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Anhedonia (1 Viewer)


The original title for Woody Allen's Annie Hall was "Anhedonia," a psychological term defined as "the inability to feel pleasure." Instead, this will be the title for the 2005 New England Patriots highlight film. Patriots fans have a strange affliction. They have been witness to one of the best five-year periods of any team in NFL history, and yet they cannot get any enjoyment from it. Rather than celebrate their talented players and cerebral coach, they obsess over "lack of respect." No longer spending each waking moment worrying about whether there are any writers who have suggested another team might win the Lombardi Trophy, perhaps they will be able to look back on three Super Bowl titles and really understand just how special this team has been — and how special it will continue to be.That's right, "will continue." The media likes to turn on a dime, and by Sunday morning popular opinion had gone from "the Patriots are unbeatable in the playoffs" to "the Patriots dynasty ended in Denver." But it didn't, or at least, we don't know if it did. The 1992-1995 Dallas dynasty includes a year where the Cowboys did not win the Super Bowl. The 1974-1979 Pittsburgh dynasty includes two years where the Steelers did not win the Super Bowl. Most people consider the Patriots dynasty to run from 2001-2004, which means the dynasty already includes one season where the team didn't even make the playoffs.Patriots fans gave me a lot of grief last week for saying that New England's 10-game postseason winning streak was overhyped. And it was, because the fact that the Dallas Cowboys lost the NFC championship game to San Francisco in 1994 does not make the Cowboys of the 90s less impressive than the 2001-2005 Patriots. But by 1996, the main players on that Dallas team were aging. That's not true in New England, except among the linebackers and running backs. Most of the core players on this team are still 28 or younger. Rookies such as Ellis Hobbs and Logan Mankins will be a year more experienced, the holes in the secondary will be plugged, receiver David Givens is the only major free agent (assuming the Patriots franchise Adam Vinatieri again) and key players like Matt Light and Rodney Harrison will return. The 2006 Patriots may not be the favorite, but they will be a favorite. Based on the record of the Steel Curtain, this dynasty is not over — or, at least, we won't know for sure that Saturday night was the end — until the Patriots either go three seasons without a title or suffer a losing season.

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