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.
In March Tom Brady officially left the Patriot’s and signed up to be a Buccaneer and suddenly, the juggernaut of the AFC (and the entire NFL, really) was relegated from a postseason fixture to a playoff wannabe.
Suddenly, all that has changed, and the Patriots are once again hovering closer to the top of the AFC (and NFL) power rankings with the signing of former league MVP, quarterback Cam Newton.
News of Newton’s signing with the Patriots blasted off around the league like the ceremonial muskets fired once the home team scores a touchdown at Gillette Stadium.
The NFL officially released the schedule for the New England Patriots 2020 season and it isn’t a particularly easy one.
The 16 opponents on the schedule have a combined .530 winning percentage from a season ago.
Because of this (and you know, losing arguably the best quarterback in NFL history), the sports media is abuzz with predictions the Patriots and Coach Belichick will lay down and tank (purposely lose games to secure a higher draft pick) in order to get a chance at the multi-talented, extremely coveted Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, in next year’s draft.
Amongst the pundits, the Pats’ season slate was labeled a ‘perfect tanking for Trevor schedule’.
After losing out in the bring-Tom-Brady-back sweepstakes, such a schedule and a chance at Trevor is a huge break for the rebuilding Pats and ol’ faithful schemer Belichick, right?
And here’s why.
First, if we are to dispel the theory of the Pats tanking, we have to look closely at all angles and at the biggest development this off-season: quarterback Tom Brady has left the building.
*For several weeks during the 2019-2020 Everett High School football season, we are showcasing snap shots of newspaper clips from decades into the past, each including some of the biggest names in EHS football history.