It’s hard to think too much about the latest incredible win without my thoughts drifting to poor Gronk, likely laid up in bed yet again and looking at surgery and a long road to recovery.
Here we go again with the Patriots coverage, as everyone is breaking out their “have the Pats injuries hit the breaking point” articles, that they likely ran when Wilfork, Kelly, Mayo and every other guy went down for any length of time.
Just find and replace with “Gronk” and they’re good to go. But at this point, after they’ve overcome so many major injuries, haven’t we learned that it just doesn’t matter?
Of course the main thought on everyone’s mind: Can the Pats still win the Super Bowl? Sure, but it’s not likely. And it’s certainly a lot less likely than it would’ve been with Gronk. That’s obvious.
Every team gets hit by injuries, some worse than others, and it will be a handy excuse the second the Patriots season ends without confetti in New Jersey.
But the 2013 Patriots drive home a point that I try to remind myself of every season. Just as the saying goes that life is not a destination but a journey, so too is the football season.
Most of us put far too much stock in how the season ends. For 31 teams it’s in disappointment. And often the Pats’ disappointment comes on the biggest playoff stages in front of national audiences. Those losses sting for the entire offseason.
But what I’ve tried to learn, is to appreciate the regular season, and regardless of how this season ends, this ride with the 2013 Pats has been unequalled since the 2007 undefeated run.
It seems like ever since the AFC championship loss, the football gods have been out to get the Patriots. There was the pitiful loss to the Ravens, Gronk’s multiple surgeries, Welker’s departure, Hernandez’s arrest and subsequent release and then the never-ending list of in-season injuries that seem to keep happening weekly.
Many teams would’ve packed it in long before now, but this battered Patriots team just keeps fighting. Even when the game looks completely lost, even when the season looks completely lost, they never quit. And they have stolen more victories this season than in the last five years combined, at least.
Being a Patriots fan in 2013 has been rollercoaster of amazing highs and devastating lows and what a ride it has been.
I don’t know how this season will end for the Pats. Who knows, maybe they’ll get the bounces, put together three full games and win the Super Bowl. It’s not impossible, but more likely is that their injuries to so many key players will catch up to them and they’ll go down swinging on the last play of the game.
It’s clear that whoever finishes off the 2013 Patriots will have to drive the final nail in their coffin and not give them any chance. Because, as this team has shown us, nothing is impossible when they don’t even blink, much less give up, when they’re down in the second half.
The 2013 Pats might not give us a championship, but they’re a lesson to us all in perseverance and the power of the team, even without some of their most vital pieces.
No matter how it ends, it’s been quite the ride and only made me love the fabric of this team even more.