Your Pats in their offseason
The great conquerors don't know the meaning of the word "enough." Their appetites are ravenous. There's no "quit" in these bullies until the Reaper Himself blows the whistle. 'Tis ever been thus.
On horseback, Genghis Khan led his lads from the shores of the Pacific to the Gates of Vienna. In his yearning to sack Rome, Hannibal marched his elephants over the Alps. After subduing Britannia, Caesar would have paddled on to North America if he'd known it was there. Had he scheduled his tour of Russia a bit earlier Napoleon and his merry band might have stomped all the way to Vladivostok, thus being spared their unfortunate date with winter in Moscow.
To these wild and crazy kids, no obstacle ever looks too formidable. Their ambition has no limit. And if it is equally a fact that such vanity ultimately guarantees their destruction that's why we remember them so fondly.
Without fear of exaggeration we can regard our own Bill Belichick, maestro of the Patriots, as the true and undisputed Napoleon of the NFL's torrid gridiron wars. In his near generation-long scorched earth campaign, Emperor Bill has not only whipped but humiliated his foes; the mark of a true champion in the game of tyranny.
Add to that the gusto, the elan, the stupendous flair he's brought to this incomprehensible task; the recent mind-boggler featuring as the pigeons the Falcons being only the loftiest example. Frederick the Great would have been pleased to tip his hat (or spiked helmet) to our boy Bill.
To us ordinary people it seemed he had no more worlds to conquer after Soupey LI's epic finish. At long last he could take a breath, rest up, go for a walk, read a book, hangout with his buddy the President to whom he could have extended the truly patriotic service of offering much needed advice on how to lead. Maybe -- heresy as this suggestion may seem -- could Bill Belichick even have gone on a nice long vacation?
Instead, we have here in the aftermath of his finest hour the genuine spectacle of the dauntless, tireless and relentless Bill striving -- as if the Hound of Heaven were on his heels -- to out-do himself, impossible task though that may obviously be, aiming at the last and only goal that's eluded him; sheer perfection.
Are we talking here -- as Brother Dan Shaughnessy has colorfully argued -- that Bill Belichick, conqueror of all known sporting worlds, now lusts to go where no gridiron warlord has never tread, a 19-0 season!; undefeated, untied and if not quite unscored upon certainly close enough?
After all, what else is left for him to covet?
To me -- a fool who prioritizes a good book, a walk in the park, and certainly a vacation at anytime, anywhere -- it all seems rather daft. But to those who can't get enough chances to bathe in the reflected glow of sporting championships the new Belichick mission is viewed as truly inspired. The spoiled legions of Patriots Nation, whose needs for such satisfactions are as ravenous as his and even more curious, are utterly beside themselves.
For the early consensus holds what he's done so far this off-season -- and he ain't done yet -- makes the Patriots substantially stronger; both a bit hard to believe and awfully hard to swallow for the other poor suckers in the league.
Do the signings of Kony Ealy and Lawrence Guy rebuild the defensive line, making it better than it was? I don't know. Is Stephon Gilmore an upgrade over Logan Ryan, Dwayne Allen preferable to Martellus Bennett, Rex Burkhead another Curtis Martin? I do not have a clue. Nor do I know if we'll miss Chris Long and Alan Branch but pleased to have kept James Develin and Duron Harmon.
Is Don't'a Hightower worth $43.5 million? My answer would be, "Only if he has a cure for cancer." But what do I know. If you promise not to tell, I shall confess I'd heard precious little about Brandin Cooks until he came to Foxborough and was instantly proclaimed better than Don Hutson and almost as good as Jerry Rice. But so what?
For I am here to tell you that if Field Marshall Belichick says all that's the case, I'll reply, smartly: "Yes Sir!" He's The Man!
"What will happen to Malcolm Butler?" you ask. Whatever Coach Belichick thinks is best for the team, is my swift and stock reply. Should they raffle off Jimmy Garoppolo to the highest bidder? Only if Coach thinks he can't squeeze still more out of the kid down the road. Hey, there are worse fates than being held hostage to the legend of Tom Brady.
But have you begun to wonder, as some are suggesting, if all this night be the prelude to a smashing ''last hurrah'' for the Belichick-Brady axis, all draped with a drama even a Napoleon might admire?
- Clark Booth is a renowned Boston sports writer and broadcast journalist. He spent much of his long career at Boston’s WCVB-TV Chanel 5 as a correspondent specializing in sports, religion, politics and international affairs.