Thoughts on the Patriots
I watched the Patriots come back to beat the Giants Saturday night from Mahoney's Pub with a bunch of my friends. It was a very good atmosphere to watch a game. Mahoney's has the coldest beer in Worcester and the TV's are all HD.
My friend Sean was the only person rooting for the Giants in the bar. Since Sean is a football coach and part-time bartender at Mahoney's nobody gave him too much grief (except me - I gave him all I could muster - but I didn't go over the top since he was my ride home). It is well known that the Giants have been Sean's team pretty much his whole life - so we all just considered it natural for him to be rooting for the Jints. Sean even had his new Giants hat on which he got for Christmas.
Now the Patriots not only go into the playoffs with a perfect record - they go into the playoffs as the most ready team in football. They are the most ready because 5 of their last 6 opponents have approached the game with the Patriots as if it was a playoff game (I'm not counting the Miami game). The Giants certainly treated this game with playoff level intensity. They rested no-one and everyone gave their all. I have to think that will help the Giants against Tampa Bay. Yes - the Giants lost a couple of players to injury but the confidence gained by the team of taking the best team in football to the final bell will more than offset that. The Giants need Eli Manning to be confident going into the playoffs and this game gave him that confidence.
You would think that with Boston College winning a bowl game on Friday and the Patriots winning an exciting game on Saturday that all would be roses for Boston sports fans. The realist in me has to point out that even though BC and the Pats both won - neither covered the betting lines. So I'm sure that there are a number of fans out there who will start 2008 in a hole because they took BC and then tried to win the money back by taking the Pats. Hopefully those folks used the Celtics as their bailout team.
In an interesting twist of fate - at Mahoney's a bunch of us have a pool on the Patriots. Ten guys at $10 per guy with the winner getting the $100. Each guy gets a number (0-9) drawn each week. The person who has the last number of the combined final score wins the money. This week I had 0 and who should have the 3 (38-35 was the final score)? None other than the only guy rooting for the Giants in the entire bar - my buddy Sean.
The TV audience for the game was huge and a big win for the NFL Network - just as I predicted.