It is just a theory in the embryonic stage, but hear us out:
Some might say that Boston’s run of sports dominance started on October 17, 2004 when Dave Roberts innocently swiped second base in game four of the ALCS, the spark that ultimately led to the Red Sox ending its 86-year World Series drought. We prefer to think it began on Feb. 1, 2004, about 90 minutes after Janet Jackson’s nipple made an appearance at the Super Bowl. Tom Brady led the Patriots on a late drive against the Panthers, culminating with Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yard field goal and New England won, 32-29.
Between February of 2004 and June of 2008, Boston was ground zero for professional sports, with the Patriots and Red Sox each capturing two titles, and the Celtics winning the NBA Championship in June.
Reasons we think that run is officially over:
* The Celtics are a year older and it seems unlikely that the team will remain as healthy as it was last season, the veterans will lack that dogged desire to chase a Championship, and crucial reserve James Posey left for New Orleans.
* The Red Sox dealt a cornerstone of the franchise, Manny Ramirez, earlier this summer, and even though Boston has the best postseason pitcher in baseball, we don’t see the Red Sox winning a World Series with that offense (which is 2nd in the majors in average, and first in OBP!).
* Some might say the Patriots’ run ended when Bernard Pollard destroyed Tom Brady’s leg two weeks ago, but we think their glorious NFL era of dominance ended yesterday with an embarrassing 38-13 loss at home against the previously-winless Dolphins. (A regular-season loss? TBL, you crazy!) It was the most heartless effort by Belichick’s team since Drew Brees and the Chargers pummelled the Pats 41-17 in 2005. And yes, we’re aware that Tom Brady and Randy Moss will only be 32 at the start of next season, and they are unlikely to lose any free agents of the same caliber as Asante Samuel. They might make the playoffs this year and next, but that run of titles and Super Bowls, we think, is over.
Historically, the best NFL franchises have strong 4-6 year bursts of excellence before the core splits up, injuries slow things down, and the downward descent beings: Pittsburgh won four titles between 1975-80; San Francisco won four titles between 82-90; Dallas won three between 93-96, and the Pats won three from 2002-08.
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