Overheard at the bakery this afternoon: "Calzones are like the best drunk food for after the bar," punctuated, naturally, by the signature laugh native to the true meathead, who is the only one laughing to his words. TA HA HA HA. TA HA HA HA TA. TA HA TA HA. (The full-tilt meathead always laughs with a bit of a "t" in the laugh sequence.) He had a hot girlfriend. This is never enjoyable. I'm standing there thinking, "You are much smarter than this bootleg Ben Roethlisberger, as some of your own words that I have just heard are made up of as many as three syllables, and look at this guy, obviously a dedicated collector of chins in addition to the imbecilic propensities, let us leave here and get a coffee." Meatheads and the women seemingly out of their league who elected to partner up with them get me down, man. He held up two rice balls over his chest and pretended they were breasts. You know...
I have a lot to cover, but I really don't feel like doing a long entry right now. I'll spread it out. Went to bed after four this morning, was up at eight. Ran six miles, walked six miles, so that means I've been to Charlestown and back four times. Went to a farmers' market. Had a virgin Bloody Mary at the Warren Tavern, which dates to the eighteenth century. 141 weeks without a drink. Here is a new op-ed in the New York Daily News on the Patriots, and here is a new piece on Buddy Holly in The Daily Beast. Insane, isn't it? Week after week after week. One guy. One artist. With an industry against him. And yet, there it is. Can you even measure the distance between #1 and #2? Good luck with that. You'd need some GPS system loaned from the gods at this point. And that wouldn't get it done.
I'm basically just writing this right now because you can't talk about what's going to happen in a game after. Here's my summary for today's game: I think it's going to be very hard for the Patriots to win, but even harder for the Rams. People say the Rams have more talent. I don't buy that. But they are good. And if they take away Edelman and White, you're going to need an awful lot from Gronkowski as a pass catcher. Patriots can't really throw it down the field outside of the numbers with their personnel. Donald and Suh are real problems. Suh plays well against the Patriots. He's insane, but sometimes insane players find a way to leave their insanity aside for one very focused game, and it's like the energy of their insanity is repurposed into something approaching focus that day. People talk about Brandin Cooks like he's not that good. Not smart. He's been in the league five years, he's gone for over 1000 yards in four of them. You'll hear that he's soft. He's not that soft. And what's more, he was friends with guys on this Patriots team given that he was their teammate last year. When you are a little soft, and you're playing against guys who are your friends, you tend to play less soft. Talib also plays well against the Patriots. He can also be crazy in a good way. Or it can go the other way. He tends to be good-crazy vs. the Patriots, though. Wade Philips has beaten the Patriots recently and dominated them. Gurley will be in better health. McVay knows what he's doing, though he struggles with clock management.
I don't think the Patriots lose after last year. And any time the Patriots think that other people think the other team is better, they win. They put it up your ass. I love that. I love watching it. I've never seen a Patriots team in this era with that attitude lose. They are better at winning than any sports organization I've ever seen. Than there has ever been. It's uncanny. Unreal. They make the gotta-have-it-or-we-lose plays. Time and again. I'm hearing talk of Edelman for the Hall of Fame. (Glad I was wrong about Ty Law not getting in this year. I knew he would at some point, but I was surprised they let in three corners at once.) That's crazy. No bloody way. But I'll give you a good Edelman comp: Tedy Bruschi. Sounds weird, right, given that he was a linebacker? Same kind of player in that they make the gotta-have-it plays. The Rams' kickers are better. This is, I would say, the second hardest match-up the Patriots have had for any Super Bowl in which I have thought they'll win. I thought they'd win in 2001 against the Rams. That was the greatest degree of difficulty for a game that I thought would ultimately end in their favor. I thought they'd beat the Panthers and the Eagles, thought they'd lose to the Giants the first time (this Patriots team would beat the 2007 Patriots team, the most overrated team in NFL history), thought they'd win the second time, thought they'd lose to the Seahawks, thought they'd beat the Falcons, thought they'd beat the Eagles. That makes me, what, 5-3 picking these games straight up.
I think they win today, but by no more than 3, and more like 1 or 2. I expect it to be a harder game than the Chiefs game. I think it's going to be unpleasant to watch as someone with a rooting interest who wants to see a proper smashing. They play the best games. They are an Instant Classic factory. The comeback against the Falcons was one of the most special things I've seen in terms of the pliability of the human spirit--as viewed over the span of four hours--and that's why I'll be writing about it someday in my book on comebacks. I don't think this will be at that level--I don't think I'll see anything again at that level, in terms of sports-as-Shakespeare-worthy-drama--but this one should be pretty darn good. My friend John thinks it will be a Patriots blowout. I am not sure yet why he thinks this. Gronkowski is my sleeper pick for MVP. The talk is he's surely going to retire and this is his last game. I think it's closer to 50-50 that he retires.
I'm trying to find a cheap ticket to the Beanpot for tomorrow, but that's not working out. I felt very lightheaded this morning after my six mile run, and there was a moment there where I thought I was going to pass out at Anthony's as I was getting coffee, which would have been embarrassing. The Monument remains closed.
I'm going back to the Starbucks now to read until the game starts. And make notes. I'll take my leave with a quote and note and a photo:
“...and the thin-blown clouds, stripped for battle, passed in review.” That’s F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is me clad in the Andre Tippett throwback for fan-centric battle—aka intense rooting support—from afar. I’m sanguine. Thus, fittingly carmined.