Cue the sound of a needle yanked off a Sam Spence record.
With 1:15 left in the game, everything fell apart. All I can remember is a blur of images: a ball caught high in the air and pressed against a helmet, Belichick storming off the field with a second left to play. The Giants beat the Pats, 17-14. Peyton Manning's twerpy little brother got a ring, and grown men across New England went into their bedrooms to cry.
But just as the Patriots had stepped in to salve the wounds of hurting Red Sox fans after the tragedy of October 2003, the Celtics, powered by the new "Big Three" of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, swooped down in the spring of '08. They emphatically changed the subject as the team, led by Doc Rivers's shrewd coaching, won the NBA Finals, beating the hated Los Angeles Lakers in six games — the last of which, a 131-92 blowout, was the league's largest margin of victory in a clincher.
"Anything is possible!" Garnett screamed to the heavens in primal release. And indeed it was. A city accustomed to playing the patsy had transformed itself utterly. As Steve Buckley writes in his new book Wicked Good Year (It Books), 2007 was Boston's annus mirabilis, "the greatest period of prosperity not just in Boston sports history, but in any city's sports history."
So how about it? The aughts were pretty awesome — would it be unsporting to hope the teens belong to Title Town, too?
Mike Miliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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