First of all, every word of this is true.
My wife and I bought new black jerseys for the game – mine’s Cam’s and she picked Luke. We’re sitting in 544 row 20 and have a significant amount of Pats fans around. I have to say that they were all in all really great and were true fans on the game. We talked after key plays, with me turning around after The Scramble, wearing Cam’s jersey, and just stood there and shrugged my shoulders and held my palms up and said "Whatta ya do? He does it every week!"
Well all laughed and cheered and booed and carried on as the game swung back and forth. When we got the ball for our last drive, I really had confidence that Cam and offense would get into FG range no sweat, as did they. We started joking about OT and even the possibility of a tie, and how ironic it would be to spend 4+ hours at the game losing our minds for a TIE. Well, EVERYTHING changed when Ginn scored, and it all ratcheted up on New England’s final drive. They were confident – more hopeful than confident I guess – but we all agreed the game was far from over.
As the plays unfolded and the DPI was called on White, this awful "here we go again" feeling crept in. As they lined up for the final play, I turned around and said to the Pats fans behind me – "WATCH, DPI IN THE END ZONE FOR THE LAST PLAY. WATCH HOW CAROLINA BLOWS THIS."
We all know what happened from there on. I rode the "HELL YES" wave on the INT, followed by the A **#@^!! FLAG!!! I KNEW IT!!!", followed by the pick up. You didn’t see a replay in the stadium – at least I didn’t – and we all just accepted it as what it looked like – a picked up flag. We all joked about how "I knew" what was going to happen. And even New England fans were very "oh well" and "great game" and "good for you guys". I just couldn’t believe I had actually said what I was thinking before the play AND IT HAPPENED. But it didn't. Or did it?
You can NOT imagine how I felt. I can’t describe it. I really think stunned is the best word. After that flag was picked up, I just accepted it as a big win and headed out of the stadium, which was still packed. The walk out of the stadium was almost as good as the game...people high fiving one another along the ramps, shouting "LET'S GO PAN - THERS" at the top of their lungs.
On the Lynx ride back to the hotel, I listened to the post game on WBT, and all anyone could talk about was the flag. I turned on ESPN when I got back to the hotel to see their angle, and it was very clear what the story of the game had become - "Yeah, Carolina played great, but that last play..."
And then it hit me. When you look at all of the things that had bounced Carolina’s way over the last 6 weeks, it’s just too damn much to be accidental. That being said, I also have to admit that I have had a bit of a struggle up until the win on Monday really buying in to what this team is doing. I mean REALLY buying in. I’m not talking being optimistic or confident.
Things are different now. WAY different. From here on out, I think I’ll just think the best is gonna happen and enjoy the ride.
Bring on the Rainbows and Unicorns!!!