Meanwhile, we do have football to distract us, although we may have to wait until January for any meaningful drama to edify us. With a cool, near effortless romp in their opener down in Tennessee, the Patriots quickly verified the widespread consensus that all they have to do in the regular season is avoid getting too banged up which admittedly is not entirely a casual matter in the profoundly vicious game within the game of NFL triage. But Boss Belichick is equal to that, if anyone is.
The opener must have delighted Belichick more than the taciturn fellow would ever want us to know. "Flawless," proclaimed one headline, a word rarely employed to describe this game of mistakes.
There were strong marks in every category. The defense was sharp and enterprising, producing a touchdown. The rookies were impressive, even mature. The tight ends, key to the offense, were terrific. They unveiled the best looking running game displayed in years. In Stevan Ridley might a star have been born? And as good as ever was the senior statesman at Quarterback; another year older and deeper in skills. En route, Tom Brady even picked up a nifty badge of courage. If his newly broken nose displeases the Lady Gisele his comrades in the trenches may now regard him as more of a football player and less of a matinee idol.
Of course, the Jets also won near as convincingly, trouncing Buffalo and thereby dispelling pre-season notions that they are mess and the Bills are improved. The Jets may manage to hang around to offer comic relief but essentially the division title and with it a passport to the playoffs is already in the bag for the Patriots. With a weak schedule in a weakened division their biggest challenge may be staving off boredom.
The seasons converge. Our sporting cup runneth over. Normally, we would have the Bruins, who I would remind you are the latest of our champs, reporting to camp this week and adding hockey to the table talk, always a pleasure.
But the greedy apparatchiks who own the franchises of the National Hockey League are intent on burning down their little village in order to save it. That's their manic scenario. This league cannot afford another such travesty but there is no longer any doubt that these fools will gladly blow up another season if that's what it takes to bust the players union.
This week's deadline is but a formality. With no movement on the essentials in three months of mainly uncivil and sometimes preposterous exchanges and with the intransigence of the owners bordering on contempt, the die doesn't need to be cast. As the Bard has noted, this way madness lies.
All of which reduces me to words I've long believed I'd never utter. When does basketball season begin?
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