As with everyone else that even remotely follows football, I was shocked by the news that Tom Brady suffered a season ending injury to his knee. (Living in Washington, DC, I did not find out this news until later in the day, not being able to watch the game on TV.) Maybe I shouldn't have been shocked - the Patriots O-line was exposed for its weaknesses in the last games of the past season and in the preseason. Plus, these type of injuries happen to the best of players (with Manning and Favre being the exceptions). But Brady has the third longest active streak behind previously mentioned Manning and Favre, so it was shocking that the indomitable Brady, had been dominated. By a belly flop, no less.
However, I digress from my title. On revelation that Mr. Brady will be out for the season, I felt strangely liberated. At the opening of the season, the Patriots had been named again as favorites to win the Superbowl for the umpteenth year in a row. Anything less than a Superbowl win would be a letdown. Each game had to be won and every loss would be studied and dissected to no end by both coaches and the talking heads. Now, I can just enjoy the season as every other fan of the other NFL teams not named the Patriots. If the Pats go to the Superbowl, it would be a joyous occassion, not a required "date with destiny." I will continue to be upset by the losses and expect the best, but now will be excited when the Pats win, not disappointed if they don't win by enough.
Don't get me wrong, I would still much rather have Brady in the game, but I just feel that maybe I can enjoy this season a little more knowing there are no preordained requirements. Also, knowing that Brady will have a full year to rest and recover makes me look forward to next year, in addition to enjoying this year.