You ever had a really bad break up? And I dont mean bad in the sense that there was a lot of screaming and throwing things and wishing each other dead. I mean bad in the sense that it ripped your heart out. That it sent you into a tailspin and left you entirely unprepared to cope with reality.
If your answers no, then Id like to extend a hearty smack in the face on behalf of the other 99 of the population. If your answer is no, AND youre a Patriots fan, then take a second and think back to Super Bowl XLII.
Think about 18-1. David Tyree. Asante Samuel. That ridiculous red sweatshirt. Think about what it was like in the days and weeks after the Pats lost what would have been one of the most monumental games in NFL history.
Thats the feeling.
Youre one of us now. You passed the test.
A lot happens when we find ourselves reeling from that kind of emotional sucker punch. We hurt a lot. We learn a lot. We find ways to persevere, and eventually move on.
But as part of the healing process, in celebration of finally seeing the light, theres a pledge that many of us make to ourselves:
Let's never feel this way again.
Its probably not the healthiest way to go about life. But whatever, it comes with the territory. The bottom line is that anyones whos been through a horrible break up never wants to feel that way again. Theyll do anything they can to prevent it.
Which brings us to Super Bowl XLVI.
I get the sense that most Patriots fans have spent the last seven months trying to pretend that Indianapolis never happened. I know I have. And I know that has a lot to do with 2007.
Why? Because it's impossible to deal with the emotions and ramifications of last year's loss without eventually finding yourself back in Arizona. It's impossible. It's all connected. And no one wants to go back down that road.
But at some point, we'll have to.
A friend e-mailed me this morning with two photos of Wes Welker. I'm not sure why he felt like ruining day, but what can you do? The first photo shows Welker in the air with the ball in his hands. And let me emphasize: The ball was not just touching his hands. It was IN his hands. The second photo shows Welker falling to the ground with his arms failing at a ball that's now barely out of reach. If it's been a while since you ate lunch, you can check out the photos here.
My buddy wrote: "This affects me in a weird way, like I kinda want to cry. All that hard work for 8 months, the legacies of Welker and Brady, comes down to that. I have this creepy feeling that Brady wont win another, its just so hard, you need a lot of things to go your way and last season they got lucky to be there and were so close."
And I think that pretty much sums it up.
First of all, the drop. Or if you don't want to call it a drop, let's put it this way: "A Tom Brady pass to a wide open Wes Welker was the difference between the Patriots and a fourth ring . . . and they still have three." That's devastating.
But more than anything, the most haunting aspect of last year's Super Bowl are the questions:
Was that it? Was that Brady's last shot? Is this Welker's legacy?
Unfortunately, it may be a while before we find a reasonable answer to any of those questions. But at the very least, the Pats will start the process on Sunday in Tennessee.