, Newburyport, MA


March 7, 2014

A gift of memory

A quick trip to our past:

Intense attention often provokes relentless criticism of our four major sports franchises. It’s part of what makes Boston and the New England area reputable for its athletics — but with all of the negativity that engulfs us on a daily basis, it’s often easy to bypass times of years past and what they meant to us.

Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning, 48-yard field goal to win Super Bowl 36 began a decade of sports dominance. Three Lombardi Trophies, a Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, a Stanley Cup and now a third Commissioner’s Trophy.

Imagine, somewhere there is a 12-year-old kid who has experienced eight championships.

But as memories — though forever engraved in stone — continue to fade to the depths of our consciousness, a trip back to some of our best moments is oftentimes fun to truly appreciate what we have had.

Let’s take it back to the start.

Not many gave the team in blue and white much of a chance. Mo Lewis had left Drew Bledsoe sidelined and in walked a quarterback whom few people knew. We weren’t talking about a Heisman Trophy winner or a first-overall pick in the NFL Draft, but rather a kid by the name of Tom Brady who fell to the sixth round and whose list of faults was longer than most people’s grocery lists.

We weren’t talking about Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells, but rather a coach who made his rounds about the NFL from the Browns to the Giants, and even to the Jets for a few hours. In a league where a quarterback-coach tandem could make or break an organization, the Patriots were in the midst of the unknown.

While I was only 12 years old at the time, there are certain things that I will always remember about that stretch of playoff football in 2001-02.

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