The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Lorton: Patriots need competitive fire (Jan. 23)

Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The New England Patriots need to be more like their wives.

After a 28-13 loss to the Ravens in the AFC Championship, it has been eight years since the supposed dynasty of the Northeast has won a Super Bowl. Relative to other teams, this may not seem like a big deal, but when winning is your repertoire, people start to get lofty expectations and take notice of your absence at the end of the year.

Don’t get me wrong, I despise the Patriots as much as the next guy who hates winning teams. It is just odd the Patriots have become so un-clutch (I understand the Pats made it to the AFC Championship, an impressive feat, but they haven’t looked to be the same team lately).

At home, quarterback Tom Brady was 67-0 in games when he led at the half, and coach Bill Belichick was 72-1, including a 71-0 streak, in games when he led at half. The Patriots went into halftime leading 13-7, but the Ravens did not care about the statistics, and the Patriots didn’t seem to care about anything in the second half.

New England’s performance was sloppy in the second half, characterized by three turnovers, a non-existent run game and inaccurate throws. When the ball was thrown well, there were more drops than a bad dubstep song. Brady went 29-for-54 with two interceptions, both in the fourth quarter. It was the first time since week two of 2009 New England failed to score two touchdowns. The Pats were clean-slated.  

In the end, Tom Brady just sat there, doing his best “depressed RGIII” impersonation, as he watched the Ravens head off to the Super Bowl. And that is what the Patriots have done lately: Sit there complacently, without the same fire and tenacity they used to have for winning. Belichick has been searching his sleeves for some tricks, but cannot find the magic anywhere.

On the Patriots’ website in the comments section, many fans were saying that the Patriots did not look like they came out to play in the second half and had a sense of entitlement (or maybe, as Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs put it, arrogance).
This is why I proposed the Patriots need to be more like their wives.

Last year, after Wes Welker dropped a pass in the Super Bowl that looked to be going for a touchdown – or at least a first down – Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, called out the wide receiver, saying, “My husband cannot [expletive] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

This year, Welker’s wife, Anna Burns Welker, also lashed out (and later apologized). Instead of targeting Brady, she went after Ravens’ star linebacker Ray Lewis, writing on Facebook, “Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”

Burns Welker seems to be a bit of a sore loser after her husband’s team lost, and there is no need to attack a person’s off-field life, but why were none of the New England players fired up or angry after last year’s loss, or after this year’s loss? The Patriots seem to go into games expecting to win, especially going into the second half winning, because that’s what they do and the statistics are still in their favor. Instead, they should play the game with the mentality that they are the best and they will not let another team take that title away from them. I am not condoning calling out a teammate publicly or attacking another player’s personal character, but a good sense of competitiveness and fire is needed for the fans to see, and the wives of the Patriots are doing a better job at it then the players themselves. Tom Brady and the Pats seemed to have lost the ice in their veins. Maybe it’s the UGG Boots.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.