In an excellent 46 lines on 23 issues column on Tuesday, Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com, included this thought:
The 2007 team was better. This team and this season have been far more enjoyable.
While I can see his point - by the time Super Bowl XLII rolled around all joy of the Patriots then-unbeaten season had been sucked out by SpyGate and accusations of running up of the score - can we honestly say that this Super Bowl has been that much more enjoyable from a media coverage perspective?
Not locally, we can't. And based on what I hear and read, it doesn't sound like a whole lot of "fans" have allowed themselves to enjoy this season either.
Lest we all forget, this team finished 13-3 in the regular season, and after two playoff wins, now find themselves in the Super Bowl. Yet, right from training camp, you had the distinct impression that this was a struggling, 3-13 team on the edge of being blown up.
The list of media detractors is long and distinguished. Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti spend three hours and fifty-nine minutes each afternoon disparaging the team's defense and drafting, while inserting as an aside that they expect the team to win that week - just to cover themselves and being able to say "But we picked them to win!!"
Just a couple of weeks ago Massarotti angrily declared that the Patriots rebuilding program through the draft was a failure and "thats why they are where they are today." A fun drinking game would be taking a shot each time you hear Massarotti yell that something involving the Patriots SUCKS. You'd be sloshed by 3:00 every afternoon.
It's been this way from the start of the season. Preseason moves to bring in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco have been micro-analyzed and their lack of success almost gleefully documented. The struggles of the defense brought weekly doom warnings about an "inevitable" postseason loss. In online chat sessions and on Twitter, Shalise Manza Young routinely made condescending replies to fans who felt that going 13-3 and looking to secure home field advantage was a good idea, by making such inane comments as "I think Bill Belichick would rather go 11-5 and win the Super Bowl, if you'd rather go 13-3 and lose the first playoff game, that is certainly your right as a fan." I still haven't figured out what her point was, even though she repeated it on multiple occasions.
On WEEI, former Pawtucket Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni has honed his shtick as the resident "Patriots suck" guy, repeating most of the same arguments. The defense sucks. The drafting sucks. They haven't faced a good QB. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record. His partner, Mike Mutnansky has compared Devin McCourty to 1990's Red Sox prospect Phil Plantier, of all people.
Fans have flooded comment sections and the online mailbags of Patriots beat reporters to express their concern and disgust about the team and to call for personnel decision-making responsibilities to be yanked away from Bill Belichick. Sports radio callers sycophantically suck up to hosts like Felger by chiming in on the horridness of the teams, but making sure they preface any comments by stating first that they are a "huge Pats fan."
The bar of success has been set high in Boston. Fans have become spoiled, the media, negative to begin with, has to work overtime to generate their buzz-killing storylines to keep people outraged and worked up.
But if you can, just try and enjoy the next week or so. Tuning out some of the regulars in the media might actually increased your enjoyment of the moment. Give it a try.