Pondering the Pats

Photo from Boston.com

This is a blog about being a first-time dad. I know this. But since it’s my blog and I can do whatever I damn well please, I’m starting a weekly segment where I can dissect the most recent Patriots game and get my sports fix. And since I know many of you out there are sports fans as well, you can join me if you’d like.

Yesterday was great. We got back from PA around noon so I had time to psych myself up for the game with my dad, who had the day off. Three generations of Gouveia men sat down and watched the Patriots 2001 Super Bowl dvd and it was great. The Snow Game, the ass whooping we put on the Steelers in the AFC Championship game and finally the Silence of the Rams and Vinatieri’s 48-yard game-winning field goal. I know I’ve said this before, but I CANNOT WAIT until Will is old enough to go to games. It’s going to be great.

Also, as many of you know, I’m lucky in that my dad has had season tickets to the Patriots for more than 30 years. That means I got to go last night! It was special because it was Tom Brady’s first game back from an injury in the season-opener last year, and they were honoring the best Patriots from the team’s last 50 years.

But once the game started I grew concerned. I was sure — and I mean POSITIVE — that the Pats would come out throwing. I’d thought they’d unleash Tom Brady and pummel the Bills secondary. I was wrong. Instead, we came out running the ball and throwing lots of underneath passes and screens. I thought the play calling was suspect to begin with, but then they ran Maroney left on 4th and inches and were predictably stuffed. The Patriots NEVER fail on 4th down. I was worried.

Actually, worried is an understatement. I was screaming obscenities, lamenting the fact that we were losing to a 2nd tier QB, a back-up running back and a slew of Bills who had never even played a professional regular season game before. The thought of being 0-1 and heading to the Meadowlands next week was making me physically ill, as was the coaching and play calling up to that point.

That worry continued all the way to the 4th quarter, when victory looked impossible because the Patriots were trailing 24-13 with 5:32 left in the game. But they still had three timeouts and Brady began leading them down the field in the cool, calm and collected manner we’ve all come to expect. And finally — FINALLY — the offense started hitting on all cylinders. With 2:06 left Brady found TE Ben Watson down the middle on a post route for a touchdown. And there was life.

Now the question was go for an onside kick or kick it away. With three timeouts remaining, Belichick opted to kick away. A wise decision. The Buffalo returner inexplicably took the kick out of the end zone and Brandon Meriweather/Pierre Woods made him pay. He fumbled and kicker Stephen Gostkowski — THE KICKER!!!!! — recovered the football.

From there, it was vintage Brady. He hit Watson for another touchdown on the VERY SAME PLAY as before, but this time it was even more impressive because Watson was covered and Brady had to throw it to his back shoulder where Watson made a FANTASTIC catch.

Although we pulled this game out of our asses and a win surely is a win, I’m concerned.

First of all Jerod Mayo was hurt and we don’t know how bad. He’s the captain of the defense now and to lose him is huge. Gargantuan! Mammoth even. And let’s face it, the defense wasn’t great. They let Edwards throw for two TDs. They let backup RB Fred Jackson be very effective running the ball and as a receiver. They did a good job of minimizing Terrell Owen and Lee Evans, but what’s going to happen when the Pats face a real offense?

Also, I heard a lot of Pats fans bitching about the costly penalty on Adalius Thomas for roughing the QB but that was the right call. The whistle had clearly blown and Thomas then slammed Edwards to the ground. It was a dumb play by Thomas who should know better.

Now I have to add a non-game related tidbit that only the people at the game could see.

Apparently Kraft Sports Productions has an in-house broadcasting team and they had this woman Kristina Akra doing live, in-game announcements during breaks. She was AWFUL!!! First of all she was talking way too fast and because of the PA system no one could understand what the hell she was saying. Second, her voice is obnoxious. She sounds like a chipmunk being tortured. Why the Krafts would pay this woman to torture fans of one of the most expensive tickets in the NFL is beyond me.

But by the third quarter, fans had enough. When she popped on the jumbo tron for the final time the entire stadium started to boo her. It was actually kind of amazing to see 68,000 fans become collectively irritated and irate at the exact same time and turn on someone in unison. You could see Akra smiling nervously as she tried to continue through the boos but they ended up cutting the segment short before the fans in the front row tarred and feathered her.

The Krafts better realize that the real fans don’t care about the fact that our football stadium is now a friggin mall. We don’t want to see movie times scrolling across the scoreboard during games. We don’t care about Bass Pro Shop and all the places we can shop when the last whistle is blown. We want football and that’s it! No annoying and screechy blonde bimbos unless they’re carrying pom poms and bending over. No “Fan Cams” showing idiots cheering when the Patriots are down by 11 with 5 minutes left in the game. It’s football for God’s sake!!!! You want to show something on the screen, how about more replays of big plays instead of the Papa Gino’s Delivery of the Game!?!

This is an organization that charges upwards of $5,000 just for a season ticket holder to transfer the name on the season tickets. You heard me. Just to change the friggin name on the account costs $5,000 per ticket. Parking costs $40. Beers cost $8. Our tickets are around $100 per seat, and we have the cheap ones in the end zone. Is it too much to ask that for three hours you keep annoying chicks off the big screen and focus on all things football??

Next week I travel to New Jersey to watch the Patriots take part in an annual tradition that consists of my team tearing apart the J-E-T-S SUCK! SUCK! SUCK! from limb to limb.

GO PATS!

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7 thoughts on “Pondering the Pats

  1. Our seats are $128 each, to be exact. And if I wanted to transfer the seats to your name or your brother;s name, they will gladly let me – for $3,500 each. That’s how they treat a season ticketholder for 35 years.

    But I still keep going…and I always will…so why wouldn’t they?

  2. It was a hell of a night. I’m emotionally exhausted, but I can’t wait for Sunday!

    And I agree with you on the Kristina Akra thing. They need music or something to pump up the crowd during time-outs and commercial breaks. The crowd gets too quiet and some of our fans are apathetic enough as it is and don’t make noise. Having someone spew advertising information is not going to help.

  3. Hey Sarah: Whoops, sorry to Kraft-bash there. I forgot! But I think I spotted you last night on the field before kickoff. Were you wearing a polka dot dress?

    I agree, some of it is the fans being apathetic. A lot of the real fans have been priced out of the stadium and as a result I have a woman behind me who talks about how her husband doesn’t touch her anymore when I’m trying to focus on a big third down play. Too many fans think the latest jersey or an all-leather Patriots coat makes them a real fan. That’s why it sounds crazy, but with each passing year I miss that old shithole Sullivan Stadium more and more.

    By the way, you’re not going to the Meadowlands are you? I’m trying to find some Pats fans I can hitch a ride with to New Jersey early Sunday morning.

  4. I couldn’t believe it when that guy returned the kickoff and fumbled. It’s like, don’t take that risk when you’ve got the game pretty much sealed up.

    Of course, I’m glad he fucked up, because it led to the Pats winning the game.

  5. The Thomas roughing call was questionable at best. How many times have QB’s gotten away on plays like that? (Eli in the Super Bowl or 500 different plays by Big Ben). The call against Wilfork was terrible though.

    I disagree about one thing though, the Bills returner deciding to run the ball out. Obviously the fumble devasted the Bills chances. You can’t say it was “inexplicable” though, because it was the right decision at the time.

    He was the best returner in the league last year and there was 2:06 left on the clock. If he downs it then the Pats have 3 timeouts and the 2:00 warning. If he runs it out and wastes 6 seconds (which he did before the fumble), it would have been better for the Bills by eliminating the extra stoppage of play. It was a smart move that backfired.

  6. If you take return the kick then you go down with the first wave of guys unless you have an open field. But under no circumstances do you risk the fumble. If the Bills keep the ball all it would’ve taken was one first down to pretty much put the game away. And the Bills had definitely managed to do that throughout the game.

    I agree the call on Wilfork was terrible (and should’ve been intentional grounding) but the call against Thomas was right on the money. I had enough to scream “LET HIM GO!” after the whistle blew and as soon as he tossed him I knew the flag was coming. You can wrap a guy up and you can bring a guy down, but when you have the QB you have to avoid driving him into the ground because the NFL protects the QB at all costs (except when Bernard Pollard dives into Tom Brady’s knee apparently). It was a dumb play by Thomas.

  7. No need to censor yourself on my account! I agree with your comments on the game presentation (except for the fan cam – I love that thing).

    And yes, I was wearing a black & white polka dot dress last night. I was going to come over to try and find you to say hi, but we had a pretty big group and I had to stay put to help out the boss. Let me know when you are going to be there next.

    Sorry, won’t be at the game next weekend – I’m planning to watch it from my couch!

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