Putting SB XLVI behind us

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Putting SB XLVI behind us

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.

Got it?

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.

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

Another burner for Brady: Kraft compares Cooks to Moss

Another burner for Brady: Kraft compares Cooks to Moss

PHOENIX -- For an indication of just how high the expectations sit for newly-acquired Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, have a look at what team owner Robert Kraft said during the annual league meetings at the Biltmore on Monday. 

Asked about all the moves Bill Belichick and his front office have made this offseason, Kraft started with the former Saints big-play threat.

"I think what they've done is excellent this year," Kraft said. "And I know bringing this young man from New Orleans . . . since I've owned the team, the only player who could make an impact like that at wide receiver is Randy Moss. [Cooks] doesn't have [Moss'] height, but he's got his speed. I think that's complementary to what we have on the team. I'm excited about him joining us."

Cooks gives the Patriots one of the most dynamic pass-catching threats in the NFL and should provide an additional boost to an offense that ranked third in the league in points scored (27.6) in 2016. He is one of three players to record 75 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. The other two? Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

Those are some big names, but Moss may be the biggest ever associated with Cooks. What Moss did when he arrived to New England in a trade with the Raiders in 2007 was historic, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

As excited as Kraft is for Cooks' arrival, not even he will project a similarly gaudy statistical year. But he's clearly thrilled that Tom Brady will have yet another explosive receiving threat to pair with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and an impressive stable of pass-catching backs.

The history of QB's 40 or older isn't favorable to Brady

The history of QB's 40 or older isn't favorable to Brady

Marc Bertrand discusses Robert Kraft’s comments about Brady wanting to play another 6-7 years, and why he thinks it would be tough for Belichick to believe that Brady can realistically play that long.