The 2017 NFL regular season kicks off tonight in Foxborough with the Super Bowl. Yeah, I said it. Not a Super Bowl preview, because the Chiefs and Patriots are both AFC teams and would never meet in the Super Bowl. And tonight isn’t about raising a banner and looking back on that unreal comeback against the Falcons in February. Tonight is the Super Bowl for Patriots fans, because tonight is the night that Roger Goodell comes back to Foxborough for a game that matters for the first time in more than two years.
Pats fans, being Pats fans, want this so badly they can taste it. The new banner, the special patches on the jerseys, starting the season, all that other stuff, that’s window dressing. Tonight is all about getting a piece of Goodell, in person, in their house. And letting him know what they think about him.
So the question isn’t whether Pats fans will boo Goodell, it’s how long will they boo Goodell. One oddsmaker set the line at 35 ½ seconds and I’m taking the over in that. Easiest money ever.
They’ve been waiting years to get him back in their house and doing it on the night they unveil a new banner, no way they stop booing at just over half a minute. That’s a good minute at least and probably more. In fact, if they don’t, I’m going to question their loyalty. Because if they don’t, then they aren’t the bitter, self-aggrandizing, everyone hates us, fans that I thought they were.
As for the team itself, Bill Belichick is back and Tom Brady is back. And thus ends the season preview for the New England Patriots. Because as long as the two of them are there, the Pats will be the Pats. And they’ll be the favorite to win the AFC and the whole damn thing yet again. And they should be.
There’s no Julian Edelman, and there’s no competition in the AFC East. Who’s going to stop them there? Jay Cutler? The Buffalo Bills? The New York Jets? You don’t have to Ask Gary Vee to know that the Jets aren’t doing anything this season.
And yes, losing Edelman is serious, but at the same time, Gronk is back. No, seriously. It’s easy to forget that they lost the beast known as Robert Gronkowski in November last year. The most unstoppable offensive weapon in football wasn’t with them for December, the playoffs, or the Super Bowl, and they still won. Not only did they still win, they didn’t lose a game without him. And now he’s back.
Not only is he back, but he’s cleaned up his act. Well, his diet. He’s been working the Tom Brady diet, I mean, eating plan, in the offseason and is reportedly in the best shape that he’s been in years. Of course everyone who shows up at training camp is “in the best shape ever” that’s the oldest cliché in the book. But if Gronk really is in great shape, and he stays healthy, look the hell out.
Then again, even if he isn’t, look the hell out. Because the Patriots added Brandin Cooks from the Saints who had more than 1,100 receiving yards each of the last two seasons and then traded their third-string quarterback for Philip Dorsett from the Colts, who was a former first round pick at wide receiver. What I’m saying is, not only are the Patriots still the Patriots, they might be even better than they were before.
Their season starts tonight in Foxoborough and until someone else proves otherwise, it ends in February in Minnesota against Seattle. So get used to it, Pats-haters and Roger Goodell, because the Pats aren’t going anywhere any time soon.