On Monday afternoon, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced that MVP quarterback Tom Brady would undergo season-ending knee surgery as a result of a low hit delivered by Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard.
While this comes as a devastating blow, given New England’s hopes of riding into the Super Bowl on Brady’s shoulders, little positive light has been shed on the grim situation. Almost instantaneously, thoughts of now-starter Matt Cassel leading the Pats to the big game have been written off.
Though it would be naive to expect Cassel–who hasn’t started a game since high school–to step in and do what the best quarterback of the modern era has done three times, it would be more than naive to expect anyone but Tom Brady to be Tom Brady.
I’m not saying that Matt Cassel and the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl, but I’m not saying they aren’t either. If anything, the New England Patriots, without Tom Brady, are an above-average football team in a weak conference. Whether spoiled fans accustomed to winning choose to believe it or not, the Patriots are still alive.
And while the thought of an inexperienced Cassel leading the team to a Super Bowl victory is far from conceivable to most, it serves function as a harsh lesson to spoiled Patriots fans.
Prior to Sunday, the thought of losing Tom Brady was always seen as something that could happen, but in ‘reality’, wouldn’t.
It’s time to wake up.
The focus of the 2008 season has conjured a whole new meaning. The concepts of completing the task at hand, believing in one another, and discovering the true meaning of the word ‘team’, are at the summit of the proverbial mountain and will truly test the mettle of every player for the next 15 weeks.
The season should not be written off, because even if the Patriots only go on to win a meager 8 games as predicted, essentially, they will have strengthened a bond that appeared to break rather than bend in Week 1.
If you ask me, battling through an 8-win season without the league’s MVP is a far greater accomplishment than coasting into the Super Bowl with him and failing to come out on top.