My drive from Indianapolis back to Boston was as long and monotonous as I imagined it would be.
To make matters worse, you wouldn't believe the number of cars from New York and New Jersey complete with enormous Giants flags, decals and cheesy bumper stickers that I passed or was passed by along the way. They were everywhere. I felt like a lone wildebeast, surrounded by a gang of laughing hyenas.
So just for fun, I called 911 on a few:
"Hello, I'm driving across Ohio and just saw a car with License Plate NYG ELI speeding, swerving, smoking pot and throwing beer cans out the window. Also, it looked like they had someone tied up and gagged in the back. You guys better check it out."
That cheered me up for a while. But not for long.
As for the rest of the trip:
On the way to Indianapolis, I listened almost exclusively to Howard Stern. He pretty much got me through that drive. But yesterday morning, he was talking about the Super Bowl too much, so I had to change the channel. And I made a decision:
Why not spend a few hours clicking back and forth between the 80s on 8 and 90s on 9 channels, and see if the songs can't inspire a few thoughts on the game.
I know it's random and some of the songs are cheesy but I was stuck on a 15 hour drive. Give me a break.
So, here are a few songs I heard, and the thoughts they produced.
I included the videos because most of them are absurd and hilarious, a welcome distraction for the sadness that lies within the text.
1. Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Under the Bridge
"I don't ever want to feel, like I did that day Take me to the place I love, take me all the way"
My biggest fear heading into Sundays game was that a loss might somehow feel as awful as it did after Super Bowl XLII aka the worst feeling in Patriots history, one that still haunts many of us to this day. But in retrospect, that probably wasnt possible.
In 2007, we never even considered that the Pats might lose, and were entirely blindsided when that game and season fell apart. This year, at the very least, defeat was within the realm of possibility and that helped soften the blow, even if only slightly.
After Sundays loss, Gerard Warren said: It's like almost getting to the top of Mount Everest, then falling back down. And that sounds about right. But in that case, 2007 was akin to falling off the moon.
So while this latest loss burns, and will for a while, theres a tiny consolation in knowing that we dont have to feel like we did that day. And likely never will.
2. Naughty By Nature: Feel Me Flow
"Amateur damager managin damagin mics, men and even mannequins.You're a fan again, now I wanna know whose the man again?"
First of all, my spelling and grammar check just threw up. Second, when this song came on the radio, I immediately thought of Tom Bradys Super Bowl record-tying 96-yard scoring drive which was really 98, thanks to an early false start.
Part of me thinks Brady was actually humming this song to himself in between plays, as he went 10-for-10 and powered the Pats to an improbable (considering the way the game had started) 10-9 halftime lead. He was that kind of a groove. And to be honest, after this drive, I thought that was it. I thought Brady was locked in and ready to take things to another level.
There he is! The legend is back! And hes about to stamp the hell out of his legacy as the greatest QB of all time!
Of course, that never happened. In the end, the second half was as disjointed as the first, and down the stretch, Brady made errors both mental and physical that cost the Pats a title.
Hes not the only one too blame, but hes one of the guys, and that alone feels wrong.
So does this loss tarnish Bradys legacy? I dont know if tarnish is the word, but it lowers the ceiling a little.
It doesn't take away from what hes already done, but it limits what he can do.
3. Faith No More: Epic
"It's alive, afraid, a lie, a sinIt's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss, it's a winIt's dark, it's moist, it's a bitter painIt's sad it happened and it's a shame"
You want it all but you can't have itIt's in your face but you can't grab it."
You wouldnt wish a major late-game drop on anybody in that Patriots locker room, but man, I really wish it hadnt happened to Wes Welker.
I cant believe it did happen to Wes Welker.
We all know it wasn't a perfect pass, but I can guarantee that doesn't make Welker feel any better.
4. Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Relax (Don't Do It)
"Relax don't do itWhen you want to go to it"I know that the NFL makes teams cut off the quarterbacks headset with 15 seconds left on the play clock, but still: Next time Bradys standing in the pocket with too much time, no open receivers and starts to wind up for one of his impromptu Hail Marys
They need to BLAST this song into his ears.
Sure, there's a chance he snaps and assassinates the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but that's the price you play to prevent a would-be interception.
Do we think this WTF-I'll-Just-Throw-A-Bomb mentality is left over from Brady's time with Randy Moss? Was it so easy with Moss that Brady's forgotten how few receivers can successfully come through on that play?
Also, on the interception Brady threw on Sunday, do we think he forgot that Gronk wasn't 100 percent? I think it's fair to say that if Gronkowski was healthy, he would have at least been able to break it up.
5. Van Halen: Right Now
"Miss a beat, you lose a rhythmAn nothin' falls into place. No!Only missed by a fractionSlipped a little off your pace."
I'll admit that this verse doesn't perfectly capture the Gronk dynamic, but there was nothing better plus I forgot how ridiculous this video is.
Anyway, Gronk may say he was 100 percent, but we know he wasn't. There was no rhythm to his game. No burst. He was a shadow of the player we've grown accustomed to. That's probably more apparent in his three targets than it his his two receptions. Think about that: There were only three times that entire game when Brady thought it was in his best interest to throw to his most devastating receiver.
It was so bad, that as the Pats jogged off the field at the end of the second quarter, I actually said to my dad: "Oh, I got it! With the extended break, the Pats decided not to give Gronk his shot until halftime. That's genius! Watch, he'll come out like a monster in the second half!"
Instead, that's now three of the last four seasons we can blame on Bernard Pollard.
6. Rolling Stones: She's So Cold
"I'm so hot for her, I'm so hot for her I'm so hot for her and she's so cold I'm so hot for her, I'm on fire for her I'm so hot for her and she's so cold"
I love that Gisele snapped at those Giants fans.
I love any situation when it looks like she actually cares about Brady. (Not saying she doesn't, just that you can't always tell in public).
But what she said I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times. My husband cannot f---king throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. is a pain in the ass. And with the attention she's earned for the altercation, you have to assume it's something Brady needs to bring up with his receivers.
Here's my question, though: You know that this is the exact same thing Gisele is saying to Tom behind the scenes. That it's the receivers fault, not his. And I guess you can't fault her for wanting to make her husband feel better.
I just wonder what Brady says in response.
I hope it's something along the lines of: "Are you out of your mind? We all screwed up!"
But who knows.
Also, can we talk about Mick Jagger in this video?
7. Arrested Development: Tennessee
"Take me to another place. Take me to another land. Make me forget all that hurts me. Let me understand your plan."
Bill OBrien? Josh McDaniels?
Whomever was in charge
Where was the no-huddle?
How do you almost entirely abandon your most effective offensive strategy?
8. A Tribe Called Quest: Scenario
"I heard you rushed and rushed, and attackedThen baby puked then you had to smackCausin rambunction, throughout the sphereRaise the levels of the boom, inside the ear"
There were a few times over the course of this game when I thought to myself: "Holy crap. this is really happening. They're really going to do this!"
One of those times was right after Patrick Chung's devastating sideline hit on Hakeem Nicks.
That play was so Super 36 when Tebucky Jones and Laywer Milloy laid a few smack downs on the Rams receivers and completely took them out of the game. And when Chung slammed Nicks to the ground, temporarily forcing him out, I thought: "Here we go again! We have them on the ropes the Giants are ready to break!"
They didn't break.
9. The Heights: How Do You Talk to an Angel?
"How do you talk to an angel?How do you hold her close, to where you are?"
I feel really bad for Robert Kraft.
I know that every one is taking this loss hard, and every one had a lot on the line, but this meant more to Kraft, on a personal, non-football related level, than anyone else involved. I really feel for him.
Not to pile on, but this is why I was (and a lot of other people were) so uncomfortable with the organization (and some in the media) repeatedly suggesting that the spirit Myra was somehow affecting the outcome the playoffs; that she was somehow responsible for pushing Billy Cundiff's kick to the left in the AFC Championship.
Because if thats what was happening behind the scenes, then how do you explain Sunday night? What happened there?
Whatever, it doesn't matter. Far more importantly: We can all agree that Myra Kraft would have been as proud of this Patriots team as she was of any of the teams that actually won.
10. Bush: Everything Zen
"I don't believe that Elvis is dead I don't believe that Elvis is dead I don't believe that Elvis is, Elvis is."It's true. Elvis is not dead. Sure, the Pats have some questions this off season most notably, what to do with Wes Welker? but we don't have to worry about them falling off a cliff and out of contention in the AFC.
They'll be back next year, the year after that and every year until Brady hangs them up.
That will help you feel a little better. But not until you're ready.
I've got at least a couple days.