Anightmare is one thing; a recurring nightmare is another.
To their ever-loving distress, millions of otherwise-happy Americans had experienced Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, the Patriots, Patriots fans and Paul Revere references over and over again for years.
Those people woke up Monday to what they hope is a beautiful, enduring new reality: a view of the mountaintop that doesn’t include Brady & Co. The Eagles pulled off a stunning upset in Super Bowl LII, sending Belichick’s permafrost personality back to whichever polar region belched him out in the first place.
Do I have that about right?
Not so fast, Brady haters, Belichick despisers and Patriots detesters. Your nightmare isn’t going anywhere, which I would submit is a good thing for the national crime rate. Without the Patriots, there would be a massive hole in your lives that only first-degree assault could fill. You still have something and somebody to hang your hate on.
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You’re stuck with these people. I’m not a fan of Belichick. I am, however, a fan of great, and great will be back. I’m also a fan of good stories, and the Patriots, with all their dastardly layers, are a great story. They’re diabolically excellent.
Brady is still Brady. He’s 40, he was voted the NFL’s regular-season most valuable player and he threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards Sunday. Don’t make me look up how many times Bears quarterbacks failed to produce that yardage combined in back-to-back games.
Brady’s favorite target, superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski, said Sunday he’s ‘‘definitely going to look at my future, for sure,’’ which sounds like someone seriously considering retirement. But an athlete talking about retirement a half-hour after a devastating loss is as believable as a voicemail message from the IRS.
Belichick is, by far, the best coach in the NFL and probably in all of sports. He eats and drinks football, which is hard on the digestive system and possibly explains why he always looks like an infant concentrating on a bowel movement. What he’s actually thinking about at any one time, nobody is sure. But he seems to be able to take a group of non-stars and turn them into champions.
If Gronk does retire, here’s betting Belichick will find somebody else to step up.
You say the Patriots are losing both of their coordinators to head-coaching jobs? That’s like losing two hubcaps.
Sorry, I’ve seen the Patriots make themselves over too many times to think the end is nigh. It’s like a horror-flick tagline: They won’t stay dead!
A lot of this has to do with Brady, who has said he wants to play until he’s 45. Because of all the peripheral issues — Deflategate, his Hollywood looks, his supermodel wife, his politics, his health guru — Brady’s critics always attach a ‘‘but’’ to him. “He’s great, but . . . ’’
There is no ‘‘but.’’ No ‘‘if’’ or ‘‘and,’’ either. He’s just great. The league hasn’t seen anything like him. Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you see how he carved apart the best defense in the NFL? Does this look like a man whose play is about to drop off precipitously?
Enjoy your moment, newly formed fans of the Eagles. Just don’t get too far ahead of yourselves.
To see Belichick get outfoxed was delicious. But it doesn’t follow that it will turn into a trend.
I don’t care for his dourness and liberal interpretations of rules, laws and codes of conduct. I do appreciate excellence, though, and there’s no denying that five Super Bowl titles in 17 seasons is excellent. The title total very well could have been six if the Patriots had protected Brady better on one play Sunday.
Go ahead and hate Brady for his perfect life. Hate Belichick for being a cheater. Hate the Patriots for whatever you want. But give them this: They do great very well. And they’re not done, not as long as Belichick is coaching and Brady is quarterbacking.
The country’s love/hate relationship with the Patriots is the same love/hate relationship it has had with most sports dynasties through the years. In that way, the Patriots serve a greater purpose. We need somebody to loathe. We need an antihero. If we don’t have one, we make one. But it’s hard to make one as fiendish as the Patriots are made out to be.
Brady left the field Sunday without shaking hands with Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who was voted Super Bowl MVP. The arrogance! America reflexively headed to Walmart for torches and pitchforks.
Oddsmakers have installed the Patriots as the favorites to win Super Bowl LIII.
Come on, admit it. It’s better this way. What would you do without them?
Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.