“This is why they are the greatest. This is why they will go down as the most dominant, the most determined and, yes, the most clutch team of this or any era – better than the 1972 Miami Dolphins, better than the ’85 Chicago Bears, better than the ’98 Minnesota Vikings.”
This is why Ashley is a perennial favorite here at Unsportsmanlike Comment, if you’ll kindly excuse the absurd notion that a site just past its one-month birthday should recall anyone or anything as a perennial favorite.
Our Ashley, she’s a regular Arthur Schlesinger Jr. of NFL lore, and if the death-spiraling embarrassment that is the Philadelphia Inquirer sports section doesn’t feel just pleased as punch to have her around, we sure do.
Not only does she have a comprehensive grasp of the past for one so young and winsome, she has an uncanny vision of the future. This is why she and only she can confer the coveted greatest-team-of-all-time crown on the Patriots while they still need three more victories just to claim the greatest-team-of-2007 crown.
If it seems like we pick on female sports columnists a lot, well, we do. And we’re not going to apologize or make any Title IX New Year’s Resolutions on that front. Sure, it might seem unfair that, amid the great cesspool of sporting prose that befouls the journalistic wasteland, we should repeatedly pick on Ashley or Jemele or Jenni. Yes, it’s unfair, but it’s also fun.
Rest assured there are plenty of male sports columnists we find equally deserving of professional petard-hoisting, we just haven’t found the time or opportunity yet. We will, by God, we will, or we will die trying.
But back to Ashley. I for one am grateful, oh so grateful, that she has anointed the Perfect Patriots the greatest team of all time, thus sparing me the need to endure another tedious NFL playoff run. Best of all, there’ll be no need to endure the excruciating Super Bowl media extravaganza and the tribute to cultural irrelevance that is its halftime show. Hell, I’m second to no one in my admiration for the Rolling Stones and the stimulating qualities of Janet Jackson’s breasts, but I’d rather rock out to “Let it Bleed” and masturbate in the privacy of my own home than watch 62-year-old Mick prance on stage and lament his inability to attain sexual satisfaction when he should be playing with his grandchildren and peddling Levitra to fellow seniors.
Fair-minded, discerning folks like our good friend John McGrath might quibble with Ashley’s grasp of history as it pertains to professional football. They might offer gentle reminders of teams from bygone eras that swept through forgotten regular seasons like invincible Nazi blitzkriegs only to run headlong into their gridiron Stalingrads in the postseason winter. They might even point out that the Patriots haven’t even officially matched the Dolphins’ 17 wins of 1972.
But that is for them and their consciences to wrestle with. We’re not so high-minded in these parts. If you feel the need to resurrect the memories of yellowing juggernauts and decry the historical injustices suffered by teams such as the 1934 Bears, the 1942 Bears and the 1948 Browns, go right ahead. And have a Happy New Year, while you’re at it.
But if Ashley decrees that the 2007 Patriots are the greatest and most clutch team of all time, that’s good enough for me.
And dammitt, it oughta be good enough for you.