BELICHICK and the Patriots won the AFC East but got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
The Patriots are 12-2, the Red Sox won Hot Stove season, the Bruins are skating off skeins of wins thanks in part to the pickup of an 18-year-old Wunderkind who may be the second coming of Jesus on ice skates, and the Celtics have twice dunked the Heat, with help from Shaquille O'Neal, their biggest addition in both contribution and stature. In short, sports life in New England feels amazing right now. But because this isn't the "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" December 2010 wrap-up, and because I'm a negative prick, let me remind this year hasn't been all smiles and Justin Bieber jokes. In fact, it's been pretty fucking terrible for the most part. So without further ado, the trials and tribulations of Boston sports in 2010, laid out in a depressingly condensed list of low points:
Let's go eat a goddamn snack
The origin of the seismic string of failures can be traced back to a blustery Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, some 11 months ago. The opening play of the AFC Wild Card matchup against the Ravens saw Ray Rice blow through our defense, untouched, en route to a 83-yard touchdown, opening the floodgates for an eventual 33-14 beatdown. Hindsight allegations singling out a locker-room divide between players that bought into the Bill Belichick meta-coaching approach and those that called BS revealed that the team was probably doomed long before Ray Lewis and company decided to snatch their lunch money and leave them with their pants around their ankles. Somewhere, Rex Ryan cackled over an industrial-size bag of pork rinds.
Broad Street beating
Fast-forward four months, and the boys in black and gold were up three games to zilch on the Philadelphia Flyers, inciting a buzz around hockey that Boston hadn't witnessed since Ray Bourque hoisted the Cup (for Colorado, but still). Then it all collapsed in a sucker punch of events that included the Bruins losing David Krejci, the Flyers regaining Simon Gagne, and the seemingly impenetrable dam that was Tuukka Rask springing a catastrophic leak. Only the third time in NHL history has a team folded in that manner, marking the only scenario where any of us can say we sympathized with the 2004 Yankees.
La La Land
But it's amazing how quickly we were able to shake that hangover, thanks to a Celtics team of card-carrying AARP recipients who whimsically transformed into world-beaters right before our eyes. Kicking down Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard in consecutive rounds, they appeared poised to topple Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in what would've amounted to one of the most redeeming title runs in Hub history. Until batshit motherfucker Ron Artest made the most clutch shot in his chemically imbalanced career to hand-deliver that smug prick Phil Jackson his 11th ring, that is. It's the kind of stuff that can drive a grown man to tears.
So bad! So bad!
On top of all that, the Red Sox had seemingly folded from the gate. A "bridge year" that drove TV ratings to catastrophic lows and had us all questioning our sanity while we washed down our $4 hot dogs with $7 Bud Lights. I hadn't felt that betrayed by the Sox organization since they let Jimmy Fallon shoot that movie inside Fenway Park.