The Chowdah Bowl
by Brian Freedman (Chowdah)
= Pure Joy!
Lets face it Patriots fans……We are spoiled!
That’s right! You heard me! We are spoiled rotten!
– P – O – I – L – E – D - !
It took me a while to come to this conclusion…..Was it winning 2 superbowls in the past 3 years with a chance to make it 3 out of 4? No… Was it the fact that the Patriots have won 31 of their last 33 games?...or the 21 game winning streak?…or the 20 game home streak? No…. How about the fact that our QB is a perfect 15-0 in postseason and overtime games?
I came to this conclusion after watching the Patriots dismantle both the Indianapolis Colts then the Pittsburgh Steelers to earn their trip to Super Bowl XXXIX!! Think about it…even though the Patriots accomplished everything listed above they still were not given the respect they so richly deserve. We Pats fans have become used to our beloved team constantly rising to the occasion when it needs to ..always making the right play in the 4th quarter..always playing perfect football in the postseason..WHEN IT MATTERS MOST!!!!
But here are the defending World Champions…14-2 record this year…playing at home vs. the Colts and their Deity like QB Peyton Manning. All the so called “experts”, blinded by the “Manning glare”, flew right into the bright light and predicted a Colts victory… How could the Patriots decimated secondary possibly stop this offensive juggernaut? I was amazed at the collective amnesia that befell upon our great prognosticators of the Grid Iron!
The collective crush this country had with Manning made me want to retch!
Never mind that the Pats had a 5 game winning streak against them, that Manning was 2-9 vs. the Pats and that they have never beaten the Pats in their house! How could the Patriots w/ a converted LB at Saftey (Don Davis) and a converted WR at DB(Troy Brown) possibly contain all the weapons at Manning’s disposal? I had to laugh at how the Pats defense, the same defense that went 7-1 after losing Ty Law and had given up the 2nd fewest points in the NFL, was considered to be no match for Manning.
How do you
disrespect this defense?
But it gets worse. Last year the Colts set all sorts of playoff records as they trampled over KC then Denver…We all know what happened next as Manning got his ARRSHH handed to him in Foxboro! They cried about the clutching and grabbing so much that a new rule was put into place that opened up the game and made fantasy owners dance with glee as their favorite WR’s were racking up Madden like points! It’s not enough that we beat them in the 1st game of this season… Manning makes Denver look like a
Pop- Warner team (AGAIN!) and suddenly the Patriots have no chance!
I never had a doubt about who would win this game because I looked at one stat and one stat only! A stat that was, for some reason, over looked by every so-called expert! What is this stat?..The one that, in my mind, guaranteed this game for us? It is thus:
We all know how Manning set an NFL record by throwing 49 TD’s..An incredible feat for sure. But what was over looked was the fact that in 9 games in which the colts played in a dome (8 in IND and 1 in the ATL) Manning threw 32 of his 49 TDs!! In the 7 outdoors games the Colts played he only threw for 17 TDS!! That’s an average of only 2.4 TDs in open-air stadiums!!! So where Manning was an incredible QB indoors he was merely a good QB outside of the Dome! And this is when it should have clearly come to everyone’s attention that the Patriots have a pretty decent QB on their side by the name of Tom Brady. You know him! 2 time Super Bowl MVP..perfect record in the Postseason…Yea him…Remember? Suddenly Brady was incapable of producing 2 TD’s himself after he had 3 TD passes and 335 yards in their Week 1 game??? As far as the media was concerned he might as well been J.P. Losman next to Manning’s shining star! HA!!!!
What happened was a clear lesson was taught by our Patriots…
..DISREPECT THIS TEAM!!!!
Score….Patriots 20…Dolts 3!
The Pats took a team that had a QB who just completed the best season ever, an offense with three 1000 yard receivers and had scored over 500 points and denied them even a sniff of the end zone!! It was beautiful! The dropped passes…the waffles Manning were lobbing that either sailed out of reach or landed at his receivers ankles! And of course let’s not forget the turnovers… Where the Patriots again played perfect football, the Dolts ended up looking like the Keystone Cops! Chris Berman must have loved this game cuz the Dolts kept “Bumbling..Stumbling..Fumbling”. Belichick’s game plan was perfect! He aligned his defense to take away Harrison and Wayne and he in essence “gave them” Stokely by assigning Troy Brown to cover him. The thinking here was that Stokely may get his catches but with Troy's speed he won’t get much RAC (that’s “run after catch” for you rooks). Well Troy more then held his own by spooking Stokes into dropping pass after pass!
The Collective cry of WE WERE WRONG!!! Filled the media airways and suddenly the shining star moved from Manning’s defeated brow over to the Patriots! It was on to Pittsburgh!
I had mentioned how I believe we, as fans, are completely spoiled by these Patriots, and it was the next game that proved it to me. You see it’s not enough that the Patriots just win!..WIN!!…WIN!!!! It’s how they, when beaten (A rare occasion), and given an opportunity for a rematch that season, respond by beating that team as badly as they had lost in the 1st game! That’s right. The Patriots deliver picture perfect, completely satisfying, deliciously sweet…..….REVENGE!!!!!!!
Last year the season started horrendously as the Patriots were humiliated by the BuffaLLLLo BiLLLLS, featuring their newly acquired SS Lawyer Milloy, 31-0. We here in Upstate NY had to listen ALL SEASON LONG to BiLLLLs fans about this one..even as the Pats ran away with the division and secured the #1 seed! We knew that the Pats would not take the rematch in week 16 lightly. So what happens? The Patriots exact the PERFECT REVENGE by spanking the BiLLLLs by the same 31-0!! How sweet it was!
So this season…in week 8…the Patriots took their 21 game winning streak into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers wunderkid Ben Roethlisberger…and they proceeded to lay an egg.. Dillon was out and so was Brady’s favorite WR Branch. Kevin Faulk was no match for the Steelers #1 rushing defense and the Patriots quickly became a one dimensional offensive team and had their a** handed to them! The game was totally one sided as the Steelers out rushed the Pats 221-5, forced 4 turnovers which led to 24 points and had a 24-3 lead at the half on the way to cruising to an easy 34-20 win! The Steelers would go on to win the rest of their games this season.
I work with 2 die-hard Steeler fans and boy did I hear it from them! I tried to counter with “Let’s see the Cowher led Steelers win a game that actually counts!” and “Wait until the rematch when we have both Dillon and Branch!” But it was to no avail….there was no defending their pitiful performance and all I could hope for was for these 2 teams to meet in the AFC Championship game and give me another taste of that sweet…..sweet...
Well the Football Gods heard my prayers as the Pats and Steelers were set to meet again back at Heinz field! Lunch bets were made and thanks to memories of that 31-0 thrashing of the BiLLLLS in week 16 last year I was very confident that this team would once again deliver!!
“Poetic justice” does not even begin to describe how the game unfolded! Dillon And Branch were suited up for this game and THEY CAME TO PLAY! Corey rushed for 73 hard yards (25 of them in the 3rd quarter on a beautiful run for a TD!) and kept the Steelers defense honest opening up the play action passing for Brady. Deion Branch was the difference as he hauled in 4 catches for 116 yards, caught a beautiful 60 yard TD in the 1st quarter and scampered for a 23 yard TD run on a perfectly executed reverse! The Patriots got THREE 1st half turnovers (A fumble by the bus and 2 INT’s by the kid, the 2nd of which Harrison returned for an 87 yard TD!!!) and went into the locker with a 24-3 lead! Hmmm….this sounds familiar? The Steelers made a game of it in the 3rd quarter but ultimately they were no match for the Patriots.
The end results..The Pats forced 4 turnovers which led to 24 points!!! While not turning it over themselves…and won by 14 points…
Patriots 41 Tin Foils 27!!!!
Aaaaaaaahhhhh!! I never grow tired of that sweet taste! I can only imagine how Steeler fan felt that day..dazed and confused…stunned as to how their team could be so easily manhandled in the biggest game of the year! Perhaps they could find a Colts fans shoulder to cry upon! Seeing Branch grab a white towel and waving it to the crowd was priceless!!
So…Now its back to familiar territory….SB XXXIX!!!!!
And waiting for the Patriots are another tough team..the Philadelphia Eagles! The Class of the weak NFC! The Patriots will undoubtedly be overwhelming favorites leading some to believe that the Eagles, much like the Patriots did in SB36, can somehow pull off the upset! This will not be the case for where as the Rams believed all the hype.. The Patriots will not. Hell! Carolina put up 29 points on us last year and we needed Vinatieri to again save our collective hides!
The Pats will show nothing but respect for the Eagles.. No motivating sound bytes and press clippings will be available for the Eagles to hang in their locker room! Sorry!
I have 2 great bets riding on this game. The 1st was made w/ my next door neighbor, Kevin, who is a Die-Hard Eagles fan. In week 4 of this season we bet a case of premium beer on whose team would go farther in the playoffs! The 2nd bet is even better! I am also a die-hard Red Sox fan and befriended a fellow Sox/Eagles fan on the MLB Red Sox chat room, who goes by the ID Cowboy. The terms were the same in that whoever’s team went farther in the playoffs win..but the prize is tickets to see the Red Sox play the Blue Jays @ Skydome (including the 1st beer!) What a great way for 2 early/mid season bets to be decided.. In the Super bowl! I have much riding on this game but I fully expect my Patriots to again deliver me the sweet taste of Victory!
I predict it to be a well played game but ultimately the collective team excellence of the Patriots will be too much for the Eagles to over come..
SB 39 prediction:
everyone…take a moment and sing it with me! (/To the old NBC Theme!)
Past Chowdah Bowls