Friday, April 3, 2009

Patriot Games

The 21st century is a time of overexposure and excessiveness. If there is even an inkling of desire for anything from anybody, the powers that be will stop at nothing to recreate what is deemed as profitable. Scary Movie's success bred the likes of Epic Movie, Superhero Movie, and whatever parody suck fest Hollywood spurts out annually. Survivor's ratings fueled television networks to replace creative thinking with reality shows. But in the sports world, the success of the New England Patriots has created a copycat league, so much so that the mere mention that you've visited Boston on your resume makes you a hot commodity.

First it was Romeo and Charlie. The two "genius" coordinators who banked on the Patriots' winning ways by landing head coaching jobs themselves. Crennel has since been canned, and Weis is seemingly running the once proud Notre Dame program into its own hallowed ground. This should have been enough to deter the popularity of Belichick clones. However, Eric Mangini landed the Jets job after being The Hoodie's mentor. After one good season and one bad Sopranos cameo, Mangini was fired after crumbling Favre's last season.* All is well though, as Mangini has now replaced Crennel as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

And the train keeps rolling. The Chiefs hired Scott Pioli to save the franchise and build a Foxboro West at One Arrowhead Drive. Pioli's first move was to transplant Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel to Kansas City, starting the ball on his own mini-Patriots. And the Chiefs fans couldn't be more excited. Staying in the division, the Broncos fired Mike Shanahan for the uber-young Josh McDaniels, following the creed that if it's been under Belichick, it must be money. And what has Josh done in his very little time in the mountains? He has successfully run pro-bowler Jay Cutler out of town.

I'm completely, utterly, 100% on Cutler's side. He's proven to be a solid quarterback in the NFL. But McDaniels wanted more Patriots, less Broncos, and tried to get rid of Cutler to make room for his boy Matt Cassel. Cutler was upset, as he should have been. After a bunch of "he said, he said", conflicting reports and VH1-style drama, Denver shipped their franchise quarterback to Chicago.

Maybe it's time that the New England Experiment grinds to a halt. Season after season, the idea of recreating the Belichick dynasty has produced nothing. After all, the Patriots got to where they are by doing things differently from other teams, not copying them. We need a new model.


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