Resistance is futile.
Laying on the couch last night, dealing with an acute case of insomnia, I flipped through channel after channel of my full digital HD cable package, 647 channels of absolute garbage – finding nothing but infomercials and reruns of cheesy circa 1980’s sitcoms.
Not even SportsCenter offered relief, as I had watched it at midnight and it’s corresponding broadcasts were essentially reruns. The re-broadcast of the San Antonio Spurs / Utah Jazz game offered some promise as I hadn’t caught the score, so I targeted 3:00am as the unfortunate highlight of my early morning…
So I had an hour and a half to kill. Having already watched SportsCenter and not being interested in NFL Network’s fantasy football programming, I was relegated to channel surfing – finally settling on Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel…
I was truly only half paying attention to it, as I got off the couch and trudged to my desk, several unfinished articles greeted me as the desktop came to life. A few were features on individual players, one article on Bob Kraft and one that has been the bane of my existence all season: grappling with an identity to this Patriots’ defense…
…A defense that since the acquisition of Cornerback Aqib Talib has been a maniacal, aggressive collective entity that has been able to shut down the opposition’s offense by either physically dominating until the enemy relents or by simply taking the ball away from them.
The Patriots have ably employed both tactics and as a result have become the most frightening team in the NFL – because their defense is no longer playing “Complimentary Football” to the juggernaut offense. They are instead carving out their own disturbing brand of domination, dishing out punishment without prejudice.
And the scariest thing? They are still evolving, still growing together as a unit – and they’re only going to get better. They’re only going to get more efficient. They’re only going to get more physical.
Staring at the text, I was jostled out of my delirium by a fire fight on the TV program. Capt. Picard had just been captured by the Borg and was to be assimilated into their collective.
Anyone who is a fan of the Next Generation brand of the Star Trek franchise or have seen the movie First Contact are familiar with the cybernetic drones called, collectively, the Borg. Violent and remorseless, the Borg take other species by force into the collective and connect them to “the hive mind”…
This collective consciousness not only gives them the ability to share like thoughts, but also to adapt with great speed to tactics used against them.
…and since I was lost in thoughts of football, laterally with cybernetic organisms controlled by an all-knowing “Hive Mind”, the connection became so obvious – for there is no better example of the “Hive Mind” in the world of football than Bill Belichick.
His New England Patriots, with their frighteningly efficient offense, immense power at the point of attack, and, most importantly, their sinister motive have become the signature villains of the National Football League…
…with the act called acquiescence which entails violent contact and mortal combat, and the result on the enemy is a sense of resignation, of destiny. And where The Borg’s ultimate goal is “achieving perfection”, so it is also with Belichick and his drones.
And while true that linebacker Brandon Spikes is the only player on the New England Patriots’ defense that resembles a cyborg in any form, it is also true to say that the entire unit carries a collective attitude – exhibiting no desire for negotiation or reason, only submission to the Patriot way – and lately, the Patriot way has been to incessantly engage the enemy, demonstrating an attacking style of defense that eventually leaves the opponent with little choice but to relent to the aggressors – who then dictate both the flow of the game and the terms of surrender.
Just as the Borg adapt to aggressive tactics against them, so it is with the Patriots defense. You might manage a shot on them, maybe two, but they can – and will – adapt, then overwhelm their opponents with brutality and cold efficiency.
But, alas, in the end the Patriots are not The Borg – and my quest to label an identity to the New England defense remains unrealized. I have tried many monikers, most notably the “Street Thug Defense”, but that’s defamatory and sets the wrong precedence as role models, but it’s the best I’ve come up with.
Besides, The Borg are intent on domination of species and worlds, while the Patriots sole collective purpose is to dominate the football world.
And we all know which is more important.
Regardless, resistance is futile.