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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    What will you listen to after the Eagles win?

    I wouldn't want my thread to be removed by the Gestapo for being "off topic", so I guess I need to reference music along with my beloved Iggles. Anyway, how about Queen's [I]We Are the Champions?[/I No way! Not because I don't think they'll win, but because I detest that song, along with most of the other stuff they recorded. Perhaps something by the Eagles? Nah, I never cared much for their music either. I think I'll defer to something mellower to bring me back down to earth, like "Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers" by the National, which I just got in the mail on Thursday.

    Anyway, how about you?



    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  2. #2
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Right now I'm listening to the Steelers lose...

    and that would be another win in my book. Too many "friends" are fans of those intra-state rivals, and they've been bragging since the Eagles lost to them in the regular season. All I konw is, Philly is finally headed to the Super Bowl after taking 24 years, and I don't care who they end up playing. I just hope the result is different this time.

    A very elated Swish

    E.A.G.L.E.S.....EAGLES
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  3. #3
    Stainmaster Finch Platte's Avatar
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    Uh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    and that would be another win in my book. Too many "friends" are fans of those intra-state rivals, and they've been bragging since the Eagles lost to them in the regular season. All I konw is, Philly is finally headed to the Super Bowl after taking 24 years, and I don't care who they end up playing. I just hope the result is different this time.

    A very elated Swish

    E.A.G.L.E.S.....EAGLES
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz z.

    fp

    np: Kaki King. Interesting.

  4. #4
    Close 'n Play® user Troy's Avatar
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    The Patriots will vivsect the Eagles.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular MindGoneHaywire's Avatar
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    The Eagle did a song called "Win?" Any song played after an Eagles song is an improvement, though on occasion I'm not always paying attention as my concentration is focused on locating the cretin who played the Eagles song. That sort of thing absolutely ruins my buzz, so I'm usually looking to do to that person what the Pats are going to do to the Eagles in Jacksonville. It's not pretty. But to avoid it, all one has to do is avoid playing Eagles songs in my presence. Not an unreasonable request, and not all that difficult to follow through on.

    "...I hate the f*cking Eagles, man." - Jeff Lebowski

    I don't like others.

  6. #6
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    The word is vivisect....

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    The Patriots will vivsect the Eagles.
    and I don't think so. While I agree the Pats are a very good team, so are the Eagles, and they just might surprise a lot of people.

    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  7. #7
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Another non-believer, eh J?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindGoneHaywire
    The Eagle did a song called "Win?" Any song played after an Eagles song is an improvement, though on occasion I'm not always paying attention as my concentration is focused on locating the cretin who played the Eagles song. That sort of thing absolutely ruins my buzz, so I'm usually looking to do to that person what the Pats are going to do to the Eagles in Jacksonville. It's not pretty. But to avoid it, all one has to do is avoid playing Eagles songs in my presence. Not an unreasonable request, and not all that difficult to follow through on.

    "...I hate the f*cking Eagles, man." - Jeff Lebowski
    First of all, McNabb isn't a rookie, and he won't fold like Big Ben. Secondly, the Iggles don't turn the ball over very often, so the Pats will need to put together some long drives and not expect a bunch of handouts from the Eagles O.

    In addition, the Eagles secondary may be the best in the league, their run defence is greatly improved, and they don't give up many points...I think the 3rd fewest in the NFL, maybe second.

    Anyway, I'm pretty excited that they're going to the big dance in the first place, and I have a feeling they'll be back next year, win or lose.

    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  8. #8
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    opener

    Opening line = Pats by 6.5



    Eagles have a chance, but not a good one.

    New England, having won 2 of the last 3 SBs, know how the game is played and know how to handle the media rush and the emotional game-time rush.

    The virgin Eagles have much against them; most of which will prove to be in their heads.

    Good luck, Swishy.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I'll be listening the Eagle's "Hell Freezes Over"...Which is exactly what it'll take for the Eagles to even come close!!!
    This has the makings of a blowout.

    Better question will be what will I be listening too IF and when the Eagles cover the spread...

    Beck's "Loser" comes to mind...

  10. #10
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Beautyful Dreamer
    Look & Listen

  11. #11
    Strange Ranger richmon's Avatar
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    finally, after the last few years of torture

    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    I wouldn't want my thread to be removed by the Gestapo for being "off topic", so I guess I need to reference music along with my beloved Iggles. Anyway, how about Queen's [I]We Are the Champions?[/I No way! Not because I don't think they'll win, but because I detest that song, along with most of the other stuff they recorded. Perhaps something by the Eagles? Nah, I never cared much for their music either. I think I'll defer to something mellower to bring me back down to earth, like "Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers" by the National, which I just got in the mail on Thursday.

    Anyway, how about you?



    Swish
    Me - I'm listening to Sunshine Superman by Donovan !

    Although the NE Brady bunch have a knack for figuring out a way to win, if the Iggles bring their 'A' game like they brung last sunday, they have a good shot, especially if TO is there to stretch the defence.

  12. #12
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    I was getting ready to throw some smack into this post until I realized it was set before the Falcons game, not the SB. Ah.....

  13. #13
    Close 'n Play® user Troy's Avatar
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    Gee Swish, after watching what the Pats did to the "unstopable" Colts and what they did to the "Monster Defense" of the Steelers, what makes you think the Eagles even stand a chance? McNabb is no Manning. Westbrook is no Bettis. Owens will be 50% at best. The other Eagle rcvrs? Decent in the last couple games, but 2nd rate the rest of the season.

    Think back to past superbowls when there was a strong NFC bias. Remember the Patriots against the Bears in 1986? Denver against the 49ers in 1990? Dallas all over the Bills in the early 90s? It's the AFC's turn.

    Enjoy your NFC Championship. The Eagles ARE the cream of the NFC. We all knew that months ago. But put aside your blind fanboy feelings for a minute and recognize the Patriots for what they are, easily, the best team in football in at least 10 years.

    The only thing that will stop the Patriots over the next couple years are injuries, free agent defections or (the most likely) everybody on the coaching staff being offered plum jobs elsewhere.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular newtrix1's Avatar
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    gotcha back Swisher

    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    First of all, McNabb isn't a rookie, and he won't fold like Big Ben. Secondly, the Iggles don't turn the ball over very often, so the Pats will need to put together some long drives and not expect a bunch of handouts from the Eagles O.

    In addition, the Eagles secondary may be the best in the league, their run defence is greatly improved, and they don't give up many points...I think the 3rd fewest in the NFL, maybe second.

    Anyway, I'm pretty excited that they're going to the big dance in the first place, and I have a feeling they'll be back next year, win or lose.

    Swish
    Looks like you could use somebackup. There's way more reasons to choose the Pat's in 2 weeks, but I've got that gut feeling that the birds are hungrier and will make a game of it, even walk away with the win. Plus, doesn't NE have some key injuries?
    My early prediction: Eagles 27, Pats 23
    Last edited by newtrix1; 01-24-2005 at 11:01 AM.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    Re

    Even though I'm completely biased here (I've followed the Pats since the early 70's, and watch every game, and the NESN & Fox sports talk shows every week), I do think the only way they can lose is if they "lose it themselves"... as opposed to "getting beat." Of course, funny things happen in football. All it takes is a fumble or mistake of a split second on a read or penalty. Remember, the Pats were favored by 10 last year, yet needed every last second to pull it out on the last play.

    The betting line means very little... it's just a showing of where the money is going. It's really more a "poll" of (so called) football "experts" (ha ha ha!). And if you think those people, who bet on football all year long, can reliably pick games... well, you're a "bettor" man than I. They all win... all the time right? LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by newtrix1
    Plus, doesn't NE have some key injuries?
    Yeah, they've lost a LOT of key players... and all year too. It's something most casual fans don't appreciate. They've lost a few Pro-bowl players among them. Pro-bowler (def tackle) Richard Seymour was the latest to go down... it's still questionable if he'll go next game, but I imagine he might give it a try regardless, being as the off-season is pretty long even if he reinjures himself. But it didn't hurt the Pats much not having him against the Steelers, and the Steelers had the best offensive line in the league. And that's the most amazing thing about this team... they've lost key starters all year, and at the skill positions like corner, yet it's not really hurt them. It usually derails a team when they lose such key players. They've had players come in who weren't even drafted!... without suffering the consequences. And having Troy Brown (the oldest Pat on the team) play DB does hurt their offense a bit, as he's always been their most clutch receiver.

    I was concerned about the Pittsburg game... because of the weather... the solid Pitt defense & offensive line. And NE had Ted Johnson sick with the flu... he's a big run-stopper in the secondary. But NE didn't make mistakes... and Pittsburg did. NE knew they needed to get an early lead, lest Pittsburg get a lead and then run run run the ball & clock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    In addition, the Eagles secondary may be the best in the league, their run defence is greatly improved, and they don't give up many points...I think the 3rd fewest in the NFL, maybe second.
    Well, the Pats played a tough schedule after winning last year, yet they have improved in most areas. Pittsburg had a great defense too. The Pats are very balanced, and have a true running game this year... something they didn't have the last 2 superbowl wins let alone the last 20 years. The Pats linebackers are probably the best in the league as a group. That said, I do consider any team capable of beating the Pats on any Sunday. It's happened a few times this year already.

    Superbowl-
    The 2 biggest plus's for NE is 1/ Vinatieri, who's scored more point this year than anyone. He was vital last year, yet he was injured all year ...this year he's healthy and stronger, and he's having the best year of his career. 2/ Brady- he's as competitive as anyone I've ever seen. He's on par with Larry Bird for "super sports hero" around these parts, and that's very elite company. He has the same ability to pull rabbits out of hats... the kinda thing that's rare, and magical to follow as a fan. He also plays with a joy that pee-wee league kids do, yet he's much, much tougher than he looks. Belichick kept him as starter when Bledsoe got healthy... for damn good reason. I still wonder where we'd be had Bledsoe never gotten hurt... Brady would still be sitting on the bench somewhere. I guess I should thank the Jets for all this... LOL.

    You don't know... jack

  16. #16
    Strange Ranger richmon's Avatar
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    Gluttony

    Quote Originally Posted by jack70
    Even though I'm completely biased here (I've followed the Pats since the early 70's, and watch every game, and the NESN & Fox sports talk shows every week), I do think the only way they can lose is if they "lose it themselves"... as opposed to "getting beat." Of course, funny things happen in football. All it takes is a fumble or mistake of a split second on a read or penalty. Remember, the Pats were favored by 10 last year, yet needed every last second to pull it out on the last play.

    ]
    First UCONN wins both the mens and womans BBall titles, then the Red Sox taking the World Series in dramatic fashion, and the Pats are shooting for their 3rd Superbowl after setting the record for most consecutive wins. Sheez - whadda great time to be a sports fan in New England eh?

    I'm a realistic about the Eagles, and Belachik having two weeks to prepare is huge.
    The Patriots are incredibly adaptable, they win shoot outs (indy week 1), or smash mouth (pittsburgh last week) and every style in between. Troy's right, the best 'TEAM' in the last 10 years.
    But they can be beat, the Eagles are balanced , offense/defense/special teams/ and the kicking game. If they play their best (the Eagles instead of the Beagles), and NE is a little off, I should be smiling Feb 6.
    I'll be watching the game in Lake Tahoe after a half day of skiing ..yippee.

  17. #17
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    GO LEAFS!!!!

    Sorry. Just a small relapse. I'm fine now.

  18. #18
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    What happened to the Steelers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    Gee Swish, after watching what the Pats did to the "unstopable" Colts and what they did to the "Monster Defense" of the Steelers, what makes you think the Eagles even stand a chance? McNabb is no Manning. Westbrook is no Bettis. Owens will be 50% at best. The other Eagle rcvrs? Decent in the last couple games, but 2nd rate the rest of the season.

    Think back to past superbowls when there was a strong NFC bias. Remember the Patriots against the Bears in 1986? Denver against the 49ers in 1990? Dallas all over the Bills in the early 90s? It's the AFC's turn.

    Enjoy your NFC Championship. The Eagles ARE the cream of the NFC. We all knew that months ago. But put aside your blind fanboy feelings for a minute and recognize the Patriots for what they are, easily, the best team in football in at least 10 years.

    The only thing that will stop the Patriots over the next couple years are injuries, free agent defections or (the most likely) everybody on the coaching staff being offered plum jobs elsewhere.
    Was pretty much a direct result of the turnovers, and not so much total domination by the Pats. Remember the interception at the 10 yard line that was returned for a TD? Imagine the Steelers getting the TD instead, and you'd have a 14 point swing. And the other 3 turnovers also contributed. I don't care how good your defense is, you can't turn the ball over 4 times and expect to win at this level. The Eagles do have plenty of injuries, including a batch of starters who've been out most of the season, and they still blew out most teams by double figures.

    Anyway, I just don't think it's going to be the blowout you think. I would take the Eagles and the points and bet heavily.

    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  19. #19
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    lol !

    " Imagine the Steelers getting the TD instead"








    Isn't that a line from a John Lennon song ?

  20. #20
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    I'm from Filly

    Of course I will be cheering the Eagles on but I am also remembering the Flyers in the cup with the Red Wings. They got swept in 4 games and looked like they had no business being on the same ice.

    That being said, It always seems like the Philly teams are good enough during the season, but when it comes to "Put up or Shut up" they always seem to choke. I can't figure this out for the life of me but it happens year after year with all of our pro teams. They just never seem to want it bad enough. This year they do.

    Everyone was saying that if we didn't beat the Falcons it would have been because TO was out. I don't buy into that at all. If your winning or losing is all based around 1 player, then your team doesn't deserve to win anyway. Turned out not to be the case this time since for once, the Eagles are actually a good TEAM.

    If the Eagles play thier A game and the Pats do the same, we will be proud runners up. But hey, at least we will have made it to the big dance.

    On a side note, I sure wish the city of Philly cared as much about the rest of the citizens the way they worried about the field and the game. At the expense of the rest of the streets in Philly, the field was clear.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    more sports junk...

    Swish... you're correct about turnovers. It's the most reliable stat in win/lost. It's why "you never know."

    Quote Originally Posted by richmon
    First UCONN wins both the mens and womans BBall titles, then the Red Sox taking the World Series in dramatic fashion, and the Pats are shooting for their 3rd Superbowl after setting the record for most consecutive wins. Sheez - whadda great time to be a sports fan in New England eh?
    Gluttony? Hey, allow me one deadly sin... LOL

    It's not just those teams (at least for myself...). Over the past 10-15 years I've also been lucky to follow a local girls high-school basketball team to a handful of (exciting) state titles... some nationally ranked track stars and teams... and my niece who helped her team win a few high school State championships in Cross Country. It's very rare to have that kinda local success over such a small time-period, especially from our (least populated) part of the state. And BTW, high school athletics is the best deal there is, for true sports fans.

    But yeah, we're in a golden age, sports-wise around here (although UConn is a regional team... PC & BC have deeper roots New England-wise). Don't worry... I, for one, am well aware of it and appreciate it. I used to be a Sox fan too, but stopped cold turkey after the strike years ago. I'm still happy for the fans, but I couldn't name you the Sox lineup. I watched all of 2-3 innings of the series this year, and that's it.

    I remember thinking back in the 80's, that those Larry Bird-era Celtics would be the last time I'd be lucky enough to ever follow such a great (dynasty-like) team again (they showed every game on a local cable channel in those days). But since those days, we had the ascension of UConn hoops (& football this year... ranked 31 our first div-1 year), and the re-emergence of the Pats (after a brief rise in the mid-80's).

    I started cycling in the late 70's, and after Greg LeMond won the tour 3 times I also thought I'd probably never see another US rider do that, although I did expect US riders to win some Euro classics (day races). But winning a tour is the most physically demanding competition there is. So, when Lance Armstrong came along, I was likewise surprised, and very grateful to be able to witness & share in it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime kinda thing... like the Celtics were (I was too young for Bill Russell era)... and the Pats now.

    I sure hope the Patriots take advantage of this last opportunity this year. You never know when it'll come again. I know Troy said he thinks they'll be good again in the future, but that's not usually what happens... one little thing can derail things... injury or draft choices. And the salary cap (in football) makes it extremely difficult to stay at the top. The old Steelers & 49'ers dynasties didn't have that huge issue to deal with... which makes this team even more amazing.

    Another thing that makes it hard to return next year (or win this next game for that matter) is the tiny tiny difference in the quality between players at the Professional level. In the NCAA or high school you can have upsets... when a clearly superior group of athlete's is beaten by an inferior one, even though they're rare. But on the Pro level... there are no (real) upsets. The worst player on any team is still a superior athlete... they're all much closer, completively. Which is why teams with poor records beat the better teams regularly in any pro sport. That rarely happens in college or HS. A Duke basketball team will beat Podunk-state... 100 out of 100. That kinda disparity doesn't exist in the pros.

    BTW, many don't realize that the UConn women had their best team in '01. They had 5 all-Americans (past or future) on that team... enough depth to win with their 2'nd-five players if they'd wanted to. But that team had injuries, and other problems... and Notre Dame won the national title. Diana Taurasi was a freshman that year, and (uncharacteristically) went 1-13 behind the arc in the final-4. Otherwise they'd have won 5 national titles in a row, and be trying for #6 this year! So, just having the very best team doesn't guarantee a thing. UConn's "best team" didn't win a title.

    PS... on a tangential subject, Nova (PBS) had a piece last night on how the brain "mirrors" certain experiences by visually reacting to cues... it was used to explain why sports fans get so caught up in their teams etc. It mixed new bio data with social/psych interaction by people & animals. Pretty neat stuff.



    You don't know... jack

  22. #22
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Angry A Pox upon thy house.... A Pox I say!!!!

    I will never ever EVER root for the Pats as long as I draw breath. Football ended for me as a competitive sport 4 years ago on a snowy evening in New England. I've barely watched a game since. Untill the NFL comes clean and revokes or modifies the "Tuck" Rule, they'll never get another dime of my money. I don't give a flying s**t how many titles the Pats win they never should've went to their first Super Bowl. They lost that night and the NFL officials stole a victory and gave it to them. Until they lose a game in a similar dispicable fashion I wish for nothing more than their complete and udder destruction.

    Someone get me "Da Prince of Darkness" on the phone... tell him I gotta deal for him.

    Da "Still pissed off in case you can't tell" Worfster

  23. #23
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I agree with ya Worf, except I don't blame the Pats for that. And I could be wrong but wasn't that their 2nd Superbowl (first being in the mid 90's?)

    Anyhoo...you think that was bad, ya shoulda seen the way the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup against Buffalo a few years back...

  24. #24
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    the rest of the story...

    Worf, you needn't root for us... we're going to win anyway... LOL. But... gimme a break.

    First...as to the snow game... the refs actually got the rule correct that night (read the rule book about "forward pass"). You can argue with the rule (most agree with you), but it's like many our equally dumb (non-sports) laws.... they're often stupid, wrong, or outdated. But we shouldn't blame cops or judges, rather the legislatures that make em, and us that elect those morons. So I agree, vent your anger at the league's competition committee.... but, NOT AT THE PATS. And NOT at such a trivial rule... when there are other bigger things to get upset about.... speaking of...

    Now if you wanna get all upset about "unfair" and "stupid" things in sports.... you'll have to stand in line, cause I'll wager I have more b_tches than you do. Football is actually one of the better sports when it comes to fariness, rules, and general competition. They brought in video replay, and despite it's drawbacks, it (at least) honestly attempts to make results as fair as humanly possible. Football also attempts to keep competition on a level competitive (& fan friendly) level with salary caps and revenue sharing.

    In contrast, Baseball is the most f_cked up sport there is... even though they get a frickin exemption from the government. Their drug policy has been a joke for 15 years, and every OWNER HAS KNOWN IT. It's ruined the tradition of most records, and it's helped corrupt many of our youth who think it's OK to cheat to win... not only in sport, but carried over to everyday life. The pros piss on all the hard working youth and HS coaches who try to instill discipline and ethics of life through sport. Also, baseball's lack of revenue sharing makes the sport (competition) a joke (the Yankees and other select teams will always be at the top until it changes). Also, the way they sandbag politicians to help taxpayers foot the bill for their stadiums is crimminal IMO... etc etc. I stopped watching baseball after following it religiously. Football is a dream in comparison. Now back to the Pats...

    First, that was NOT their first super bowl... it was their 3'rd. This next one will be their 5'th. And they had to win those future games after that snow game, so it's hardly like they were given anything. Their win last year was as tough and well deserved as any other superbowl winner. (one of the few great & close games too) You wanna rail at the league for one dumb rule, go to it, but the Pats had nothing to do with it. However...

    ....Until they lose a game in a similar dispicable fashion...

    That game was Karma man! As a longtime Patriots fan... let me tell you the REST OF THE STORY:

    There was a playoff game in 76 when the Pats were out-right jobbed by 2!! crooked calls... not good calls of bad rules... CROOKED CALLS. Those mid-70 Patriot teams were as good as any in football history... Daryll Stingly, John Hannah, Steve Grogan, Russ Francis, Mike Haynes, etc. I'm sure we would have won the superbowl... and then been looked-on around the league with more respect than we then got afterwards (zilch). Instead, Oakland got that aura around them (winners etc). That snow-game loss was simply "God's retribution'. IMHO they'll (Oakland) will have to lose a dozen more (crazy games) for me to call it even! I'll let the great writer Bob Ryan tell the story, since it'll take less time to copy/paste than me to tell it from memory:
    ------------------------------

    Spirit of '76: Calls left him officially riled
    By Bob Ryan, Globe Staff, 1/20/2002
    OXBOROUGH - WARNING: The following tale may not be suitable for all ages.

    If you're the type who's been teaching your offspring that life is fair, that good deeds are rewarded, that there is always justice for all - and if you really believe this, you're already guilty of inefficient parenting, just by definition - that athletic contests cannot be controlled by officials, then you do not want your kids to read any further.

    For this is a saga of aggravation, frustration, and horrible injustice. Life is most certainly not always fair and the best team does not always win. In a lifetime of watching and covering athletic contests, I seldom have walked away from a game with a feeling of anger and bitterness to equal the sensation that overcame me following the events of Dec. 18, 1976, when the New England Patriots had a playoff game stolen from them by the Oakland Raiders and by an officiating crew for whom there should be reserved a special place in athletic Hades.

    I never would have believed it had anyone told me on the morning of that game that I would become so passionate over the outcome. The Patriots weren't my beat. I hadn't attended one game all season. I was a baseball/basketball guy who had been in Los Angeles covering baseball's Winter Meetings and who had been added to the Globe coverage team by sports editor Dave Smith because I was in the vicinity. My personal plan was simple. I would cover the game in the afternoon and then head back across the Bay Bridge to the Cow Palace in order to catch the finals of the Cable Car Classic. I was a lot more interested in seeing the young Bill Cartwright than the old Kenny Stabler on that day; believe me.

    But by the time Russ Francis had put the Patriots ahead, 14-10, on a 26-yard TD reception from Steve Grogan and I was really into it. It was a terrific game, and it was pretty obvious which was the better team.I was sitting next to the grand pooh-bah of pigskin himself. Will McDonough had been calling plays in advance and explaining why they did or didn't work, and I was enjoying the tutorial. When Jess Phillips capped a drive with the 3-yard run to make it 21-10 midway through the third quarter, I distinctly recall saying to Will, 'Geez, Willie, they really are the best team in football!' He nodded.

    Good Lord, I thought. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Until that day, I just didn't know how good they were. Sure, I knew Grogan had run for an amazing 12 touchdowns that year, and I knew about John Hannah, Sam Cunningham, Mike Haynes, Francis, etc. and that they had gone 11-3, but they were a 3-11 team the year before and they were still the Patriots. No member of the current roster possibly could appreciate the connotation of that designation in 1976.

    It didn't happen.
    Now I'm going to cut to the chase. You've read and heard all week about the roughing the passer flag referee Ben Dreith threw on Ray 'Sugar Bear' Hamilton on a third-and-18 Stabler incompletion at the Patriots' 27 with 57 seconds left and the Patriots leading, 21-17. The 77-year-old retired official still defends the call, and, truth be told, though it was wrong and inappropriate (common sense says you don't make a borderline call in such a situation, and this was absolute borderline), there have been many worse roughing the passer calls in the history of the game. Anyway, it's not the one that bothers me to this day.

    The worst officiating travesty of the day came earlier in the period. The Patriots were driving and had third and 5 at the Oakland 32. The play call was a pass to Francis, the noted tight end, and it was incomplete - for a very good reason. Francis had no chance to catch the ball because Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano had attached himself to Francis right from the snap. In the outside world Villapiano's action would have netted him three-to-five. But neither Dreith nor any of his colleagues saw fit to call the most obvious interference call any of them would ever encounter, period.

    'He was holding me all the way,' maintained Francis. 'The officials were in good position to call it. They just wouldn't do it.'
    I root. I admit it. When I no longer can develop the passion to care about a sports event, I will get out. But Will McDonough is more of a take-it-as-it-comes guy, and here is what he wrote about that play. ''Francis was held from start to finish by the linebacker Phil Villapiano, who was so aware of it that when the pass hit the ground, he jumped around with his arms outspread to the officials saying, 'Not me' like a kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar.'

    It wasn't just these two calls/noncalls, either. What frustrates the Patriots who participated in that game to this day was the brutal incompetence of the officiating all afternoon. These men want to know how Stabler could go back to pass 49 times without there once being a holding call on his line, a line that was well known as the holdingest bunch in captivity. 'They hold worse than any team in the league,' confirmed Patriots center Dr. Bill Lenkaitis. 'After every time I rushed the passer,' added defensive end Julius Adams, 'I had to tuck my shirt back in. I don't play with my jersey outside, and I don't pull it out myself. Draw your own conclusion.'

    My conclusion was that the Patriots wuz robbed. I had seen a great injustice, and it bothered me. Worse yet, those damnable Al Davis Raiders went on to win that Super Bowl. I just know that in their deepest heart of hearts the most rational among them know it was tainted, that in a fair world they would have been eliminated in the first round. When I walked out of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that afternoon I was so drained and bummed I decided to skip the Cable Car Classic. Anyone who knows me realizes the implications of that decision. Nah, it was far more important to drain a few beers and curse the fates.

    The debt never has been paid, not even in 1985. It won't be until the Raiders and their fans and their owner are made to suffer.
    © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
    You don't know... jack

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