A few weeks ago, I wrote an article expressing my concerns about what I can only think of as The Curse of Pat Patriot. Pat, of course, was the official logo for the Boston Patriots and later the New England Patriots, and he lasted as such for more than 30 years.
Some terrific players wore that uniform back in the day, including Hall of Famers John Hannah, Mike Haynes, and Andre Tippett.
But the Patriots' troubles were many during the Pat Patriot era. No matter what kind of talent they had, things just seemed always to work out against them. The Pats were the doormat of professional football.
I am not alone in believing that Pat Patriot was a curse, plain and simple.
Eventually, the look of the Patriots was changed, the Flying Elvis we know and love/hate today was put in place, team colors were changed. and that's when the real fun began.
The team made it to some Super Bowls and actually won. It was like waking up in some parallel universe where it was actually gratifying to be a fan of this team.
I thought I had seen the last of Pat Patriot. But no.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the American Football League, the Patriots and the other seven teams that made up the AFL are playing a series of "Legacy Games" this season, wearing the old uniforms.
So, yes, I have been concerned. Tom Brady in that uniform? After everything he had been through, I reasoned, he does not need that additional burden.
A team at the crossroads, young players just learning the ways of the NFL, not to mention the ways of Bill Belichick, just did not need to take the field in Foxborough in game one wearing those uniforms.
Veterans new to the team didn't need this either.
But rules are rules, and we know the Patriots don't break the rules.
Between the new players, the old uniforms, and the Patriots' inability to settle into a groove, the first half was starting to feel like deja vu.
Oh no, I've seen this game before, maybe thirty years ago...
But no, I have learned a whole new lesson about faith, again: Never underestimate Tom Brady and never, ever underestimate Bill Belichick. Never.
They actually beat the curse.
The second half being such a thing of mad beauty reminded me of 2001. I forgot all about Pat Patriot and realized that, hey, this is Brady and Belichick. And Moss, Welker, and Faulk. Doesn't matter what anybody is wearing, these are the Patriots of 2009.
My faith grew with Tom Brady's confidence.
And faking an on-side kick, successfully, convinced me all over again that Belichick is the greatest coach of his generation.
The last five minutes of the game... oh, I could go on and on, but you saw what I saw. And maybe you never shared my Pat Patriot phobia, but I can tell you this: It was real for me, and now I believe it's gone.
I have a new faith. I believe again.
We are okay. Again.
The Pats have three other Legacy Games this season, and I am not going to worry anymore.
Pat Patriot is now my good friend.
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