This was 15 years ago? Holy moly. In a way it feels like it's been a couple of years and in another it's like a lifetime ago.
I don't go to a hell of a lot of games. I just just find it better to do my job from the couch. But even in 2005 I was writing for Barstool so I wasn't going then a lot. But I was at this one. It was one of the most emotional sporting event I've ever been to. In February, Tedy Bruschi looked like he was going to be a tragic story. A cautionary tale. A symbol of what can happen when a smallish overachiever plays with a lot of heart and passion and achieves great things, but at a price.
We all saw the news footage of him being helped out of the hospital to the car by his wife after suffering a stroke from the effects of a long flight from the Pro Bowl in Honolulu back to New England. If you never saw or don't recall the scene, I'm not being flippant when I compare it to the way Jack Nicholson walked into the ward after pretending to be lobotomized. And we just wondered if he'd ever get some normalcy back to his life. Playing football ever again seemed like a pipe dream no one dare to would entertain.
But then it happened. Against all odds. Instead of "Cuckoo's Nest," it was a Disney movie. Bruschi was activated. Dressed. And started. With just over a minute gone in the game, on Buffalo's official third play from scrimmage, he teamed up with Willie McGinest for at tackle on Willis McGahee. Added a solo tackle a few plays later. Then had another assist with Vince Wilfork before the drive stalled. On the night, he finished with seven total tackles in the 21-16 win, and it felt like he had 70. He played the rest of the season, finishing with 63 tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes defensed and a forced fumble. More importantly, he showed zero effects from the stroke and never had another recurrence.
It was just an all around incredible turn of events, turning a tragedy into a triumph. A great moment in a career full of them. And listening to Belichick break the team down in the locker room and the two give each other an emotional bro hug? That is life itself. Have a great weekend.