Chowderheads from another planet
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

At this point, it is time to surrender.

Drew Bledsoe
Patriots fans love Drew Bledsoe, at right celebrating with Fred Coleman, again -- for now.
We'll drag The Cooler today up to Copley Square and set it up near the T station. The country may have spent last week OD'ing on New England angst/New England mania/New England fate ... just plain New England, man -- when along come the Patriots, doing it again.

I mean, we could go Cooler-heavy on the Rams. The Greatest Show on Turf seems a little forgotten these days. We could go Cooler-heavy on the Eagles, representing like only Philly can. We could go Cooler-heavy on the Nectar Quotient in the gallery at the Phoenix Open, but this isn't a porn site, so that's out.

We're left with the Pats. Or, as my boy Howie's e-mail subject line said to me shortly after kickoff: "The Pats!" Exclam necessary.

Where do we go? We could play it straight, and go with the Football Angle. Has anybody cogitated on the notion that of course the Pats made the Super Bowl this year? The Pats had no business making the Super Bowl, so they made it. Same thing happened in the 1986 season, when the most unremarkable AFC team to ever make the Super Bowl made it. With Tony Eason at QB. Same thing happened in the '96 season, when the second-most unremarkable AFC team to ever make the Super Bowl made it. With nobody memorable on the team.

Same thing happens now in the '01 season. Tom Brady? Antowain Smith? Are you kidding me?

So, yeah. Of course the Pats made it.

There's another thread. The two previous Pats teams made it to the Super Bowl in years the NFC was rolling out its business. In '86, against the Super Bowl Shuffle Bears. Blowout. In '96, against the Favre-Holmgren Packers. Semi-blowout. Now, in '01, against the Unstoppable Rams. On turf. Bad luck, man. Can't the Pats ever draw, say, the '00 Giants? Or the '80 Eagles? Or the '98 Falcons?

Then again, it's probably a good thing the Rams are a mortal lock.

Because there's the other angle: The Pats Fan Angle.

Last week, I presented some theories, massaged with the help of my native Bostonian sources, that New England fans, in essence, come from another planet. That while they bleed for their teams, they can also turn on their teams like Sammy (The Bull) Gravano turned on the Mob.

Then came Sunday's win.

Marshall Faulk
It's probably a good thing Marshall Faulk and the Rams are mortal locks Super Sunday.
First came the phone call from my boy T.C., reporting a Pats fan sighting in San Francisco, on Pacific and Leavenworth Streets. The Pats fan was in a New England gamer. He was lying on the street. In a puddle of his own vomit.

Then there was the e-mail from the transplanted Pats fan here in San Francisco. He said Pats fans had commandeered a local bar. Said it was so popular, Tom Brady's sisters went to the place for the Jets game. Said my correspondent: "One of them was hot. I tried to hit on her. Maybe she didn't appreciate that I was wearing a Bledsoe jersey at the time."

This is genius.

Come to think, it might be the same guy lying at Pacific and Leavenworth.

Next came the e-mail from my boy T.J. in Rhode Island. He was at a local bar, witnessing the unexplainable sways of the crowd. T.J. said when Brady got hurt, the fans were pissed. Then Bledsoe throws the TD. The bar breaks into the chant: "Drew, Drew, Drew." Then the Steelers make a second-half comeback. The barflies booed. They chanted: "Brady, Brady, Brady."

My lord, you chowderheads are a most fascinating lot.

This is why it is good the Rams are a lock. Because what in the name of the apocalypse would happen if the Pats won it all?

Inevitably, the phone call came from my boy Howie. He went straight for my heart. He went Don Corleone on me. He asked: "I want you to use all your powers, and all your skills" -- to land him ducats to the Super Bowl. How can I say no, when Sonny's body is lying on Bonasera's table, man?

I'll try for Howie as a symbolic tribute to the lunatics who have ridden this Pats train to the station of glory where it now resides. But dammit -- I'd better not hear any boos when the Rams lead by 14 at halftime. On to the Weekend List of Five, where I promise: No more Pats talk.

1. An open letter to Philly: Sorry, man
Mike Bartrum
Mike Bartrum and the Eagles aren't pleased to be the second-best team in the NFL.
Was there any doubt the Eagles would cover in that game? Was there any doubt that a team that plays its home games in the NFL equivalent of post-bombing Kandahar would be battle-tested for the NFC championship? Was there any doubt that a bunch of guys from Philly would roll into St. Louis and give the NFL's Apollo Creed 15 rounds from the original "Rocky"?

I feel for you, Birds fans. Likeable team. Great QB. Tough defense. Hey, you damn well may be the second-best team in the NFL this year, and that counts for a whole lot in this corner.

All that said, thank Christ the Eagles didn't make the Super Bowl. Can you, in the depths of your mind at its most macabre, imagine a Super Bowl with Philly fans and Boston fans in New Orleans? Holy Mother of God. It would be like the Middle Ages. People roaming the streets, carrying torches, acting out their most base instincts while fueled by mead. Bodies being carted off, passed over a sea of heads. Brawls to make the crowd at a Liverpool-Ajax Amsterdam match look like a PBS mixer.

Society, ye have been saved.

2. Kordell Stewart: What more is there to say?
Kordell Stewart
Kordell Stewart's fantastic season came to a grinding halt Sunday.
At this point, who doesn't feel bad for the guy? You'd have to be a serious lout to revel in Kordell's misery.

And Steelers fans deserve better. Talk about dynamite fans, man. The Cooler is no place for apple-polishers, but I'd put the Pittsburgh football fans up against any NFL city and they'd always come out in a dead-heat with Green Bay for Most Epic Fans.

If the Steelers had made the Super Bowl, there would be no threats of primitive, dark behavior so prevalent for a Philly-New England tilt. Instead, Pittsburgh fans would be buying every round, forcing you to say "Stillers" by sunrise, and keeping you up until sunrise to make sure -- at which point they'd ferry you to the nearest breakfast joint for a sandwich consisting of fried eggs, french fries, mayonnaise and cole slaw, only because they're going light.

Damn. I'm gonna miss not seeing those guys on TV all week from Bourbon Street.

3. The Rams: totally overlooked
Oh, yeah. That's right. The Rams are back in the Super Bowl. With a team to watch that is a pure blast. And will win their second Super Bowl in three years. How many teams can say that? The '67-'68 Packers. The Terry Bradshaw Steelers. The Joe Montana 49ers. The Triplets Cowboys teams. The Late Elway Broncos. And now, the Rams.

Kurt Warner, at this point?

Hall of Famer.

Chew on that, stock boys of America.

4. A quick word on boxing
How many of you still watch prize fights? Man, has it changed since I saw Chuck Wepner bleeding all over my family TV set in the early '70s. Watched the Sugar Shane Moseley-Vernon Forester bout Saturday night on HBO. Now we've got boom mikes in the corners -- undoubtedly cutting down on what would be some of the bluest language outside of a Buddy Hackett live show. Now we've got punch counts. Now we've got so many belts, a few of them even got lost in Don King's hair. (Man. It must be late in the List of Five. Don King hair jokes.)

Anyway, sweet stuff, this sweet science. Guys pop off, then whale on each other. Sort of like what an Eagles-Pats Super Bowl would have looked like in the Crescent City.

5. John Daly: everyman
John Daly
Golf fans never get tired of regular guy John Daly.
Walked the fairways of the Phoenix Open this week. Here's your Phoenix Open summary: Tons o' booze. Increda-babes. Primal screams. Loud music. Not a single fan who would be allowed within 100 yards of Augusta National.

Seriously. If they tried, they'd be fended off with an electric cattle prod. And did I mention the increda-babes? You might want to mark down TPC Scottsdale on your to-do list for '03.

Anyway, so who's their hero? Why the same guy who lived his life immersed in tons o' booze, playing loud music, chasing increda-babes, and basically cutting a figure that would inspire an Augusta National security guard to break out the cattle prod.

Man, that John Daly is fun, isn't he?

Some Pats fan ought to kidnap him and take him down to the Bayou for a week.

On second thought, for the good of all involved ... naaaaah.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.





THE WATER COOLER

ALSO SEE:


Brian Murphy Archive

The Sports Guy: Bliss on the Bayou

Halloran: Exactly how I Drew it up

Sportoon, Jan. 28: Conference calls





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