Get this: there are high school freshmen in and around greater Boston right now that can’t entirely remember those magical fall Sundays from the last decade.
You remember. The Patriots would be playing in the marquee matchup of that weekend’s NFL slate, typically the late afternoon game, and just as Tom Brady was putting his knee to the ground, we would all immediately turn our attention to the first inning of that night’s Red Sox playoff game.
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Those Sundays happened with regularity from 2003-2008.
Now, it’s not like the Boston sports scene has been trash since ’08. Far from it, actually.
Just about every sports town in America would be envious of a Stanley Cup title, an NBA Finals appearance, a Super Bowl appearance and another Stanley Cup Final appearance in a four year span. But since Adam Vinatieri’s kick went through the uprights against the Rams on Feb. 3, 2002, this town has been greedy as hell. And, really, that’s just fine. In sports, greed for another championship is not only good, it’s great.
This Sunday our greed will be rewarded with a throwback Boston sports double-header, the likes of which we haven’t really seen around here since Oct. 28, 2007. That day FOX TV carried the 4:15 p.m. Patriots game against the Washington Redskins, in which the undefeated Pats annihilated Joe Gibbs’ ’Skins at Gillette, 52-7, and, immediately following the last whistle in Foxboro, carried Game 4 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Colorado Rockies. Late that evening, Jonathan Papelbon threw his glove a mile high into the thin Colorado air after blowing one by Rockies outfielder Seth Smith. The Red Sox had won their seventh title in franchise history that night and the Pats looked well on their way to winning their fourth.
There were plenty of other magical Sundays before that, too. October 21, 2007 was pretty good (the Pats ripped the Dolphins and the Sox beat the Indians in Game 7 of the ALCS). October 24, 2004 was fun (the Pats beat the Jets, 13-7, at Gillette and the Sox beat the Cardinals in Game 2 in the World Series at Fenway). Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004 was unreal (the Pats beat Seattle, 30-20, in Foxboro and some guy named Dave Roberts swiped a base late night at Fenway against the Yankees).
This Sunday an undefeated team will again be in Foxboro. The New Orleans Saints look like the best team in the NFC at 5-0 and will face the 4-1 Pats at Gillette in the marquee game on the NFL slate. Boston sports fans won’t have to change the channel away from FOX, as Game 2 of the ALCS will take place soon after Bill Belichick shakes hands with Sean Payton.
This Sunday it’s highly unlikely that the Pats will beat the Saints by 45 points and no matter what happens at Fenway by the end of the night, the Red Sox will still be at least six wins away from hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.
But on Sunday, Boston will once again be the hub of the sports universe.
Yup, that magic is back in Boston this weekend. And it never gets old.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS