Good response to the question we posed last week about what would constitute a satisfying or disappointing Patriots season after the Miami win. Most of you feel, if I may paraphrase the consensus of opinion, that what's been accomplished to this point is enough. Some of you expressed that being the No. 1 seed right now, the Patriots would need to win the AFC Championship Game. It was a mixed bag, but the consensus was the Patriots are going in the right direction and should be a top team for many years to come.
A few of you even went so far as to say the Patriots are a dynasty, taking a similar view to my colleague Michael Holley in a well-done column in the Globe this week.
The Patriots are playing this Sunday's game as the top dog. No more underdog stuff. They are no longer under the radar screen. Bill Belichick made Dolphins sound like the '72 Dolphins this week, which is his way of not taking the Jaguars lightly. He's right, they shouldn't.
We certainly had a number of e-mails on either the joy of last Sunday or the disappointment of it. The joy came to those who were able to make the game and enjoyed the win and being a part of the AFC East clinching moment. On the flip side, many people, about 25,000, couldn't make the game. Some chose not to brave the elements and others chose to start out fully intending to come to the game only to be told not to attempt it.
I empathize with anyone who was turned away because the parking lots were full, or what ever the reason. I just don't know what the Patriots could have done. From everyone I spoke to involved with the Patriots, they just couldn't keep up with almost 30 inches of snow which fell over the course of Friday night through Sunday. I can tell you being at the stadium Wednesday, there were still crews removing snow at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Patriots would have loved to take your $30 or $40 for parking. They lost a great deal of parking and concession revenue for the game.
The decision to play is the NFL's, not the Patriots. It was a tough day for them because they had just issued a commemorative ticket for the 100th consecutive home sellout, something the team ownership was very proud of. I'm not certain what the team can do, if anything, to make it up to those people who had to eat expensive tickets. It sounds as though the situation was completely out of their hands.
After signing punter Brooks Barnard last week, the Patriots added punter-kicker Travis Dorsch to the practice squad this week. Dorsch, drafted in the fourth round by the Bengals, has a big leg but his NFL debut last season resulted in two, low line-drive punts that Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith returned for touchdowns. He also had a 10-yard punt in that game. Continued...