Patriots

On Anchorman, Sequels and Championship Rings

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On Anchorman, Sequels and Championship Rings

Wednesday night on Conan, the great Ron Burgundy tore up the stage on his jazz flute, and then shocked the audience with an urgent and horrifying news story

CANNNONNNNBAAAAALLL!

Nah, he announced that the long-awaited sequel to Anchorman is finally in the works. And in case you thought Burgundy was joking, later that night writerdirector Adam McKay hopped on Twitter to confirm:

A few people questioning if Anchorman 2 is 100 for sure happening. Let me assure and assuage: it is. We're writing now and we shoot in Feb Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) March 29, 2012
Now this is obviously great news. Anchorman was one of the best comedies of the past decade. It catapulted the comedy careers of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell, spawned an army of dogs named Baxter and changed the way we think about scotch, milk, lamps, tridents, wheels of cheese and the scent of Big Foot's genitals.

And now it, or more specifically he, Ron Burgundy, and his Action 4 news team are back.

This is exciting stuff.

But, as with any sequel especially for a movie as legendary as Anchorman through all the excitement there exists one sad reality:

There's no way it will be as good as the original.

It's impossible. Even if they bring back all the characters. Even if they find the perfect story, write a hilarious script and execute the whole thing as precisely as possible. There's no way Anchorman 2 will have the same impact as the first one. There's no way it can capture that same glass case of emotion or recreate how it felt to meet and experience those characters for the first time. We're spoiled now. We're expecting too much. As a result, as good as it may eventually be, Anchorman 2 is almost guaranteed to be a letdown.

And that kind of sucks. Almost enough to make you wonder: Hey, would it be so bad if they just left Ron Burgundy alone?

Why risk ruining that legacy?

In other words: If you can't beat it, why even try?

Now let me finally bring this back to sports.

Over the last 12 years, the city of Boston's obviously been fortunate to experience an absurd amount of sporting success. We've won seven titles, and made it to an additional seven league and conference championships. We've seen MVPs, Rookies of the Year, a long roster of All Stars and double digit Hall of Famers. But regardless of any and all achievement, even if Boston wins three or four more titles over the next five years, we all know the reality:

It's never better than your first time.

February 3, 2002: Patriots 20, Rams 17
October 27, 2004: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0
June 17, 2008: Celtics 131, Lakers 92
June 15, 2011: Bruins 4, Canucks 0

For a new generation of Bostonians those who weren't alive andor cognisant when the Celtics won in 1986 these four dates will forever be the apex of our lives as sports fans. (For the Sox, you might even go back to October 20, 2004: Game 7 of the ALCS). The way we felt on those four days will never be matched. They can bring back all the same characters, they can have a great story and execute to perfection, but they can never recreate the magic, experience or emotion of that first title. We're spoiled now. We expect too much.

Of course that hasn't stopped them from trying, and in the process, finding all sorts of success. The 2007 Red Sox. The back-to-back champion Pats. Three amazing, memorable and absolutely historic teams. But all three paled in comparison to their originals; all three were victims of their own ridiculous and unfair self-imposed precedents.

It's like, imagine if the Bruins somehow win again this year. It will be amazing. But it won't be the same. The Rolling Rally won't be as big. The after party won't go quite as long. In a sad and messed up way, it just won't be as good. How could it be?

And, bringing it back home, I'm sure that Anchorman 2 will suffer the same fate.

I'm sure we'll all walk out of theater saying stuff like: "Yeah, it was pretty awesome, but it doesn't hold a candle to the first one."

And that sucks. but honestly who cares? At the end of the day, does not being as good as the original actually hurt the original? Does the fact that Hangover 2 wasn't that great make the first one any less awesome? Did the slightly decreased sensation of the last two Super Bowls and the 2007 World Series taken anything away from the life changing experiences of 2002 and 2004? No. Of course not. And even if they did, those are problems that anyone would be lucky to have. Problems that we'll hopefully have to deal with around here through the Anchorman sequel and beyond.

In the meantime, you stay classy Boston.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Energized Patriots defense forces 'critical swings' with turnovers

Energized Patriots defense forces 'critical swings' with turnovers

“We’re a blue-collar team…”

Devin McCourty didn’t hesitate when asked about the Patriots’ identity. Moments prior, McCourty and his teammates had just stomped the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City, 33-8, to run their win streak to a half-dozen games. The Pats are tied for the best record in the AFC with the Steelers

“We played at a high level,” said McCourty. “They made some plays, but I thought we executed our game plan and did exactly what we wanted to do today.”

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After surrendering a 100-points per game through the first month (ok, it was only 32), the Pats defense has flexed their muscle during this stretch, allowing 12.5 points per game, which would be the best in the NFL were this a season-long thing. We’re not looking at the same unit even though the personnel is largely the same. If anything, from a talent-level, this defense has less skill than it did when the season started. Their best player, Dont'a Hightower, is out for the year, lost during the first win of this 6-game streak. They’ve also survived three-game absences from $31-million cornerback Stephon Gilmore and their most consistent interior defender, tackle Malcom Brown. Yet the defense keeps showing up, keeps improving and its confidence is growing by leaps and bounds.

“We’re just playing together…we’re kind of figuring that out,” said McCourty. “We’re understanding how we need to prepare, how we need to practice, whether it’s a hard, full-padded practice, whether it’s a walkthrough, we know what we need to do on each of those days and when we do that, we give ourselves a chance. You’re seeing that on Sundays. Everyone running around, everyone knows their job and it’s all about execution.”

“I thought our players gave a great effort tonight,” said Bill Belichick. “We came out and performed well early, throughout the game and played really good situational football.”

The Pats were opportunistic, forcing three turnovers, including one in a huge spot, when Marquis Flowers stripped the ball from wideout Seth Roberts as the Raiders were knocking on the door. It was 14-0 at the time, and Oakland had life. Second-year cornerback Jon Jones battled Roberts, Flowers popped the ball free and safety Pat Chung pounced on it. Instead of milking the clock and heading into halftime up two scores, the Pats turned that fumble into points, driving to midfield before Steven Gostkowski kicked a career-long 62 yarder. That further energized a Pats team that was already surging.

“It’s something we talk about every week,” said McCourty. “We’re playing solid defense, executing the game plan, but changing the game with turnovers - you know, even Duron’s interception was a third down so it was kind of like a punt. The energy that brings - when the offense takes the field after we get a turnover - that’s huge. And then with them driving again in the red area before the half is what we talked about, getting that stop.”

“We had some real critical swings with those turnovers,” admired Tom Brady, a chief beneficiary of those change in possessions.

Earlier this week, I asked McCourty if he got a sense that the team was coming together at the tail end of their stay in Colorado Springs. He smiled and joked initially, but you could sense the veteran safety can see and feel what the rest of the league is now a witness to.

“I hope so. I mean, it’d probably be terrible if I say yeah and then we go on a five-game losing streak. I can see the headline: ‘McCourty was wrong.’ So, no, I think we understand how the season starts to pick up. You know, each game means more. We understand that seven wins (now 8) doesn’t mean anything. We have to continue to get better. So, I think why we end up usually improving is because it’s the understanding of there’s no tomorrow.”

The defense ordered that Code Red after losing to Carolina in Week 4, and since then, they have worked harder, worked longer and cleaned up so many of the issues that ailed them that opening month. It’s a credit to the players, “they won’ the game tonight,” said Belichick, and the coaching staff as well. if you’ve followed this team over the years, you know even now, they’re not satisfied. There are “things to work on” added Belichick and they’ll start that work on the flight home from Mexico City to Foxboro. 

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