As I mentally prepare for this Sunday’s AFC Championship game, the Patriots’ record 8th in a row, I’m thinking about how amazing this run has been.
A lot of us Pats fans get accused of being bandwagoners, who never paid attention to the team pre-Brady era. Well, I’ve been watching & rooting for these guys since the days of Jim Plunkett, Steve Grogan & Sam “BAM” Cunningham. I watched as they’d break yer heart like a true Boston team year after year – first in the playoffs in the late ’70s, to an embarrassing Superbowl wipeout in ’86, and beyond.
When they went 1-15 in the 1990 season, I watched every game at a local sports bar with one other Pats fan. We’d watch them suck, commiserate, and eat the decent food. The one week they beat the Jeff George Colts was a cause for celebration.
Things looked up when horrible owner Victor Kiam sold the team, and thankfully the new owner who wanted to move the team to St. Louis got checkmated by stadium owner Robert Kraft, who then bought the team. He built a new stadium with private money keeping them in Foxborough, brought in Bill Belichick, and put together one of the most impressive dynasties in the history of football.
Robert Kraft is the best owner in all of sports.
And it’s been an amazing run with the Brady/Belichick combo. They’re the only common bond with the current team and the Superbowl champ teams of 2001, 2003 and 2004. Brady has gotten there, won & lost with all sorts of different configurations. And each loss was more a failure of the defense than of Brady and the offense, much like last year’s loss to the Eagles.
I pegged them for a default division win & an early playoff loss this year, with Brady aging, his offensive weapons diminished and a defense that far too often looked maddeningly inept.
But here they are again, facing the clearly rising juggernaut of Patrick Mahomes’ stardom. I get the feeling this’ll be like last year’s Superbowl – an offensive shootout with a 49-45 final score, whoever has the ball last wins. Although the Pats have not won a road playoff game since 2006…. and the Chiefs have been better than them all year….. and it’s really really tough to beat the same team twice in a season…. and I think too much, don’t I?
So why a card of Harvey (who??) White?
Well, White was the very first player ever drafted by the Pats, back in 1959 when the AFL formed. He only played 3 games, passed for 44 yards and has no touchdowns or interceptions.
Which begs the question – how the hell did he rate a football card?
Fleer started putting out cards of the AFL in 1960. White’s is #1 in the set, too.
The 1971 Topps set has no Jim Plunkett card, but the 1960 Fleer has a Harvey White?
This makes less sense than the penalty calls in the NFL. But here’s to you, Harvey. Wherever you are, I hope you’re watching this Sunday’s game and rooting for the Pats as I will be, even if I gotta admit… I’ll be surprised if they win.
Pleasantly surprised, of course.