By JOSH RESNEK
The Pat’s victory Sunday over the Dolphins raised spirits here substantially.
Without quarterback Tom Brady leading the pack into the new season for the first time in two decades, there were many, many questions about how the team would perform.
What was missing from the victory?
People in the stands.
There weren’t any.
The cheering we heard after a good play or a score or a great run, were canned cheering.
Canned cheering is to an empty football stadium where the game is being played on the field what canned laughter is to sit-coms shown on television.
America loves canned laughter.
I don’t. I’ve always hated it, made fun of it, mimicked it and finally turned the station. Not so with canned cheering at yesterday’s football matchup between the Patriots now led by Cam Newton facing the Dolphins.
When time ran out in the, fourth quarter, the Pats began yet another season with a solid victory.
For us Pat’s fans, there was a good feeling about the victory, fake cheering and all.
Newton apprised himself well.
The offensive line stopped the pass rush.
Minus a pass rush of its own, the defensive line performed well, especially the secondary.
Despite several costly penalties, the secondary showed the fans watching on television or streaming the game on computers that it remains just about tops in the league.
Newton is not Brady.
But on a Sunday when Newton won and Brady lost in his first outing as a Buccaneer, Pat’s fans had a reason to cheer.
Newton’s play in the absence of the greatest quarterback of all time was notable.
He played with finesse and style – and he wasn’t afraid to mix it up.
He showed great fight and spirit.
The empty stadium in Foxboro took on the aura of a sports cemetery each time the stands were shown by the camera folks.
Then a play followed.
Then came the canned cheering from our flat screens.
Yikes! how vastly our sports world has changed during this pandemic.
About the only two people watching the game inside the stadium besides the Pat’s staff and players (and the Bucs) were the owners, Robert and Jonathan Kraft, both wearing face masks inside their owner’s box high up above the field.
Newton is on a high after his first Pat’s victory.
Brady is not.
He’s wondering the where the season will go.
Into his 43rd year, he ought to be wondering.