When the Patriots finally take the field in September, no question this is going to be a strange freaking new world for all of us fans. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been two decades since Drew Bledsoe took that awful hit to the chest forcing him to go to the ER and opening the door to the Tom Brady legacy.
Now it’s over. TB 12, like most old New Englanders, has taken refuge in South Florida.
2001. So long ago. With no sports to watch I got to thinking; you really have to be about 34 years old to have any appreciation, or perhaps even a recollection, of what the Patriots were like before the Brady/Bill duo began league domination.
Basically if you’re not approaching your mid 30’s, you were born into the royal family. You did not have to work in the fields or beg for crumbs like us old fans. Perhaps as you close in on the big 4-OH, you remember a few of the Drew Bledsoe years. And don’t get me wrong, there were some good years there. I loved Drew and how he used to frustrate the heck out of the Big Tuna. That by the way is Bill Parcells, who you kids also don’t remember as our coach.
My grey hair and cranky attitude will serve to inform you that I go back further, to Hugh Millen, Doug Flutie, Tony Eason and Steve Grogan. I even remember an occasional snap taken by Matt Cavanaugh.
Perhaps I am a youngster to you as you can recall watching Jim Plunkett and maybe even Babe Parilli? I will confess those guys are before my time.
I always wondered why my grandparents took so much food from the Golden Corral buffet. I eventually came to understand it’s because they grew up in a time with very little on their plates. As did some of us Patriots fans in terms winning seasons.
For those of you in your mid 30’s and younger you’re about to see how being hungry for wins feels. But at least you know what it’s like to have a full belly, unlike my kids who only got a little taste of the TB 12 feast.
BY JEFF SOLARI