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Chuck Klosterman on The Patriots’ Immortality

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: .

“It is not just that the Patriots have not lost any games; it is that they seem incapable of being a team that loses. At no point has their 18-0 run felt unnatural or unreasonable, just as there is no element of this photo that makes Tom Brady seem anything less than a man who is supposed to date Brazilian supermodels without any hint of awkwardness or guile or self-adulation. This is normal. For Tom Brady, being perfect is normal. Which raises a question: Does this make you like him more, or make you like him less?” Thus concludes the introduction to Chuck Klosterman’s brilliant examination of the 2007 New England Patriots and the team’s quest towards athletic immortality.

Klosterman continues by defining what it means to be perfect, with commentary ranging from that of the philosophical Aristotle to legendary undefeated ISU wrestler Cael Sanderson. Though raising many key issues, one in particular stands out, one that is especially true when remembering the Sanderson’s legendary run as a collegiate athlete, “When measuring — and particularly when remembering — the greatest performances in the history of any sport, the moments that matter most are almost always tied to situations when that entity failed.” As such Sanderson is neither celebrated nor adorned on the same level as Dan Gable, who went 181-1, losing the final match of his career while wrestling for Iowa State. “Wins tend to run together,” Klosterman continues, “negating their own influence. Conversely, losses demarcate time.”

Concluding his argument, Klosterman suggests that no matter how unlikely Eli Manning and crew are of taking on the Patriots in victorious fashion, that situation may serve The Patriots best – forever identifying them as the closest to perfection the sport has ever seen. That being said, if The Patriots do actually lose in Super Bowl XLII, I will have but one digression, “They should’ve put Flutie in.”