When Mike Dermott is walking into Teddy KGB's place to buy to three stacks of High Society and play some cards, his Narrator self says, "In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, 'Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.'" Truer words than Mr. King's have never been spoken.
Ask me about the big wins of the Patriots Dynasty, and I can give you the broad strokes, without question. They are right there in the frontal lobe of my meat computer at all times. But ask me about the tough beats, and they are stored in the hard drive located in my reptilian brain stem. The only way I could ever delete those files would be to restore everything to the factory setting. Like with a bullet to the temple. And when I think of how four of the worst beats led to the Manning family winning all four of its rings, that option can feel like the easiest way out, believe me.
2006 AFC championship game at Indy: The Pats defense squanders a 21-3 lead with a field goal at the end of the half and three straight touchdown drives to open the 2nd half and another to win at the end. Tom Brady can't will the worst receiving corps he ever had to victory as an uncovered Reche Caldwell drops a pass that could've clinched it. The Colts go on to face one of the worst Super Bowl teams ever for an easy win.
Super Bowl XLII: David Tyree makes his catch. Asante Samuel can't hold onto his. Wes Welker drops his. As I yelled at the TV, "My husband cannot throw the ball and catch the fucking ball!" I think I'm not the only one who used those words.
Super Bowl XLVI: After getting his lower leg put through a sausage grinder by Bernard Pollard in the championship game, Rob Gronkowski is a shell of himself, with just two receptions on three for 26 yards as the Giants defenders start pointing at him and yelling, "Decoy!" This time the impossible, game-deciding catch is made by St. Elmo's Fire star Mare Winningham or somebody.
2015 AFC championship game at Denver: In one of the worst displays of pass protection since stats were kept, Brady is pressured on an astonishing 49.2% of his dropbacks. Despite being blitzed only 16.4%. Twice the Patriots go for it on 4th down in the 4th quarter instead of field goal tries. Both fail. Finally Brady gets them into the end zone with no time left. But a missed extra point early in the game cost them. The two-point attempt for the tie fails. Denver's defense carries the corpse of Peyton to his second ring as he only completes 13 passes and no touchdowns in the Super Bowl.
That's a preposterous amount to take from anyone. But especially from the greatest winner in the history of the game. Any other family would steal Brady's hardware, consider that a pretty great haul and call it two careers. But not these Manning weasels.
It's one thing to take another man's glory. That's part of the competition of life. But stealing his intellectual property is unforgivable. Stealing it and making it the thing you're known for? Your catch phrase? To the point you get paid to work it into you many, many, many, many commercial endorsements? That's a crime against humanity. The act of a coward who can't come up with something original.
And the worst thing about it is, the Mannings have gotten away with it all these years. They didn't even try to hide it. If this was stand up instead of pro football, they'd have been called out long ago. Like when Joe Rogan went on stage at The Comedy Store to confront Carlos Mencia for stealing jokes:
The Mannings are Call Thieves. Sponges. Hacks. In quarterbacking terms, it's just as bad as if I go on stage at the next show I'm doing at some suburban Knights of Columbus, do 30 minutes from Bill Burr's last special, and expect to get paid instead of chased off the stage.
And are we really expected to believe this is all because John Hufnagel brought it with him from New England? What, there's no other US city with a three syllable cadence these big, thumb headed Amy Schumer's could've used? What about Chicago? Baltimore? Milwaukee? Washington? Bethesda? Taking "Omaha" from Brady and making it your "own" is no better than making a movie about a park where dinosaurs come to life and eat people and acting you didn't lift the idea from Spielberg. It's like making "I get no respect" your catchphrase and pretending you never heard of Dangerfield. These guys are the worst of the worst.
I can't believe it's all these years later and losing those four games to the Mannings still haunts me like it does. But even more shocking is the fact they're still inventing more ways to make me despise them.