Monday, December 16, 2013

Bob Lobel: Mediocrity Rules in the NFL and Boston Stays Strong

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

Seems pretty obvious that the NFL has moved in two opposing directions at once, to the delight of the game makers. 

The good teams are getting worse, the bad teams are getting better, and both are headed for a collision in the wonderful and long sought after world of average. Not much worse these days than being average, yet, it seems, one and all are arriving at almost the same time.  Parity, mediocrity, average… 

The game makers, like in “The Hunger Games,” are saying any tribute can survive. The NFL is joyous that anyone, almost, can win it all going into these last few weeks. Oh what fun it is to ride a team with a chance to shock the world.  

Even our guys… Maybe especially our guys.

The receivers we count on in New England are either in a concussive state, Denver, jail in Massachusetts or a cast somewhere or the other. It leaves the petulant Tom Brady with no bullets in his gun, except the great Kent State Golden Flash, Julian Edeleman (Transparency will dictate the revelation that yours truly graduated from the very same Kent State). 

I say petulant Tom Brady because of his well documented 72-second post game presser in which the four letter S-word was thrown around the room. 

Hey, he is human. But hey, he is Tom Brady, and he is not allowed that trait of being human. He created the image, and spent almost 14 years honing it, so there is no reason for him to throw it away with a tantrum in a stupid loss in Miami. I guess having a family and kids and all the angst that goes with the holidays and families gets to all of us sooner or later.  

Actually, I love him for it. His Grinch boss is another matter. Grumpy was at his Snow White best on Sunday. His six brothers must have thought this was Grumpy at his finest, and it was. 

Very entertaining, to say the least, but that’s what happens when your Pro Bowl kicker in a career year kicks one out of bounds at the worst possible time. It’s the same play that Carolina executed in Houston in 2004, and it executed them.

On the verge of Super Bowl win, Panthers kicker John Casey kicked off out of bounds, giving a super human Tom Brady a chance to work with Troy Brown and David Givens, putting Adam Vinatieri in position for a winning field goal.  

Troy, David, Adam and Mike Vrabel are not walking through that door. On to Baltimore.

Feel any better about that one next Sunday afternoon? I don’t. But believe it or not, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I like our petulant quarterback and grumpy coach to make the Super Bowl. Legends do things like that. 

A closing note: This past Sunday night, channel 5’s Mike Lynch invited me back on his OT show. I really do enjoy that, but I’m not used to not asking the questions. The best question is one I never would have thought of, but was thrilled to try and answer. Lynchie asked if there was one snapshot in my mind to cover the last year in our town. 

Terrific question. 

Try it for yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, but immediately the image of the first Marathon bomb going off and the elderly man falling was it. I asked him his, and it was this; During the Red Sox parade, they stopped at the finish line of the Marathon, put the World Series trophy down with a “617” Boston Strong Red Sox jersey on it, and everyone went from a crowd of thousands cheering to almost silent. 

Of course, Big Papi taking ownership of the “Boston Strong” movement days after the tragedy, with the most applauded F-bomb in sports history, is up there too.

Very cool stuff. As a footnote to the above, Sports Illustrated awarded its prestigious "Sportsman of the Year" award to Peyton Manning. I have no problem with that at all. However, on ESPNs PTI, co-host Tony Kornheiser said that, while Manning was a good choice, a better one would have been the whole “Boston Strong” slogan and cultural movement  that went with it.  

Can’t argue with that at all.

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