Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bob Lobel: The Non-Call Seen 'Round New England

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

The call, or rather, the non-call seems to be the only thing anyone wants to talk about.

Of course it is.

When you stay up that late knowing you have to get up for work in the morning, you at least expect something in the way of a happy ending. No happy endings in Patriot Nation last night. It was one night past a full moon in romantic North Carolina. 

Tom Brady was in the process of pulling off the finishing drive of a lifetime against a very good Cam Newton led Carolina team, with a rare thing in the NFL these days: A very good defense. But, in the final three seconds, the defense wasn’t really good. It was really lucky!

Better lucky than good is the phrase that works here. No more rehashing a four-point loss against an NFC team that you might play again in the Super Bowl. If that should happen, I’m betting that reversal of fortune will be operating, but I’m not a betting man. 

For some reason that I’m trying to understand, the NFL has lost some luster. I don’t know what it is, but unless you’re a fantasy player or a gambler, the attraction of the league that used to be the pastime that past baseball, is diminishing in stature. Maybe, it’s the “injury-to-play” ratio. Maybe it’s because, like Monday night, the officials are too involved in deciding outcomes, with crazy stuff that is so subjective it defies description. 

More conversation should have been about Brady’s miracle drive, for one, and how the Patriots defense couldn’t stop Carolina and its running quarterback, Cam Newton, for another. 

Speaking of Brady, let me say that in the “f-bomb” competition, David Ortiz leads him by a slight margin. Ortiz was holding the microphone, Brady was not. Ortiz used it as an adjective, Brady chose to make his a verb. (always much more dangerous) Plus, Ortiz’ seemed to be premeditated, while Tom was somewhat off the cuff.  Larry Bird used to own this category, with his “s-word” description of a Moses Malone thing. That lasted a long time, starting in 1981.

So bring on Denver for Sunday night, hopefully with Wes Welker recovered from his concussion.  After some of the hits he took as a Patriot, it’s difficult to believe this is his first concussion. And if anybody wanted to play here next weekend, it’s Welker.

Hard to top the standing ovation he will get upon returning to a place that didn’t want him to leave, and then the plays he will make in front of the crowd that will leave them saying, “why can’t we get players like that?”

You know that will happen as sure as you know that if you wanted a happy ending late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, you should have gone to bed in Carolina and woken up there the morning. The night was yours. 

Actually, it was much more important to be in Carolina in the morning, and be one of their fans. That outcome was far more important to that franchise than the Patriots. All we got here in the cold north is anger with no happy endings. Not something we are used to, and certainly something that can be quickly forgotten by late Sunday night in a much more important game. 

Beating Denver, and the great Peyton, would be a real happy ending.

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