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I am reminded of an iconic ‘Peanuts’  comic strip that was first published on December 22, 1962. It depicts a rejected Charlie Brown and Linus, seating on the curb, elbows on knees, chins in their hands, sitting silent for three panels. Finally, in the fourth, Linus jumps up, throws his head back and yells, “Why couldn’t McCovey had just hit that ball 3 feet higher!” The reference is, of course,  to the screeching line drive that San Francisco Giant great Willie McCovey hit, with runners in scoring position, right at Yankee second basemen Bobby Richardson, that ended the ’62 World Series. I have to believe that if Charles Schulz was still alive today, he might be tempted to reprise that particular strip but replace it with something to the effect, “Why couldn’t Welker had just held on to that stupid ball!”or “Why couldn’t Brady had just thrown the stupid ball a foot lower!”

One way or the other, I think you get the idea. Whenever you lose a close game, particularly one that you had a  late lead in, the press and fans are going to look for that one moment that could have change the outcome.The debate is likely to linger as to whether or not it was a bad throw or dropped ball,  but Welker has made far too many clutch catches to be be given a pardon this time. Actually, that is what makes it so painful. He has so consistently made that catch, why not one more time!

Did the “Bradying” internet craze (pictured above) actually start with Charlie Brown in 1962?

“Teddy Ballgame”, who I like to consider my “spiritual uncle”, refused to tip his hat to the fans, or to the press with whom he often feuded. It wasn’t until ‘old number 9’s’  very last years that he finally relented. So, it seems appropriate that my cap stays firmly on my head, and that I refrain from giving the almost overconfident New York Football Giants too much credit for the victory.

I will, however, point out one thing I got totally right. In my lasting posting, when I predicted the final score, I was hoping for at least a 10 point Patriot lead. My concern was that given the slightest window of opportunity, Eli would find a way to pull it out, and he proved me right. One thing I got wrong was that the Giants luck did not run out. Seriously, who calls intentional grounding that early in the Super Bowl of all games! The points from that safety, plus the time of possession it caused, were major factors in the outcome. I will acknowledge, though,  that just getting some of the breaks to go your way is only part of the equation. Couglin’s crew has become very good at taking advantage of those breaks, and that’s winning teams do.

One thing I was rather sad to be wrong about was that Kevin Faulk was not activated for the game. I was very hopeful that what was likely to be his final game, would be a spectacular one. He has contributed a great deal  to the Patriots, both on the field and off, so he certainly deserved a big finish. Boston has not had a Championship Victory Parade in something like eight months, so it would have been nice to have seen Faulk in the lead duck boat.

Will the Patriots draft a guy like Fletcher Cox to provide more of an impact up front? How about a DB or a backup QB?

I can’t help but feel that the Pats were lacking that extra impact player on defense. Yes, Vince Wilfork is still a monster, and Jerod Mayo is becoming a team leader, but I feel they need another Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, or Rodney Harrison. Someone to make that big stop on the final drive and “seal the deal”. There has been conjecture that Belichick did not go after Clay Mathews in the draft beacuse he wasn’t enough of a “system guy”. I have to wonder if he still feels that way. Although it is felt that the their secondary is young with a positive upside, I expect they will be looking to upgrade in the draft. Supposedly this is a good one for DBs, so it could happen. While they are at it, adding a deep threat might help the offense a bit. I’m not sure if that’s what Belichick was thinking when he added Chad O., but it did not work that way. You have to believe that Randy Moss completely torched his bridges with New England, otherwise he may have been a late season addition.

Maybe it’s time the Pats start developing their next QB. I believe Brady has still got plenty left in the tank, but he has taken a real beating over the years. He has already had seven major surgeries, and likely faces more. A second QB might take some of the pressure off him and preserve the body. A great many of the lazy media types like to say that New England hasn’t won a Super Bowl since “Spygate”.  It’s interesting they use that as a point of reference and not the fact he had his knee blown out right after that.

Speaking of Brady haters, I would suggest that you watch the season 6, episode 5  of “Entourage”. You might be won over the way ‘Turtle’ was. Apparently Gisele is quite the cook…

Finally, riddle me this. People often blame Brady for the rule changes designed to protect the quarterback and it’s effect on defensive players, but Peyton and the Colts get a ‘pass’ for pushing for the rule changes regarding pass coverage. The latter has had a far more dramatic effect on the  game, leading to a great deal more offense. You don’t think it has anything to do with keeping the networks happy, do you?

Brady image courtesy of: The Associated Press
Cox image courtesy of:

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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