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Mazz: Let’s Pause To Appreciate Golden Age Of Patriots, Boston Sports

BOSTON (CBS) — And on the seventh day, on the seventh Friday before the seventh Super Bowl, we give pause to cynicism and skepticism and criticism, and we rest to celebrate a seemingly never-ending Golden Age of Boston Sports that has delivered us, once again, to the doorstep of a championship.

We rest to acknowledge the seventh Super Bowl appearance for Patriots of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, a preposterous number, because as Brady said this week, the Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and because he, along with his coach, have now guided the Patriots to seven in 16 seasons.

And we rest to acknowledge Belichick’s extraordinary focus and general approach, his defiant unwillingness to argue, banter and ultimately testify on his own team’s behalf because Belichick would rather take the fifth and, of course, Take The Fifth, because the latter would do a great deal more in terms of, well, shutting everyone up.

And because Brady, too, would have an unprecedented five Super Bowl victories if the Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and because the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame would then have to construct a separate area for Belichick and Brady – a B and B, perhaps? – in Canton, Ohio.

We rest to acknowledge the overall growth of the Patriots defense, in the absence of truly great personnel and in the aftermath of the trades that cast off both Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins, because Belichick has always preached the collective over the singular, and because that is always, always a good message, in any walk of life.

And we acknowledge, too, that the Patriots defense will have easily its most difficult test of the year on Sunday.

We rest to acknowledge that the Patriots nonetheless have some high-end talent on their defense, from cornerback Malcolm Butler to safety Devin McCourty to linebacker Dont’a Hightower and maybe even defensive tackle Alan Branch, because every team needs indispensable cornerstones, even the Patriots, even if they don’t act like it.

And because those men, on this team and this unit – this year – have been cornerstones.

We rest to acknowledge, too, the contributions of linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Shea McClellin, of defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Eric Rowe, of even running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount because, as Belichick has proven more than once, one team’s trash is another team’s (relative) treasure.

And because nobody is better than finding restorable antiques than the perpetually gray Hoodie himself.

We rest to acknowledge the improved play of the offensive line under reclaimed coach Dante Scarnecchia, particularly tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, the former of whom had his best year as a Patriot and the latter of whom has made one of the most stunning turnarounds in the NFL this year and has made everyone forget that Sebastian Vollmer ever existed.

We rest to acknowledge the Patriots’ ability, at least thus far, to overcome another season-ending injury to the otherworldly Rob Gronkowski.

And the ability of Martellus Bennett to continue to play through injuries.

And the early-season contributions of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, when Brady was serving a four-game suspension imposed by You Know Who for You Know What, because it proved, once again, that the Patriots thrive where others are derailed.

And we rest, finally, to note once more that Boston and New England will play on Sunday for their mind-numbing 14th championship since the turn of the millennium, and that the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins have collectively reached at least the semifinals of their respective leagues a whopping 22 times during that same span – that is, effectively, the conference championship – which just doesn’t seem mathematically possible.

And doesn’t seem right.

But it is, of course.

And no one here in the Hub of Sports needs to even think about apologizing for it.

More from Tony Massarotti
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