super Bowl was shameful. Dallas, the NFL, and Jerry Jones should crawl under a rock. 1200 fans pay for seats and get a TV screen in the basement. Gotta love that southern hospitality. Oh did I mention Jones charged fans 200 dollars to watch a game on the screen outside, while Arod was fed popcorn in a luxury box for free? And George W. Bush gave his customary blank stare from from Jerry Jones' special perch? Nice going Dallas. Here's a tip on snow removal: plows, shovels, salt. Use them. And the NFL offers triple the face value to fans for their tickets. That's probably what they paid for the tix anyway. Forget about travel, hotel, and transportation from the airport, which apparently there was none.
Poor treatment was the rule at Foxboro too. Opening Day, a 6 year old fan was invited on to the field to take pictures and meet players. But an overzealous thug known as a Gillette Stadium employee had the kid carried off the field, screamed at the kid and the Dad despite requests from NFL officials to leave the father and his son alone. It turns out, the employee upset the father so much, the poor guy went back to his seat with his crying and devastated son, had a heart attack and died!! What's that? Didn't hear about that? Yeah the Patriots have a habit of concealing more than just injuries. The truth is I saw a ton of mistreatment this year. The picture I attached I took as I was telling a Gillette Stadium employee to take a step back, among other things, as I took the picture. As I walked up to my seat saw another fan doing the same thing, taking a picture. The stadium employee did the honorable thing and called 5 Foxboro Policemen to get that horrible picture taker. These employees are like the kid on the playground that start a fight with other kids while the teacher standing behind him. They ruin the experience for everybody.
I guess what I'm asking is how much does the NFL and franchises expect fans to endure when paying outrageous prices to sit a half mile from the action? We'll see. Brady and Belichick won't be here forever. Fear not though Pats fans, the Steelers, Jets, and Colts all went home too. Next year is a fresh start.