The Patriots are great. Deal with it.

The stadium scene.
Dec. 31 2007 10:56 AM

Undefeated, Unloved, Undaunted

The Patriots are great. Deal with it.

(Continued from Page 1)

(I have to admit that the asterisk that the New York Post slapped next to New England in the standings all year was pretty hilarious in and of itself, but the wit was only sharpened by the concept of Rupert Murdoch's tabloid's ascension to the moral high ground, where it no doubt set up a bookie joint and a gentleman's club.)

People simply are going to have to learn to deal, as the kids say. There are reasons far beyond cinematography why the Patriots put up a season that any thinking football fan ought to have been proud to witness. They are smarter than any team that's tougher, and there aren't many of those. There was a lot of woofing and yapping in the Giants game. (To say nothing of nose tackle Vince Wilfork's dead-on Moe Howard imitation through the facemask of Giant running back Brandon Jacobs.) But when it came down to the essential measure of football toughness—the ability to make the best plays at the most crucial time—New England left the Giants in the dust. This is not the first time it happened this year. Against Indianapolis, in the season's signature matchup, the Colts made mistakes in the final minutes that these Patriots simply do not make. They prepare harder and more thoroughly than other teams do. Consider the last gasp the Giants had, an onside kick after their final touchdown. Instead of laying back, the New England special teams attacked, breaking up the New York line before it could form. The ball was plucked out of the air by Mike Vrabel, a Pro Bowl linebacker who still plays special teams because he loves to do it. I do not know this, but I will guarantee you the Patriots practiced that play for the first time no later than the third day of training camp.


And the intellect extends upward into the front office. Any team in the NFL could have had Randy Moss last winter for a bag of magic beans. Only the Patriots stepped up and took what was then a considerable risk. Any team in the NFL could have seen the value of someone like Wes Welker, who caught 112 passes this season. Only the Patriots did. Now, as they go into the playoffs, they do so far removed from the plucky little underdogs who broke up the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl. They're bullies now, it seems. And targets. Everyone's against them. They've got the world right where they want it. Deal with it, world.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.