This was the Tom Brady we'll tell our grandchildren about.
This was the David Ortiz my college-aged son remembered as a boy.
Boston is back in all of its October 2004 splendor, with a splash of 2007 thrown in for flavor. Back as the place to be for rabid partisans, Fox Sports, print and digital journalists who crave great storytelling and anyone who likes a winner.
Back as the place we all love.
Back as the place that the haters love to hate.
Back thanks to a wonderfully, magical, Sunday - October, 13, 2013 - that will someday be the stuff of bed-time stories, NESN and Comcast Sports New England specials, over-wrought prose like you're reading here and countless videos about the potential of what being a Bostonian, either geographically or in spirit, especially when it comes to sports loyalty.
A city that was blasted to pieces on Patriots' Day has roared back on so many levels in the almost six months to the day since. None of us would trivialize what happened to those whose lives where shattered by the Brothers Grim that day, or in the ensuing craziness. But Boston's pro sports teams have been a spearhead in everyone's recovery. And even those who lost loved ones, or limbs, or peace of mind, have found solace, comfort and support by throwing out the first pitch, standing on the Gillette sidelines or waving the Boston Strong flag before a Bruins game.
Grit and balls?
More like molecular iron and testicular grandeur.
Two comebacks. One walkoff and one near-walkoff.
Courtesy of the two biggest names in New England sports for the past decade. The poster boys of the Decade of Dominance.
Ortiz and Brady. They go with Boston and New England like rotaries, Dunkin' Donuts and raw fall mornings.
Sunday, New England had Brady's last-second, or last five-seconds, touchdown pass, and Ortiz's grand-slam.
Losses magically became victories before our eyes.
All of that made this Super Sunday extra special for New Englanders at so many levels. Just think, for a moment, if you're a 10-year-old boy in Watertown or 12-year-old girl in Lowell, Sunday may have been the happiest day of your sports life, or a very close second. You were in the crib when Pedro Martinez mowed down the Cardinals, Rodney Harrison picked off Donovan McNabb in Jacksonville and fast asleep when the Celtics smote Kobe and the Lakers in 2008.
Even better, no school Monday. So you didn't have to go to bed and miss Ortiz's up-from-the-ashes grand slam against the Tigers.
Life is good.
Your parents and older cousins didn't have all the fun nine years ago after all.
The meaning of #BostonStrong has been watered down in the eyes of many.
But it's just that mentality that makes being a sports fan in or of Boston, or one who has kept his Boston roots firmly planted across three time zones as a journalist, so special.
Tough, Resilient. Loyal to a fault. Caustic, profane and sarcastic, yet not afraid to cry once everyone else has left the room. Blue-collar even when we're white collar. Always trying to make things better, even when they keep getting worse.
It's that "never-say-die" mentality we all grew up with that Brady and Ortiz exhibited Sunday.
As kids, we were never allowed to quit. Anything. Ever. As adults, we're able to make rational decisions on the best time to cut our losses. Leaving Fenway Park or Gillette Stadium early on Sunday was one of those adult mistakes that those who made it may never live down in their minds.
Giving up was a sin, always worst than losing. Before "Keep the Faith" was another annoying Red Sox marketing slogan, it was a way of life for millions across New England. Most of us grew up with one religion or another, so "faith" was something that came naturally.
Of course, with the Red Sox and Patriots of old, that "faith" was often trumped with foolish talk of "curses" or "chokes."
We've since learned that all of these wins and losses are products of physics, chemistry, geometry, brains, brawn, nerves and emotion.
The Bruins had the stage to mainly to themselves during their Cup close call this spring. They played brilliantly, pushing beyond anything thought possible by most before the playoffs began. But their magic was singular as it occurred and was almost a continuation of 2011.
Boston's Super Sunday began with Brady's Very Bradyesque comeback against the Saints that ended with a touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds to play in New England's 30-27 victory. [We'll wait if you want to read the details and check out Scott Zolak's epic call of the game-winning TD here.]
As if on queue in the 2004 time-machine, Oritz stepped up to the plate at Fenway Park in the eighth inning with the Red Sox trailing 5-1 with the bases loaded and drove the first pitch from Joaquin Benoit over the bullpen wall, along with Torii Hunter.
A grand slam that was grander than any playoff home run he's ever hit because it didn't break a tie, rather it gave the Red Sox life. It was the ultimate momentum swing. The Improbable Dream had run into the stark reality of the Detroit Tigers star-studded lineup. It was only the third grand slam in playoff baseball history that tied a game. And for the Red Sox, it was the first sign of offense in Boston's lineup this entire series.
That tied the game at 5-5. Tied 5-5 after the Red Sox were losing 5-0. Tied after Boston was one-hit in Game 1, was held hitless until the sixth inning by Max Scherzer Sunday and had struck out 30 times in just 17 innings. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's RBI single brought in Jonny Gomes to win it.
Game 3 is Tuesday afternoon in Detroit.
The Patriots visit the Jets Sunday.
The Tigers still have homefield advantage in the ALCS, along with Justin Verlander pitching the next game. The Patriots have a slew of questions, especially with injuries to Aqib Talib, Danny Amendola and the still missing-in-inaction Rob Gronkowski.
No championships were won Sunday.
But it was day of champions, for sure.
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