I hope it’s not the case, but by 4:30 on Sunday afternoon, life as we know it could be over.
I’m talking, of course, about “life” as a Patriots fan for the better part of the last 20 years. And it seems to me like Pats’ fans are taking this game for granted. I don’t sense any urgency among the fans.
We’re just so accustomed to the fact that Pats will roll through early January, and they’re entitled to an AFC Championship Invitation… usually as the host. But there is a real chance that isn’t the case this time around, and I’m not sure as a group, Patriots’ fans have really wrapped their head around it.
From conversations I’ve had, to talk radio, to social media, I feel the sentiment is that it will just work out.
“It’s Phil Rivers, what big game has he ever won?”
“It’s a West Coast team playing at 1pm Eastern…”
“It’s a warm weather team, playing in Foxborough in January…”
All of those are great starting points for a call to F&M, talking to someone at a bar, or some dude at work. But I’ll let you in on a secret….they really don’t amount to much.
You didn’t know this, but Rivers has fewer “One and dones” than Eli Manning (2 vs Manning’s 3) in the same amount of playoff seasons (6). And in the last 9 weeks Rivers’ Chargers have won @Sea, @Pit, @KC and a playoff game @BAL…those are bigger games than anyone else has won this year.
As far as West Coast team playing at 1pm goes…well, the Super Chargers just did it on Sunday. Also, since 1990, West Coast teams playing 1pm playoff games have nearly identical win % as any other playoff road team…roughly 33%. Usually, though, the road team is the worse team. These visitors are 13-3, 2 games better than NEP.
So I guess, this is going to come down to weather then??? Well, it looks like 29 and partly cloudy with no precipitation and barely any wind…hardly frightening.
Also, we’re glossing over the fact that this isn’t a great Patriots team. It’s one of the handful of “worst” in this run. The reliable stuff- Brady, Belichick, Gronk- far from infallible. Edelman was actually reading this post, but just dropped his phone…who knows what we’re going to get.
Look, they were 8-0 at home, and are still capable of competing at a high level…so I give them more than a puncher’s chance. I just think we should be paying closer attention to this one. Because if it’s not this year, it might be next, when this train comes to the end of the line, and there won’t be any more stops at the AFC Championship for this group.