Monday, November 20, 2006

The Opposite

Everyone who watched Seinfeld no doubt remembers an episode entitled The Opposite in which George and Elaine end up switching conditions. Whereas George starts off broke, unemployed and living with his parents, he ends up working for the Yankees, with a great apartment and a good-looking girlfriend, while, at the same time Elaine's life is making the opposite progression.

I note this as context for the following comment. A comment which I hate to make, but feel that I must.

The New England Patriots have become the Indianapolis Colts. The Indianapolis Colts have become the New England Patriots.

For the past few years, Patriots fans have looked upon the Patriots as tough as steel, nerveless Super-men who could not fail when the chips were down. A team that always did the right thing. A team that could face all comers and, if the game was important, come out on top. The Colts, on the other hand, were soft and pretty. Give them a weak sister, a team that was mediocre to bad, and they'd look like a machine, the fanciest, prettiest, sexist show on turf. Blow-outs were the norm, tight games the exception. And if it were tight, they'd lose.

Now look at what's happened. The Colts go into Denver and win. The Colts go into New England and win. The two toughest games on their schedule, road teams against the iron of the AFC, games that will almost certainly determine whether they can take the top spot in the AFC heading into the play-offs. Two games that are tight right to the end, that could be lost with a mistake - the Colts won them both.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have played two mediocre NFC teams in the last four weeks and demolished them both on the road, to the tune of 66-7. But the two games at home, against tougher AFC opponents, have been close, and lost by New England with a variety of self-inflicted wounds, and an inability to get the opponent off the field. Soft losses, losses that Patriots' fans would have expected of the Colts.

The Colts may revert to old form come post-season play. The Patriots, also, could play differently in the post-season than they have thus far. But through 11 weeks (10 games) of the NFL season, these two teams have been opposite of the perception of the past few years...

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