A man and his Patriots Porn. (Jerry Thornton/WEEI.com)
If you’re like me — and it’s only by a cruel trick of nature that you are not — you’ve spent the last month rewatching Super Bowl XLIX in every format available. By now you’ve no doubt watched your “save until I delete” DVR of the game, watched the SoundFX of the game on Showtime, the slightly different version that ran on NFL Network and this 45-minute recap of the entire 2014 season which is some of the best two-tissue Patriots Porn I’ve ever seen.
And by no means have any of them satisfied my appetite for Lombardi Trophy IV-themed erotica. At this point I’d watch the 2014 Pats season in Vine video, Snapchat, PowerPoint or ViewMaster mode if someone wanted to put them together for me.
Of course no one has, but the artists at NFL Films have released their “New England Patriots: Super Bowl XLIX Champions” DVD. And while I resisted the urge to sleep outside the mall like a video game geek wanting to be the first to own the newest “Halo” release, I did get my copy the day it was released. And you should not be surprised if I say it does not disappoint.
To be clear, it doesn’t break a hell of a lot of new ground. It recaps the entire season from training camp on, and if you’re a real obsessive for this sort of thing, you could have found every clip contained within either from “Inside the NFL,” NFL.com, “Patriots All Access” and so on. But what this amounts to is all that stuff compiled into one place for the first time. Think of it as another SoundFX, only for the whole championship run.
Some of the highlights (I won’t say “spoiler alert” since you actually lived it and should pretty much know the ending):
— Bill Belichick in July, lecturing his linemen about using their hands, which was uncannily echoed by what he was saying to them on the bench during the Super Bowl.
— Belichick in camp, running his players through sprints in the heat: “There’s no shortcuts to being in condition! No shortcuts to being mentally tough! You’ve got to pay the price …”
— During the Oakland game a mic’d up Belichick tells Josh McDaniels over the headset “C’mon Josh. Let’s go right at their ass.” That was the game that was frighteningly close at the end until Vince Wilfork sealed the win with an interception off a deflection. The things you forget over a long season …
— The DVD does a fairly good job, without dwelling on it too much, of capturing the media negativity after the loss in Kansas City. Or as Scott Graham’s narration calls it, “The pundits and prognosticators were howling like jackals.” Somewhere, Ed Sabol is smiling.
— I’d almost forgotten how fired up the players were in the Cincinnati game that they “were on to.” The cameras caught them in the tunnel beforehand and they looked like they were on a landing craft waiting to hit a beachhead in the Pacific. And the producers make the great choice of including Rob Gronkowski‘s “I was going to make 12 look like Tom Brady again, baby … with my teammates … after you guys were criticizing him.” Gold, Jerry. Gold!
— Of course one of the regular-season highlights was the Denver game, captured brilliantly in the moment when Julian Edelman returns a punt for a touchdown, turns around in the end zone and has Brady staring him right in the face to call him “the greatest punt returner ever!” And when Edelman asks him if he really ran all the way upfield, Brady says, “I gotta see my guy!”
— More narration: “The Patriots found their fans in Qualcomm Stadium had turned San Diego into Foxboro West …”
— Another criminally overlooked part of the season is the number the Pats secondary, Brandon Browner in particular, did on Calvin Johnson in the win over Detroit. The DVD does it justice, though.
— One of the most worthwhile features is repeatedly getting to see the postgame locker room, from Belichick’s constant reminders the team had a good game but there’s more work to be had, to Mathew Slater breaking the team down. You typically can find this stuff on “All Access,” but it’s great to find it all in one place. Maybe I just find it fascinating that the team thinks so much of Slater that it has a full-time special teamer doing it. Or I’m just a geek. Either way I love these scenes.
— Naturally, most of the running time is dedicated to the postseason games, as well it should be. There’s not a lot new there, but it’s all fantastic. From Edelman before the divisional playoff against Baltimore outsprinting the honor guard all the way to the far end of the field like he’s William Wallace on horseback giving the “They may take our lives” speech to the look on John Harbaugh’s face after the ineligible receiver play, right through the varnishing of Indianapolis. They hit every key moment.
— With the exception of one. There is no mention of Deflategate. None. I was wondering how they would handle that particular elephant in the room, and they made the editorial decision to pretend it’s not sitting there taking up the whole sofa. I imagine they didn’t want to ruin an otherwise great film with what they know will amount to nothing.
— The Super Bowl itself is all familiar territory. Like watching the end of a war movie when you already know which side won. But the good guys did so, you don’t mind repeated viewings. If I have one criticism, it’s that they left out the part where Pete Carroll says “Oh, no!” Which is like Steven Spielberg making “Lincoln” and skipping the Gettysburg Address part.
But I won’t pick nits. It’s a great story, told by the best sports film production company in the universe. If they’re ever looking for a blurb for the dust jacket, they’re welcome to use this: ” ‘New England Patriots: Super Bowl XLIX Champions’ is the feel good hit of the winter! I laughed, I cried, and I want to see it again! It’s fun for the whole family! Two thumbs way, way up!” -- Jerry Thornton, WEEI.com.