Go Pats

In the mid 90’s Don Lane hosted a weekly NFL highlights program on the ABC which provided a great introduction to the game for Australians. My housemate at the time was already a huge NFL fan, with a collection of tomes on rules, strategy and statistics, so Don was a regular feature in our house on a Tuesday night.

Of course to really follow a sport you need a team. My housemate was an Oakland Raiders fan and I spent an enormous amount of time trying to consume sports stats rather than actually do any work for the degree that I was studying. Finally I settled on the New England Patriots, a bunch of underdog losers who had started to see a bit of a form reversal thanks to their new Quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

I’ve always liked loser teams who come good and these days there aren’t many teams better than the Pats. This year the Patriots became the first team to win every game in the regular season since it was extended from 14 to 16 games in the mid 70’s and if they can defeat the New York Giants today they will stand above every other team in the NFL as one of the legends of their game.

Go Pats!

11 thoughts on “Go Pats

  1. I was watching Sky News tonight on Austar and at the start of their sports report they announced “Our top story tonight is the US Super Bowl”. The what? I had to check that I hadn’t accidentally switched to CNN or some other American show. Nope, there it was, taking precedence over the cricket and all the other Australian sports stories.

    Funny game though, how come they can score a ‘touchdown’ without actually touching it down? Just catching it in the zone doesn’t do it for me. I’m no fan of rugby but at least you gotta fight to get it over the line! And what’s with the helmets and all that other protective gear?

    Oh yeah, I believe the New York Giants won in a major upset. For some reason they were the underdogs. Sorry Dave.

  2. Wow! That’s gotta hurt. 35 sec touchdown. At least you can still like a loser team that may come good. It is quite incredible that 35 seconds can make the difference between a team that is to be the greatest of all time and one that will be a footnote in history. Nothing like the good old US of A for a bit of hyperbole

  3. AFL? Sorry, never heard of it, in spite of Chanel 10’s best efforts to ram it down my throat (along with a myriad of other US mindless trash TV shit). Living in pseudo Victoria you probably suffer much more than I, but it’s my fondest hope that that virus will continue to be contained down south.

    Real ball sports involve green felt, a cue made from fine ash and blue chalk. In rare cases it’s acceptable for a ball sport to involve one of those odd shaped pneumatic things, but only if there are ruck’s and line-outs involved (and lacking any significant hand-eye co-ordination, I should only ever be a spectator at these types of events).

  4. AFL = adonis style athletes displaying great skill and endurance.

    Rugby = meatheads with no necks playing a bastardised version of ‘British Bulldog’

    US NFL = a whimped out version of rugby with protective gear so the mummy’s boys don’t get hurt and a rule that allows forward passing (otherwise they’d never score)

  5. Sport is cruel. To be honest this loss didn’t hurt as much as the ’97 Superbowl where the Patriots went down to the Green Bay Packers, we were really the underdogs that time. That said there’s something nice about setting new records, achieving something that hasn’t been done before.

    That said, had we won, I don’t think it could have been as exciting as 2002 when we won by a field goal which flew through the crossbars as full time ticked over.

    It amazes me the amount of hostility that people hold towards American Football as a sport, but I’d suggest that a lot of it comes from a lack of understanding about the game. I personally love the fact that every single play is significant, and that there is so much tactical gamesmanship between the coaching staffs.

    Complaining about the protective gear is a weak argument, the crux of the sport is that it is a collision game played at close quarters. No other contact sport, perhaps excepting Ice Hockey, has same intensity of collisions that American football has, yet there are no complaints about the protective gear Hockey players wear.

    Forward passing is a feature of the game, and one that requires amazing skill and timing, especially when you consider the Quarterback usually has three or four exceptionally fast guys, all who weigh over 130kg, coming to crush him from the second he receives the ball. Complaining about forward passing is also pretty lame when you’re talking up AFL, I don’t recall seeing AFL players penalised for handballs towards the opponent’s goal.

    The other criticism usually thrown up is the change of players when possession of the ball changes, but what you need to realise is that in this game every single play matters and as such you want to have the absolute best player available for each of the 11 spots on the field. Because of the way that the ‘downs’ system works the game wouldn’t be any quicker if you made the same 11 guys stay on the field, but it would certainly be much less spectacular. It’s also interesting that sports like Rugby League and AFL have moved to an ‘interchange’ system for player substitution, which isn’t that different conceptually from what happens in NFL.

    Like any non-mainstream activity most Aussies will happily knock NFL simply because they don’t understand it, but I truly believe that once you have an understanding of NFL it is one of the most compelling spectator sports played anywhere.

  6. NFL is to America what AFL is to Australia – ie it’s a home bred game and it’s hardly played or appreciated anywhere else in the world and it’s not likely to be.

    I don’t think Aussies knock NFL because it’s not mainstream and they don’t understand it. I think they knock it because they regard it as razamatazz, overhyped and uninteresting compared to ‘real’ football (*). Soccer wasn’t mainstream for many years but it’s developed a large following here mainly because it’s a trul;y international game.

    * By ‘real football’ I mean a game where the ball is predominantly kicked with the foot and not thrown – ie Soccer and AFL. I think rugby & NFL could be more aptly described as handball.

    Anyway, whatever turns you on. I’m thinking of getting into curling – it’s riveting stuff!

  7. I detest AFL, loathe Rugby League and it’s “stars”, but can tolerate a good match of Rugby Union (particularly if the Wallabies are playing well (rare) and there’s beer for me involved). Soccer, while being a pleasant pastime is a horrendous spectator sport and would give me the appearance of a narcoleptic should I try to watch it. NFL, baseball, Nascar etc leave me cold, I file ’em with AFL, Fox News, The OC and Piers Ackerman.

  8. That Don Lane NFL show was great. I’m amazed with Australia’s love of American culture they don;t try something like that again, if not with Don some other Aussie based Yank.

  9. Channel Nine bought the rights at a price that the ABC couldn’t match, hosted the show with Eddie Fucking Maguire; who unsurprisingly knew nothing about the game, and then syphoned it off to Foxtel so that FTA viewers had to go without. Pricks.

    Don was great because he bought passion and understanding of both the game and his Australian audience to the show. Don picked which game would be the ‘extended highlights’ match to ensure that you saw a good game, so often it would be two celler dwellers playing each other, but in a grudge match with decades of history. The ABC and SBS are the only networks who can do international sport justice, but Foxtel has bought everything on offer to fill their schedule. Again; Pricks.

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