When the opposition starts high-fiving Tom Brady, that’s when you know things are out of control.
As Brady was celebrating the New England Patriots final score of the 42-14 thumping they gave the Houston Texans, Houston defensive back Kareem Jackson walked past him, raised his hand and offered a high five to Brady, a breif moment of respect to the man of the hour.
Some take that as a sign of doe-eyed admiration for which Jackson will recieve many metaphoric lashes in the media, but those who know football also know that this was just Jackson saying ‘You got us tonight, but we will see you sometime in January’…
The man-love for Brady on the field and in the media is predictable, given the can that he and the Patriots opened up on the Houston Texans last night. Jon Gruden started the geyser of adulations as he started spouting off the “Brady for MVP” talk midway through the first quarter – and every sportswriter and commentator in the country followed suit.
And with their jobs being to sensationalize what we see and hear, the Brady Bandwagon grew so large that by the time we woke up to find that we left the TV tuned to ESPN, his approval rating was higher than that of Santa Claus, breakfast sausage and fresh-brewed Chase & Sanborn coffee.
We’ve seen it before, so we already know that Brady doesn’t get too high on himself – and if he did, he’d have Belichick waiting in the film room with Malcolm McDowell, ready to do a Clockwork Orange – style session, strapped into the long-sleeves, his eyelids propped open with toothpicks and forcing him to watch film of his poorer performances to get his attitude straight…
…which is probably what Belichick’s film sessions are like anyway, and that would explain why Brady’s expression never changes, his voice never waivers – a baby-making cyborg that is almost as careful with the football as he is with his house full of little Tommy’s and, now, a little Gisele.
But lost in all of this is that the Patriots’ demolition of the Texans’ last night was just one game.
The San Francisco 49ers are on their way to Foxboro, and there’s little doubt that they come to town with a sense of determination, bordering on arrogance, with brains full of bad intentions and hearts full of hate.
Brady took a beating last night at the hands of J.J. Watt, and the Patriots have to get back to work on a scheme to keep him from taking those kind of shots from Aldon Smith and that truly fearsome 49ers pass rush – or last night’s win means nothing.
So we can’t allow ourselves to get all fired up about this one win. Celebrate it, yes. Post pics and superlatives all over Facebook and Twitter and be proud of your Patriots. Just don’t get too high, because we’ve seen this before.
The only time that it’s cool to get overly excited about one game is when you’ve just won the Super Bowl and Belichick gives you the thumbs up to celebrate…
…but even then it’s back to the grind, getting next season’s team put together.
It’s all business in Foxboro, and as long as the Patriots keep taking care of their business and taking games one at a time, we can see them in New Orleans in February…but there were no trophies earned last night, so the goal remains the same.
And a goal is all it is right now.