Two weeks have passed and still the bad taste from the Patriots loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI remains.
This will not be a rant about how the Patriots choked, the Giants were the better team down the stretch of the regular season and throughout the postseason. The bitterness stems from the idea that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady may have just been to their last Super Bowl together with the Patriots and they once again walked off the field after losing a close game in the final minutes to the Giants.
The Belichick-Brady era is entering the Red Zone of its existence and even an eternal optimist like myself can't believe they have anything more than three years left before Brady starts to become just another guy. With all of the uncontrollable variables in the world of the NFL, it is impossible to know whether or not Tom Brady will play in another Super Bowl.
All of New England hopes that there is at least one more run for Brady and Belichick but the memory of Brady heaving the last second Hail Mary towards the end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium that ultimately failed is likely the last we will have of #12 playing for the Lombardi Trophy.
That doesn't make the three Super Bowl titles at the start of the 21st Century any less amazing. It doesn't ruin the eleven consecutive winning seasons. The two MVP seasons Brady had have not been ruined.
It's just sad that as a Patriots fan that the greatest stretch in franchise history has probably ended.
The Celtics season is looking less likely to produce even a first round playoff series win by the day and so it becomes more important than ever to examine the options that Danny Ainge has in trying to rebuild the roster on the fly to keep the franchise competitive going forward.
The mega-contracts of Kevin Garnett ($21.2-million) and Ray Allen ($10-million) expire as do the deals of Jermaine O'Neal ($6.2-million) and Keyon Dooling ($2.1-million). The Celtics will have a lot of cash to spend and despite the history of Boston not being a destination spot for the top free agents they should be involved in the bidding for the best players on the market.
Why Boston? The presence of All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, future Hall of Fame swingman Paul Pierce, and head coach Doc Rivers make Boston an attraction for the likes of Dwight Howard.
Imagine Howard giving up more money in Orlando to come to Boston in order to compete for a title with Rondo and Pierce. The Celtics would still have the cap room to fill out their roster and bringing back Ray Allen at a discount to play shooting guard would still allow Danny Ainge to add the pieces needed to win immediately.
Howard will have many other suitors but none can offer the foundation that Boston already has as well as the salary cap freedom to fill out a championship team.
The recent stretch by the Bruins has been tough to watch but I'm of the opinion that there was no way they could continue their dominant play from earlier in the year and I'd rather see them play to their potential in May and June, not February.
Adrian Gonzalez will win the A.L. MVP, Jose Iglesias will run away with the Rookie of the Year, Carl Crawford will win Comeback Player of the Year, Bobby Valentine will take home A.L. Manager of the Year, and Jon Lester will grab the A.L. Cy Young as the Red Sox march to the 2012 World Series.
Yes, pitchers and catchers have just reported. It's always nice to be optimistic.
Enjoy Paul Pierce tonight.