The Miraculous Ride of Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

I’ve been avoiding thinking about the Super Bowl, largely because Tom Brady is playing in it and Peyton Manning is not. But as much as I root against Brady and the Patriots, I have to admit that they are a marvel. Since they are named after the Massachusetts revolutionary heroes, I quote from the best known poem about those earlier patriots.

I have in mind, of course, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” To be sure, the poem is historically inaccurate, with Samuel Prescott and Williams Dawes getting left out. They had the misfortune to have names that didn’t scan or rhyme as well as Revere, which is how history sometimes gets written. Still, it’s a stirring poem, written in the early days of the Civil War to inspire the North to battle.

Unfortunately for Seattle, they have to stand in for the British. That’s not entirely inappropriate as they are the reigning power. Unlike the Red Coats, however, they are not heavily favored.

There are more resemblances on the other side. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is like the patriots of old in that he has a genius for adapting his game plan to fit whatever circumstances he meets and to bend the rules in ways that infuriate the enemy. He figures out when the opposing team is signaling “one if by land and two if by sea,” and, like the embattled farmers, his attacks are versions of firing “from behind each fence and farmyard wall.” If he’d been commanding the 1775 patriots, maybe he would even have found a way to change the flight of the musketballs.

For the record, I think the Patriots are guilty of deflating the footballs in the same way that Henry II was guilty of Thomas A Beckett’s death or Henry IV of Richard II’s. “Have I no friend will rid me of these rock hard balls?” (My post on plausible deniability can be found here.) Luckily for football, this did not change the outcome of the Colts game.

The Patriots are hoping for a reprise of the Battle of Concord:

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled, —
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

If Belichick and Brady really do route the enemy, then their names will become as legendary in sports history as Paul Revere’s exploits are in American history. Years from now we will be recounting how a coach and his quarterback dominated for league, winning their first Super Bowl and their last (if it’s their last) an amazing 13 years apart. Listen my children…

 

Previous Posts on the Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks Prepared to Swoop and Kill 

Seahawks: Unleashed, Endlessly Hungry 

Zeus Predicts Broncos Will Win 

Competing Narratives in the Superbowl

Previous Posts on the New England Patriots

Belichick Ranks with Lit’s Great Plotters

Tom Brady Channels Medea’s Fury 

Mannings vs. Brady, Hector vs. Achilles 

Bill Belichick as Professor Moriarty 

Belichick and Saban: Infernal Machines 

No Man Is an Island (Not Even Reavis) 

A Poem for Every Playoff Team 

Schadenfreude and the NFL 

This entry was posted in Longfellow (Henry Wadsworth) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

  • AVAILABLE NOW!

  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • Twitter Authentication data is incomplete