(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY FEB. 6, 2019) — On Tuesday, Boston hosted another Rolling Rally, revving the Duckboats for another celebration of a World Championship. This one was to honor the 6th Super Bowl title of the NFL’s Greatest Dynasty, the New England Patriots. This one’s the best for the way the naysayers had to eat their words, especially on social media, the internet, and talk shows, those vapid padded-cells for the age’s unexamined rages.

These parades never get old, except, of course, for the haters, who ironically give the team the greatest tribute. To paraphrase Terrell Owens, “They don’t love to hate them. They hate to love them.” The difference, subtle but profound, provides a key to understand this outstanding run to glory in a league that schemes to make such dominance impossible. People who can’t love them flip the coin and find the inevitable on the tails. The brilliance of the Robert Kraft-Bill Belichick-Tom Brady monolith earns begrudging respect that comes out in the form of title-envy. If your team is NOT the Patriots, you wish it could be to know this feeling from something that will never happen again — a two-decade possession of football luminosity.

Former Patriots’ QB Scott Zolak, now the team’s color analyst on the radio network, put it best after the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game: “The Patriots are going to another Super Bowl. America’s worst nightmare is back, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” The team obviously thrives on the doubters and uses their energy as the fuel of motivation.

When the Patriots won title #5, the wise guys said the league needed to change the name of sports’ biggest game from the Super Bowl to “The New England Patriots Invitational.” They’ve been to the Game 11 times, four of the past five years. With title #6 in the bag, the wags dubbed our six-state region “New Ringland,” hearkening the titles of the Red Sox (4), the Celtics (1), and the Bruins (1) since the Patriots took their first crown in 2002.

It’s interesting to see how Belichick put this team together:

  • Tom Brady, the 199th pick of the 2000 draft, considered too slow, too skinny, too lacking in elite skills to play for an NFL team at the single-most demanding position in sports.
  • Julian Edelman, 7th round, undersized afterthought who was asked to play a position he had never played before. He won Super Bowl LIII MVP.
  • Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty, who last year went 0-16 with the woeful Cleveland Browns. The Browns didn’t want them.
  • JC Jackson, an undrafted rookie that no one wanted, who played his way into the starting lineup at corner.

Belichick doesn’t want superstars or prima donnas. He wants guys who are smart, willing to work hard, coachable, and willing to put personal interests second to the interests of the TEAM. Patriots teams are never the most talented, but they are always the best prepared. As Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams’ talented young coach admitted, he was “outcoached” by the master. He failed to make the in-game adjustments to keep up with Belichick in a low-scoring affair that resembled a physical chess match.

In the fourth quarter with the game tied 3-3, on offense Belichick went with his “jumbo” package: two tight ends, a fullback, and a big RB. The result often put a linebacker in single coverage on Gronk, who made two huge catches to set up the game’s lone TD. On defense, he dialed up the only all-out blitz on Rams’ QB Jared Goff, resulting in a rushed throw and a crushing interception by corner Stephon Gillmore.

We are witnessing a run of greatness that will not come again. If you can’t love it, at least appreciate it.

We aren’t smug. We’re grateful.

Gratitude, dude.


“Tom Brady has WON more Super Bowls than any other player has played in” — TV analyst Tony Romo.


Love to all.

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  1. Barbados
    February 5, 2019 at 8:41 pm #

    Great column Dan. Go Pats!!

  2. Jonathan Melle
    February 5, 2019 at 8:57 pm #

    I didn’t watch/listen to Trump’s speech tonight. I did not want to get angry and raise my elevated blood pressure. I can’t wait until 2020 when Trump is voted out!
    – Jonathan Melle

    • Joe Blow
      February 6, 2019 at 3:30 pm #

      Orange Man makes you angry….poor snowflake!

  3. Ron Kitterman
    February 5, 2019 at 9:38 pm #

    Think Rush Limbaugh made a spot on point yesterday, that the NFL owes Trump for saving Football. Gladys Knight too Patriots are a class act.

    • doomiedodger
      February 6, 2019 at 5:37 am #

      Good old Rush Limbaugh, Putins most productive operative.

    • Joe Blow
      February 6, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

      “I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3, to give the anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life.”

      -Gladys Knight

      • danvalenti
        February 6, 2019 at 8:16 pm #

        Great thoughts, well articulated and much more productive than the kneeling B.S.

  4. Spagirl
    February 6, 2019 at 5:13 am #

    Until coaches learn how to outsmart Bill Belichick, they will continue to watch his success in domination, until Bill retires. No question who the best coach of all time is.

  5. U
    February 6, 2019 at 6:09 am #

    Not only true as best coach, and has most super bowls rings than any player.

  6. The school committee
    February 6, 2019 at 6:13 am #

    Dave Pills commentary in the Eagle today was so spot on about the truth of people wanting to live in Pittsfield.He feels what we all feel except politicians is th at We have dangerous neighborhoods where drugs,robbery and assination occur.Other town are getting our children’s education money and people just will never,never consider living here until Tyer,Yon and Marchetti are removed for individuals unafraid to cut budgets to expand police numbers.The Berkshires have a enormous drug problem and Pitts field is it headquarters.Tyer wont ever acknowledge that we are in denial.Housing sales are not impressive and higher end homes sell slowly for no return on investment.Our schools need a overhaul,violent kids need to be home.MCAS testing makes schools a completely uninteresting place to be…..Even Bill Beli check changed this year acknowledging problems and doing things differently.

  7. Kermit Frog
    February 6, 2019 at 7:14 am #

    Thanks for this, nice to think positive. They are legends.

  8. Bull Durham
    February 6, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    Congratulations to the Patriots and all of their fans. When most had counted them out, they again found a way to throw it back in the faces of all of the pundits who said they were too old and worn out.

    Brady, greatest QB of all time? I think an argument can be made for that, but it’s a tough thing to call for ‘all time’ as the game has changed so much and now the QB is much more critical than in decades past. Montana was great, of course, and he was perfect in Super Bowls, but Brady has had more longevity and his stats are just incredible.

    As for the team being the GOAT? Again, if you really mean All Time, in my humble opinion, that still belongs to the Green Bay Packers, with 9 NFL Championships and 4 Super Bowls to their name, for a total of 13 championships. (And I am not a Green Bay fan, but rather a long-suffering Dolphins fan).

    Enjoy #6!

    • Johnny2Shoes
      February 6, 2019 at 7:20 pm #


      I may be wrong,but the Packers won 2 Super Bowl’s. The first two ever being played. They beat the Raiders and Chiefs in them. The Golden Boy and Starr were today’s Brady and Co.. Yes the Pack won many championships before the invention of the Super Bowl.

      • Johnny2Shoes
        February 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm #

        Bull, and yes the other Two! 4 Bowls.

  9. H
    February 6, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    Success of the Patriots with the advent of free agency makes the franchise the greatest of all time. Back then, the Pack had same players year after year for a decade. Dont get me wrong, Lombardi Packers were great.

    • Bull Durham
      February 6, 2019 at 9:10 am #

      The words All Time do not translate to “advent of free agency” excluded. All Time is all time, entire history of the NFL. The Packers have the most championships all time, like it or not. And many of the championships were pre-Lombardi.

    • danvalenti
      February 6, 2019 at 10:51 am #

      As BULL points out, it’s tough to compare eras. That said, free agency, salary cap, inverted draft position relating to a team’s finish, and so much more that the league has done to guarantee “parity” makes the Patriots accomplishment to most astonishing.

      • Bull Durham
        February 6, 2019 at 11:53 am #

        As Shakespeare wrote, “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.”

        • Bull Durham
          February 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm #

          Actually, it wasn’t Shakespeare, but whoever first said it was a genius.

          • danvalenti
            February 6, 2019 at 8:19 pm #

            Yes, he’s a genius and all, but Bill Belichick did NOT invent sleet golf. He learned it from Bill Parcells.

      • H
        February 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm #

        Pats are simply…The Best. Why do you think they call him bull?

  10. H
    February 6, 2019 at 9:27 am #

    Welll, if your sayin,p the Packers are the greatest because they have the most championships, then there should be no argument that Brady is the greatest, he has the most s b rings. Lord of the Rings, as well as Belichick.

    • Bull Durham
      February 6, 2019 at 10:11 am #

      Otto Graham actually has 7 NFL Championships to his name, but again back in the day when passing was in its infancy. I have already said I can make an argument for Brady being GOAT, as his numbers exceed those of his predecessors. Plus he’s played in so many playoff and championship games and even the losses were razor thin. Without a doubt, Belichick is the greatest coach in all of football history. His strategy to shut down the Rams’ offense was brilliant.

      • danvalenti
        February 6, 2019 at 10:39 am #

        Yes, Belichick’s game plan for shutting down the Rams should probably go into the Hall in Canton. It was a game that came down to a couple critical play, and each time, Belichick made the call. The decision to go jumbo on “O” in the 4th quarter came when he saw the Rams D was getting tired (on the field for a ton of plays). It forced some mismatches in coverage, including the long pass to Gronk that set up the TD. On “D” he disguised the looks the entire and made Goff look every bit as young an inexperienced as he is. The best single call of the game was when he dialed up a full blitz. He hadn’t done that the entire game and waited until the best moment. The kid got rattled and made a throw he never should have attempted. Gillmore had the easy pick. Defense has always been my favorite type of game in football, baseball, hockey, and even basketball. Give me a 1-0, 2-1 game that comes down to the last pitch of the ninth inning. A run prevented or six points prevented is the same as scoring a run or a TD. Your Fins got a good one in Brian Flores, BTW.

        • Joe Blow
          February 6, 2019 at 7:16 pm #

          I heard a quote this week saying Belichick continues to play chess while the rest of NFL is playing checkers

  11. Brian C. Marquis
    February 6, 2019 at 11:17 am #

    Both teams played outstanding defensive games.

    Young-blood kept old-timer to 13-points.

    From where I’m seated – he deserves a trophy just for achieving such a monumental feat. Even a great team like KC can’t lay claim to such an achievement.

    And that’s the bottom-line!!

  12. May Hemm
    February 6, 2019 at 11:38 am #

    Where’s the great Chuck when you need him,he don’t exaggerate. Just compare stats with the greatest franchise quarterback BART Starr ,as packs best season in 62…Star had 14 or so touchdowns,Brady could get that in three or four games.

    • doomiedodger
      February 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

      Brady’s receivers can wear sticky gloves. Barts receivers had to use their ice cold fingers

      just sayn

  13. The school committee
    February 6, 2019 at 12:21 pm #

    Every other year in modern day football the same coach and Quarterback were in a Superbowl title game.Nobody is close.Ask the Eagles.

  14. The school committee
    February 6, 2019 at 12:22 pm #

    Today’s linemen would just squash the Packers.

    • doomiedodger
      February 6, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

      Well yah cuz they did not have much protection back then and they did not carry 60 pounds of fat or 80 pounds of steroidal muscle.

    • u
      February 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

      Exactly,that’s why they call him bull.

  15. doomiedodger
    February 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm #

    fun fact:

    Vito Parelli, who quarterbacked the Patriots from 1961 to 1967 also won a Super Bowl ring as a backup to Joe Namath in 1969. He tossed 31 touchdown passes in 1964.

  16. doomiedodger
    February 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm #

    If you live ins Stockbridge make sure your fire extinguisher is fully charged and your smoke alarms have fresh batteries.

  17. u
    February 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm #

    Over 70,000 yds and 500 plus t d’s,six Super Bowls,nuff said. BRADY is the best. Deal with it. Franchise is the best, deal with it.

  18. Cos
    February 6, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    If the 1962 Packers lined up with the current Patriot team, the Pats would win,not even close.

    • Bull Durham
      February 7, 2019 at 12:09 pm #

      Depends on what rules they would play by… 62 or 2019? I can’t see any NFL QB today playing by 1962 rules of hitting the QB who wouldn’t just run off the field. Ask any QB who was hit by Ray Nitschke. Of course, as pointed out earlier today’s linemen are also much bigger than the days or yore. More interesting would be Montana’s 49ers vs. Brady’s Pats.

      • H
        February 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

        Come on, you’re talking about the old pack,now it’s Montana. First of all, how does the pack defense get to Brady when he has a wall of three hundred pounders,Nitske couldnt tackle anyone cuz he’d be the one on his back.

  19. giocometti
    February 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

    State Law…”every child must attend public school till they are 21 years old”…our schools will never be free from poor behavior by
    students until we embrace alternate schools…allow students who want to learn public schools free from students who do not want to
    learn…Horace Mann and Elizabeth Peabody worked long and hard for public education for all students in our state. Without public education we would be without educational equality for all.

  20. Theo
    February 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm #

    Good to change up subject. Sports a nice refresher. Patriots given the extent of their success as Dan says in era of parity are nd have to be the GOAT franshise, with GOAT owner, GOAT QB, GOAT coach. More GOATS than a goat cheese dairy farm.

  21. The school committee
    February 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

    Boston is blessed with the best owners of sports teams.Thats where it starts.

  22. AgentSmith
    February 6, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

    The narrative that the Patriots are the “underdogs” has got to stop

  23. May Hemm
    February 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm #

    They play in a easy division. The narrative they play in a easy division has to stop also. Evidently all teams suck n all done division, because they don’t lose outside of their division, K C ..S D..LA

  24. The school committee
    February 7, 2019 at 6:16 am #

    Stockbridge is in governmental caos.You lost the biggest employer that would not consider employee ownership and now a complete safety department is fired.They recently dealt with a Police Chief problem.And figuring out a traffic intersection should be fun to watch.

    • Spagirl
      February 7, 2019 at 7:23 am #

      That has really turned ugly in Stockbridge.

      • Thomas More
        February 7, 2019 at 8:01 am #

        Its strange that the Planet doesn’t comment on this as that is where he lives. If it were Pittsfield, where he doesn’t live he would be ripping it to shreds.

        • danvalenti
          February 7, 2019 at 9:44 am #

          See my reply to TSC. Maybe you guys can start a fund to help the poor people of the town! All seriousness aside, as Steve Allen used to say, living in Stockbridge is a fate to be wished for all! It’s only those who don’t live there but wish they could who have a problem with it. To keep analogous with our column on the Patriots, living in Stockbridge is like being a Patriots phan. If you do, you GET it. If you don’t, you WANT it and if you can’t have it, you “hate” (though I wouldn’t use that word; it’s more like “envy”).

          • Thomas More
            February 7, 2019 at 11:52 am #

            I agree but I didn’t think you’ld take the bait.

          • danvalenti
            February 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm #

            Couldn’t resist a morsel that tasty.

    • danvalenti
      February 7, 2019 at 9:39 am #

      Yes, TSC, living in Stockbridge is a living heck! Iconic main street, no crime, no litter, culture, good people, 70% second-home owners who are veddy rich, low taxes. Oh, the humanity!!

      • Thomas More
        February 7, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

        Love ya!

        • danvalenti
          February 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

          Back at cha!

  25. Lokel Yokel
    February 7, 2019 at 11:24 am #

    Dan doesn’t have any influence in Pittsfield anyway

  26. Shakes
    February 7, 2019 at 11:38 am #

    I wonder if the Celtics will make a move at the deadline?

  27. The school committee
    February 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    Republicans are fully on the side of tax breaks for corporations and Wealthy people.Trumps cheaper better healthcare plan was a lie.It’s OK as this will trickle down to every small city in America. Wall street has gone sideways since the taxbreaks.

  28. John Galt
    February 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm #

    Big problems with Stockbridge FD. Don’t play with matches.

  29. doomiedodger
    February 7, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

    In an obscure little article on page D8 in Thursdays Berkshire Eagle there is mention of WAYFAIR (the one coming to Pittsfield) having been named one of the worlds most admired companies. By FORTUNE MAGAZINE.

    Curious why this is not on the front page?????

    • AgentSmith
      February 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm #

      Because it didn’t make any ranking. It is listed because it’s a publicly traded medium sized company.

      The only ones that matter for the Fortune list are the top 50.
      Also as Fortune gets significant ad revenue from Wayfair they tend to highlight it now and again, almost as part of a pump snd dump scheme. Over the holidays Fortune ran a paid article that was an advertisement for the sales Wayfair was having.
      Fortune calls it an “article” from its “contributor group” but it’s really paid adverticles. Fortune even gets a cut of the sale when you click through to wayfair from their site.

      When competing against 1500 companies. It doesn’t score in the top 50. When in a very narrow banded internet services sub group it ranks 4 or 5

  30. The school committee
    February 7, 2019 at 3:22 pm #

    Williams Street is back to 65mph for pickup trucks.

  31. Bill Rupprecht
    February 10, 2019 at 3:33 pm #

    I haven’t read every single post about the Pats but I think I’m safe in assuming they’re 99% pro Brady, Pats and Bellichek.

    Let’s stir the pot a little. There is only one true dynasty in all of sports, and that would be the New York Yankees. I posted this on my FB page and no one has disputed it.

    Most of you will recall Johnny Unitas, who played in the 1950s until the early 70s. He invented the 2 minute drill. Before that there wasn’t one. This was the smash mouth era of the NFL. If Brady had played during those years his career would’ve been considerably shorter. He certainly would not be bragging about playing until he’s 45. He should take a lesson from Muhammad Ali, who beat George Foreman when most said it was impossible. Where could he go from there? He kept fighting and ruined his health.

    I’ve been a Jets fan since 1968 and always will be. When the Pats started winning in the early 2000s that was OK by me. When it was later revealed that they weren’t the most honest team on the block, well that changed my opinion of them. For those who care to read check out Federal Case # 09-2237.