There’s no two ways about it, and Tom Brady said all that really needs to be said on behalf of Pats fans everywhere in the wake of a Super Bowl LII loss: “It sucks.”
They had the ball. They had the time. They had Tom Brady, the only one you would ever want to have in that situation, and they were only five points behind. The stage was set for a repeat performance of what we’ve almost become spoiled by – a snatching of victory from the jaws of defeat.
Instead, this time the rug was yanked out from under the team right at the start of the comeback seconds. Even when all hope was pretty much lost, they still made things interesting, as a long last resort pass fell just out of the reach of Danny Amendola as time expired. Had they scored and pulled off another pressure-filled two-point conversion, the Super Bowl would have, for two years in a row when it had previously never happened before, gone into overtime.
Instead, the long wait until next season now begins, with no parade to look forward to. Bleak.
Ideally, the perspective of recent success – and widespread success of the past 17 seasons – should temper this loss for New England fans and make it not so hurtful. However, as all true sports fans realize, there’s nothing that can wholly erase the misery brought on by almost reaching the finish only to fall flat on your face at the very end of the race.
Less bleak, Brady has already said he sees no reason why he won’t play next year and, barring the always-present forces out of our control, the team will likely pick up right back where they left off. We are truly spoiled in that way – but for how many more years, we simply cannot know. Maybe that’s why this one still stings, despite knowing that the team’s legacy is firmly entrenched as perhaps the greatest sports dynasty of all time.
Championships are the definition of a zero-sum game. For one group of people to feel a sense of unparalleled elation, another group of fans must experience intense sorrow. One begets the other, necessarily.
Fans of the game itself – those without an emotional or financial stake in the game – were treated to an outstanding showing of offensive prowess that set numerous Super Bowl records. The high-scoring bout featured numerous swings of momentum and was, generally, as exciting as a competitive sport can be from the very start to the final desperate Hail Mary attempt launched by Brady at the end.
For Philadelphia fans, who have never won a Super Bowl in the sport’s history, last night was the culmination of many years of suffering and “almosts” – and, ironically enough, the last shot they had at a championship went up in flames to, of course, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 2004/05 season.
Through all of this, for those of us who aren’t paid millions of dollars to prepare, play, coach and determine the outcomes of the games, we must remember that it is truly just that – a game.
Nobody who has breached the age of adulthood should break personal belongings, take anger out on loved ones or let the happenings of Sunday night affect their personal performance in their professional careers. Nobody should let their emotions be that controlled by a contest where the forces that determine success or failure reside so wholly outside of your control. It is just a game.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck, though.
Take solace in friends, family, loved ones who don’t even care about football but are being extra nice to you because they know how much this silly game means to you. Take solace in finding another painted rock – part of the Warwick Rocks collection that aims to spread happiness to strangers – and try to smile.
Remain a fan. Remain a kind, loving person. Remain a Patriot.