Vth straight Super Bowl without Pats has its advantages

Something good – or at least OK – has come with the Patriots absent from the last V Super Bowls.

The game can be appreciated, or disdained, on its own merits.

The ref calls holding on a lunkhead offensive lineman? Or pass interference when a receiver trips on his own shoestrings? An extra-point kick tumbles wide right?

Eh … pass the nachos.

No need to lose any emotional reins. The beer will be just as cold after an Eagles or a Chiefs touchdown.

Boneheaded plays can be downright funny. Ditto for dumb coaching decisions, or when one of the dozen announcers says something completely off the wall.

There are those who would disagree. If someone has bet a buck or three, they might guffaw or grumble at any of the above. When someone bets more than they could afford to lose, let them look at the nearest mirror before shattering it with the remote control.

There are New Englanders who may not know who is playing. As go pink-hat fans at Fenway, so go pink-hat fans at Foxboro.

Taking in the game at your favorite tavern is far easier without the Pats. There is no longer a need to get to the bar for the pre-game show – or even the pre-pre-game show, or the pre-pre-pre-foolish nonsense. There should be seats available for the kickoff, unless the bar is dangling a free, all-you-can-eat buffet before our hungry eyes.

If one chooses to have a beer earlier, the Celtics face Memphis at 2 p.m. ESPN will have its typical parade of college hoop.

And there are always moves, be they free or available for a relatively modest fee. And is “80 for Brady” playing anywhere nearby?

If it is, don’t waste your money. It is being widely billed as, with all due respect to canines, a dog.

Will Bill Belichick be watching, or will he take Nike for an extended walk?

Odds are coach GOAT will skip the televised afternoon folderol and watch the game. He’ll call the winning coach and offer congratulations. He and Andy Reid are old pals.

(Oops … didn’t mean to let a prediction slip into this little essay.)

It will be therapeutic for Pats fans to watch and enjoy. When it is over, think about what was and, like fans in all NFL cities, dream of what might be.

May we all finally grasp that Super Bowl appearances are not a birthright.

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