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Matt Cassel Says When the Pats Were Going for 16-0, Tom Brady Told Him 'I'm Not Coming Out of This F-ing Game'

Goddamned. There’s so much bittersweet sadness about the Patriots 18-1 season that will never, ever go away. Even after the universe collapses back on itself and regenerates with another Big Bang, that next universe will still have trace elements of that disappointment in it.

Unfortunately lost in how it turned out is that final game of the 2007 season, the Patriots at the Giants. For my money, it’s the most significant regular season game of all time. Matt Cassel had it right. It was a playoff atmosphere. So much history riding on it. Culminating in the single most significant play in NFL history, when the Patriots clinched 16-0, Brady broke the passing touchdowns record and Randy Moss broke the touchdown receptions record, all on one perfect deep pass and catch.

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There’s so many elements here I could probably write a book about it. How the game was supposed to only be on NFL Network, but the public made such an uproar that by kickoff, it was on everything from HGTV to Nick Jr. How Brian Gumbel was weirdly stuck doing the play-by-play. Too many story lines to explore in a humble blog post.

So instead I’ll just focus on Brady being so hyper competitive in the moment, he refused to come out of a game of this significance. Not because it meant a damned thing in the standings. But just because sometimes in this life, it’s about more than just wins and losses, dollars and sense. It’s about legacies. It’s about how you’re going to be remembered long after you’re gone. It’s about your manhood being tested and how you’re going to answer that challenge. Sure, he could’ve laid down. Taken the L. And in the long run, maybe that 18-1 would’ve meant a ring because the L would’ve come harmlessly at the end of the regular season instead. But real men who believe in themselves don’t shrink when life hands them an epic challenge. They accept.

This doesnt’ take away that Super Bowl loss. Nothing ever could. But it helps. Goddamned I’m proud to be a Bradysexual.