Now is as good a time as any to remind yourself: It won’t always be like this. The New England Patriots have spoiled us unlike any other team in this city’s history. Yeah, there is a team here that has won more. The Celtics captured 11 NBA championships in the Bill Russell-era.

But for several reasons (some ugly), the Green never captured the imagination of the area like the Patriots have over the past decade.

The Red Sox and Bruins have had their moments, but neither franchise ever sustained that success like Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Co.

Until the day both retire (here's guessing it will come around the same time), Belichick and Brady will be battling ghosts of NFL past. Both still have a chance to be regarded as the G.O.A.T..

Yes, Belichick will be hammered by Patriots-haters forever for SpyGate. But one more ring, just one, would cleanse much of that dirty detail on a national stage.


And Brady can never go back in time and be perfect in the Super Bowl like his boyhood idol, Joe Montana (4-0 overall, 0 INTs in the Big Game). But with his impeccable statistics and one more ring, just one, it would be hard for anyone to say that Brady is not Joe Cool's equal.

These are the things that Patriots fans worry about these days. No one is truly worried about Jake Locker shredding the Patriots secondary this weekend or what Peyton Manning will look like when he comes to Gillette Stadium a few weekends from now. Patriots fans have long been enamored with the "big picture." Regular season games are simply tune-ups for the playoffs. Two-game losing streaks are nearly unheard of. Division titles are locks. Undefeated seasons are not totally out of the question.

If you had told a Patriots fan in 1992 that it would be like this one day, he would not have hesitated to laugh in your face ... just before going back to crushing Bud heavys in a sandy, glass- and cigarette butt-filled parking lot along Route 1.

For Patriots fans in 2012, it's easy to forget that these things are cyclical, especially considering that the cycle has been stopped at the NFL summit for more than 10 years now.

Belichick and Brady are unlike any NFL or sports duo this area and this country have ever seen. We just don't know either of their football expiration dates.

Cherish these days. Don't worry about the big picture so much. Treat every Sunday in the fall and winter like a holiday. Remind yourself right now: It won't always be like this.

- Matt Burke is the Sports Editor at Metro Boston. Follow him on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS

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