EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 11, 2013


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — A professional sport team is always far more interesting when there is a lively cast of characters, and we’re getting a sense that one of those times is once again upon us.

We’ve had our fair share of those kinds of casts in the past — the Celtics “Big Three” of the glory days of the 1980s, the Red Sox “Idiots” of the magical 2004 World Series, and the “Big Bad Bruins” teams of the 1970s.

For more than a decade we’ve been fortunate to have the best franchise in the National Football League, a team that has brought us a remarkable trio of Super Bowl trophies, and nearly brought us two more — if it weren’t for a disastrous final two minutes of play.

The Patriots are again poised to have an interesting finale to the season, and this team seems like one of those groups of players that is destined to go down in Boston sports history as a colorful and successful cast of characters, worthy of a name.

There’s the dependable and talented leader Tom Brady, the mountain of a man Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, the diminutive Danny Woodhead, the speedy and tough Wes Welker, the enormous run-stopper Vince Wilfork — the number of notable and fun-to-watch players extends deep into the Patriots’ roster.

And of course, there’s the stonefaced coach, Bill Belichick, destined someday to be remembered on par with Vince Lombardi.

The Patriots still have a way to go before the Super Bowl. This weekend they need to beat the dangerous Houston Texans. If the Patriots can overcome Houston, their next likely opponent is a stellar matchup against the Denver Broncos, a team that has been hauled up by its bootstraps by Tom Brady’s rival, Peyton Manning. No doubt most football fans hoping that this showdown will occur.

Then, it’s on to the Super Bowl for the winner, and we hope we’ll see our Patriots again compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

Whatever happens, we think this crop of players deserves some recognition in the pantheon of Boston sports.