Remember those golden days of confetti and duck boat parades? Remember when we were the envy of our friends who live outside New England? We were so flush with success, folks at Logan ran out of space for new championship banners over the security station at Terminal C.
Not so much anymore.
The Red Sox are going to finish in last place for the fifth time in 11 seasons. The Bruins fired their coach and come into the new season with lowered expectations. The Celtics — who appeared to be our one team with title hopes — start training camp this week after suspending their head coach because of an in-house scandal, and their starting center just had his second knee surgery since March.
Oh, and as if we didn’t need any more poison in this big boat of bad, Mac Jones, New England’s franchise quarterback, appeared to sustain a serious leg injury in the closing seconds of Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium.
What’s next? A plague of locusts at Downtown Crossing? A swan boat drowning in the Public Garden pond? Green flies on the Orange Line?
We were hoping Sunday’s joust in Foxborough would be the start of something good. It was the 62nd home opener in the history of the Boston/New England Patriots. Bob Kraft wore a spiffy red tie, Vince Wilfork was feted at halftime, and the Pats and Ravens gave us a 60-minute thriller, replete with lead changes, an old-fashioned Patriot double score, Lamar Jackson writing his name in the sky, a great Patriot comeback, an almost-impossible 2-point conversion (it was called back), and a potential late-game Patriot victory. For a minute there, things felt Brady-esque.
But then the Patriot defense went dark, Jones threw yet another bad interception (always on a ball bound for DeVante Parker), Nelson Agholor had a ball punched out of his hands, and Jackson shifted into MVP mode.
After Jackson (four TD passes) sealed the victory with a touchdown run to make it 37-26 with three minutes left, Jones came in for one more drive and on his final pass (interception No. 3 on the day) he was pancaked by 6-foot-8-inch, 307-pound Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell. With his left ankle rendered useless, Jones hopped off the field on his right foot.
The air was sucked out of the stadium. And all of New England.
Bill Belichick, in typical deadpan style, started his postgame presser the way he always does; dissecting the game in monotone fashion, making no mention of the late-game catastrophe we’d just witnessed:
“Obviously the Ravens made more plays than we did. They’re a good team. They were able to take advantage of our mistakes. We weren’t able to capitalize on as many of theirs. All the way across the board. Just a few plays here and there that we need to play better, need to coach better, need to do better. But we certainly made too many mistakes today to be able to win.’’
I swear, if Belichick got hit the face with a chocolate cream pie on his way to the podium, the coach would start the session with, “The pie needs to be better in all three phases. Better crust. Better whipped cream. Better filling.’’
With the boring compulsories completed, Belichick was asked about his quarterback. Could he share what happened or explain why Jones was limping?
“No,’’ was all he said.
After three more minutes of nothing, Bill was gone.
And so was the Patriot season.
Say hello to Brian Hoyer, ladies and gentlemen, the clipboard-holding backup you’ve known for all these years.
The Pats are at Green Bay next week. Hoyer vs. Aaron Rodgers. Wonder who’ll be favored.
The cruel hits just keep on coming. As Sunday afternoon lingered and Pats fans found their way home, most local televisions were tuned into Tom Brady against Rodgers and the Pack at Raymond James Stadium.
At 7:08 Sunday, New England readied for ESPN’s broadcast of the last-place Red Sox going against Aaron Judge and the first-place Yankees at Yankee Stadium. We wondered if a Sox hurler would have the dubious distinction of yielding home run No. 61 to a Yankee slugger for the second time in 61 years.
Monday is Celtics media day and the introduction of 34-year-old Joe Mazzulla as the 19th head coach in franchise history. This will be the first opportunity to talk to Celtic players since their head coach was suspended in disgrace Thursday.
Meanwhile, we wait for word from Fort Foxborough regarding the shaky status of second-year quarterback Jones.
The great Paul Simon wrote about something like this 50 years ago in “American Tune.’’
We lived so well so long . . . You can’t be forever blessed . . .
It is the cycle of life for sports fans everywhere. And now it’s our turn.