(as told to Nick Curley, via exclusive interview.)
FRAMINGHAM, MA – Watching the ’98 Honda Accord I torched outside the Cask ‘N Flagon go up in flames, I couldn’t help but see Tom Brady’s impeccable cheekbones among the whispering embers. The final seconds of Sunday’s American Football Conference Championship felt like getting pelted by ice chunks during elementary school games of King of the Mountain all over again. It’s funny how sometimes, in sports, fire is like ice.
I was cuffed and thrown into the Statie’s cruiser wearing nothing but resignation. Resignation and Kevin Faulk branded “FAULK ALL Y’ALL” boxer briefs. The howling siren peels through Landsdowne Street, proving an apt soundtrack to the evening’s montage of shame. Brady’s illegal slide, for which the league later fined him $10,000 in Uggs money. Welker’s dropped passes tumbling down with the chaos of that baby carriage in Potemkin. Aqib Talib limping around like a young Forrest Gump. I close my glitter-caked eyes and can still see Gisele carrying a diamond-encrusted handbag full of tears.
Were Sunday’s game played behind these prison bars, and reffed by Sully, the Warden With a Penchant for Towel Whipping, I can tell you that Baltimore running back Ray Rice would not have so easily reached the end zone untouched. Sleeping beside me on this concrete floor is Dolph, a Belmont based independent contractor who deals in roof maintenance and Adderall. And from the way CBS covered those closing minutes, you’d need a handful of Dolph’s Orange Party Wagon just to reach the end of that snoozefest.
But in life you have to accentuate the positive, by which I mean other people’s negatives. Like how I choose to forget all of the tragic parts of last year’s Super Bowl: bright side over blind side. I’ll always remember that game as the night Old Man Coughlin punted on fourth and four. The night the Pats’ horrendous defensive line turned would-be touchdowns into did-be field goals. The night Madonna threw her own Hail Mary in pursuit of relevance, and had it caught by the juggernaut cans of Nicki Minaj. Mario Manningham catching Eli Manning’s ham? Forgot all about it, bro.
And there was a lot to like about what we saw from Tommy and the Shondells this weekend. Faking a fake punt, seemingly out of spite? Ingenious. Brandon Lloyd showcasing the hottest hands this side of Christopher Lloyd. Brady looking sharper upon colliding into a referee’s posterior than Mark Sanchez did crashing into that of his teammate. Jerod Mayo hitting Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta so hard that his cleats fell off. So hard that Pitta very nearly didn’t score a touchdown on the following play.
So when my stepdad Marcus arrives with bail money, and I am free at last, I’ll still be referring to the Pats as “America’s Team”. Not solely because the word Patriot means “wicked strong American”. But because I dream of a homeland that will one day wave Bill Belichick’s soiled gray sweatshirt as it’s flag. Yet to the dismay of myself and raw dogs like Michael Bay, worldwide the U S of A remains one of the most hated nations among God’s fifty countries. Not because we’re rich and sick as hell, but because we’re free. Free to throw a Molotov cocktail through a sedan’s windshield. At least we used to be. Nowadays we’re like Russia, or one of those other shanties where no one’s ever even seen a Molotov.
But you know what? Screw it. We’ll get ‘em next year. Know why, Dolph? Because in Boston, that’s what we always used to do.