We’ve Seen Worse

We’ve Seen Worse

Peter Hoegler

Tom Brady walks off the field in disgust after Sunday night's loss.

Here we go again—another Boston non-victory has reached the medal platform, and we argue if it has won the gold, silver, or bronze. Indisputably, we judge our losses here in New England and seem to put them in some sort of prestigious club in which only the worst of the worst are admitted. Thus, compared to other Boston losses, is it one of the worst of the worst?  Is it up there with the non-victory in 2008, or is it just one of those ‘other’ games that we just seem to forget when asked?

When it comes to mind-numbing, catastrophic calamities, the Red Sox are the quintessence. They invented the genre in present day Boston sports—no other team creates more roller-coaster-like emotions than those  Red Sox down on Yawkey Way. For instance, they gave us the Billy Buckner and the Bucky Dent games in ‘86. Moreover, they gave us Fenway faithfuls the Grady Little Game, which sent Aaron Boone and the Yankees dancing in the night in Game 7. In spite of all this, most recently, they perpetrated the biggest collapse in baseball history, blowing a 9 1/2 game wild-card lead in September to the Rays.

The Bruins joined the club in 2010 when they blew a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers by dropping four-straight, including game 7, at home in front of the Bruin faithful. Like the Red Sox, the Bruins eased the pain by bringing the Stanley Cup back to Boston in 2011; however, it still felt pretty bad at the moment.

In recent years, the Celtics have been in the middle-ground and seem to have spared from the rest of the pack. However, there was that one time when they blew that 13 point third-quarter lead, in Game 7, at the Staples Center, against the Lakers, that inevitably sent us to bed crying. Then again, that does not even register on the Richter scale of ridiculousness in Boston Sports history. No one ever seems to mention it for it apparently becomes buried beneath the calamitous non-victories from those other teams in Beantown.

Now it is the Patriots—the would-be dynasty of the twenty-first century—which now have their share of disastrous blunders.

A merely lucid fan should recall that the non-victory in 2008 was far worse than what we saw on Sunday night. Four years ago, the Patriots were whopping favorites against the Giants. Thus, a win meant that New England could sketch their names as the best team to ever play the game of professional football. David Tyree’s helmet catch and Asante Samuel’s non- interception contributed to the torture, and it was a loss from which some fans never recovered.

However, last Sunday’s game was different. Wes Welker’s non-catch and Rob Gronkowski in-ability to perform at 100 percent was painful to watch, but the Patriots were playing with paper money. In other words, they were fortunate guys, playing with the easiest schedule in the NFL, coached by a mastermind in Bill Belicheck.

When we look back on Super Bowl XLVI, we will wonder how Eli Manning was able to defeat Tom Brady for the second time and why it was the night that Brady and Welker did not do their job. We want to stay optimistic, but it seems as though that the Brady-Belicheck era is merely over. Like the Celtics in 2010, this may have been Brady’s final chance at an unprecedented fourth ring.

The Patriots have the longest championship drought among the four New England sports franchises. But, one would be foolish to suggest that this is the worst loss in Boston’s sports history. It was not as bad as the Buckner game, and it was not nearly as bad as the Super Bowl in ’08.

Indisputably, it was denied membership in to the ‘Worst Boston Losses’ club. It was not given gold, or silver, or bronze.

Let it go—some losses are forever, not this one.