06
Feb
17

This one tops ‘em all

For Too Many Men on the Ice, there’s Bruins 5, Maple Leafs 4.

For Roughing the Passer, there’s the Greatest Comeback in Baseball History.

For Game 6 in ‘86, there’s the Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History.

The heartache of Don Cherry, “Sugar Bear” Hamilton and Bill Buckner has been replaced by Patrice Bergeron, David Ortiz and Tom Brady.

The frustration of so many near-misses has been overtaken by 10 – 10! – Boston championships since the beginning of the millennium.

We have so many titles, we can now come up with not only which one is the best, but which comeback is the best.

10!

The Celtics’ Game 4 revival from 24 down in the third quarter against the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals? That was good.

The Bruins’ Game 7 resurgence against the Maple Leafs after trailing 4-1 in the third period of the 2013 playoffs? That was great.

The Red Sox’ resurrection from an 0-3 hole to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS? That was incredible.

The Patriots’ revival/resurgence/resurrection from, what was it, my goodness, 25 down late in the third quarter last night (just run 3 times and kick a field goal, Atlanta)?

None other than NFL Commish Roger Goodell put it best.

After fans’ and the media’s obsession over what would happen when/if Goodell handed the trophy over to Brady up on the podium with confetti streaming down, there was a simple moment when the two were in the background of Sunday night’s hoopla.

Goodell caught Brady’s attention with a nudge, and channeled Chris Farley.

“That was awesome.”

The most despised man in the joint put it best.

The 1976 Patriots were the first Boston sports team that grabbed hold of me. Third grade. Just recently moved to Massachusetts.

They were also the first team to break my heart.

I was too young to get involved in the ’75 Red Sox. The games were on too late. All I remember was my father waking my brother and I for school up the morning after Game 7 vs. the Reds.

Me, still in bed: “Did they win?!”

Dad, still in his bathrobe: No verbal response. Just a thumbs-down.

Oh well.

But the Pats of ’76 brought the excitement back. I recall a quick exchange with an older brother of a classmate of mine during lunch at Lincoln Elementary School in Natick. John Lynch, I believe, was his name. We talked about how well the Patriots were playing that season.

“Maybe they can make it to the Super Bowl!” he said, enthusiastically.

I didn’t know what that was, but I jumped on board.

A few weeks later I watched as Kenny Stabler snaked his way into the end zone after a controversial roughing the passer call. I went up to my room and cried.

Two years later, the Sox blew a 14 1/2-game lead. In ’79, the Bruins lost to the Canadiens in Game 7 after having an extra skater (or was it two?) on the ice.

What a great initiation to becoming a Boston sports fan.

Then came 1986: Pats lose Super Bowl by 36 points and “Behind the bag…and the Mets win!”

All it took was a new millennium to flip things.

I’m still trying to fathom was happened last night/this morning. My wife and I sat on the couch and couldn’t believe what we saw. The Edelman catch. The Hightower strip sack. The two 2-point conversions. The Falcons march to the New England 22 and don’t score.

I spent the hours after the game flipping between highlight shows. (By the way, Channel 4 and Steve Burton “won” the post-game for local coverage with their early interviews of Brady’s parents and Julian Edelman while Channel 5 fumbled as their highlights didn’t match with what Mike Lynch was narrating).

I had to turn the TV off at 1:30 and pull out a book just so I could settle down. Sleep was not going to come easy.

After getting my daughter off to school, I picked up a copy of the Boston Globe in the morning. I plan to read every word on the game. I have only glanced at the front page so far, however.

There is a large photo of Brady hoisting the Lombardi Trophy underneath spiraling confetti. The picture sums up the aftermath. But there is no caption underneath.

None was needed.

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