Monday, February 4, 2008

Perfect Waste

Tattoo removal, anyone?

I feel for that Rhode Island guy who before the Super Bowl who had "19-0 Patriots" tattooed on his arm.

Actually, no I don't. Anyone that arrogant deserves to be humiliated after the Patriots lost 17-14 to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII Sunday night.

The pursuit of perfection is over; the Patriots didn't make it to Mercury Morris' block after all.

We know what the game did for the Giants -- particularly game MVP Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin. Two guys once on the verge of being run out of the Big Apple now find themselves in the same situation brother Peyton and coaching colleague Tony Dungy did a year ago: on top of the football world. Eli's cemented himself as a legitimate NFL quarterback, and Coughlin probably gets to keep his job for another couple years.

But what of the Patriots? They were expected to complete the perfect season; 19-0 seemed so inevitable The Boston Globe published a book about it before the game and the Patriots attempted to copyright the phrase "19-0."

Side note: the Patent and Copyright Office rejected the request, adding it would look into it further once the Patriots actually won the game.

Nice to see someone in Washington has common sense.

Tom Brady set records this season, Randy Moss was a model citizen. Coach Bill Belicheck was ... well, he was as surly and arrogant as ever (anyone see his post-game interview with Chris Myers? Awkward ...). But it all amounts to nothing, as a team many felt might be the best ever lost for the first time all season in the one game that truly mattered.

Generally speaking, 18-1 isn't a failed season -- just ask the 1985 Chicago Bears or the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. But those teams won the Super Bowl; the one loss came in the regular season. For the Patriots, the lone slip-up came at the worst possible time -- with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the line -- and the result is eternal ridicule.

In years to come, look up the word "waste" in the dictionary, and you might just find the 2007 New England Patriots.

We normally don't remember who lost the Super Bowl, but we will this time. I won't say the Patriots choked, because the Giants played a fantastic game and just flat-out hit the Patriots in the mouth. But to dominate as the Patriots did the first nine games of the season, then to hold on when teams started giving it their all down the stretch, there was no way this epitome of teamwork would stumble in Glendale, right?


Belicheck and Patriot Nation better be glad they already have three Super Bowl rings this decade; otherwise, Sunday's loss would sting even more and the historical ramifications would cut even deeper. As it is, this season was a total waste ... just as one tattoo artist in Rhode Island wasted a lot of ink.

Mets steal Santana

How else to describe the deal in which the Minnesota Twins sent freak ace Johan Santana to the New York Mets for four minor leaguers -- none of which ranked as the organization's top prospect?

It was a steal, plain and simple.

It was also the best the Twins could get. Deals with the Yankees and Red Sox fell through when the Twins refused to budge. With the Yankees, Minnesota wanted Phillip Hughes -- a young arm Brian Cashman wanted to hold onto. With Boston, the dealbreaker was Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester. The Twins wanted both, but the Red Sox would only part with one or the other.

And after how they helped the Sox win their second World Series in three years, can you really blame them? Especially since Boston's starting rotation already reads like a fantasy roster?

The Twins' stubbornness led to the one-sided nature of this deal. And the Mets, still reeling from the September collapse that handed the NL East to the Philadelphia Phillies, picked up the best pitcher in the game, a guy who even before spring training turns the Mets into the frontrunner in a watered-down National League.

The Mets will win the division this season, and have perhaps the best shot of any NL club of reaching the World Series. With Tom Glavine back in Atlanta, Pedro Martinez aging and coming off major injuries and not much else in the rotation, Santana is a godsend.

Simply put, watch out for the Mets this season.

I'm ... fired?

Poor Gregg Williams.

One week he's interviewing four times for the head coaching position with the Washington Redskins. The next, the team fires him.

Which makes me wonder how bad those interviews were.

I'm not sure what owner Daniel Snyder is trying to accomplish here -- hiring new assistants before putting a head coach in place is an odd move. And I'm not crazy about Jim Fassel as a hire; sure, he took the New York Giants to the Super Bowl in 2000, but he's been fired from his last two NFL gigs -- including his stint as offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Redskins have a young quarterback and a stout running game; they don't need an offensive retread running the show (I'm looking at you, Jim Zorn).

I have no issue with Snyder interviewing Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator who just helped the Giants win the Super Bowl. He seems like a smart football guy, and he'd help an already solid defense. If he helped a depleted and injury-riddled secondary get to the Big Game and shut down Randy Moss, imagine what Spagnuolo could do with the talent in D.C.

But my pick? Steve Mariucci, who currently works as an analyst at the NFL Network. I realize his stint in Detroit was a distaster, but let's face it: everyone in Detroit is doomed to failure so long as Matt Millen's in charge. But with the 49ers, Mariucci orchestrated a solid West Coast offensive scheme, taking the team to the playoffs four times in his six years with the franchise.

A record of 60-43 (including playoffs) in those six seasons is nothing to sneeze at.

More countdown

Twleve days and counting until the 50th annual Daytona 500. You have been warned.

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