Jim Davis/Globe staff
MINNEAPOLIS — Don’t know about you, but I can admit it. I got greedy Sunday. Extra greedy. Specifically, the how-about-two-last-second-victories-in-one-sports-day kind of greedy.
Might have come true, too, if not for Nick Foles and those meddling Eagles.
When Al Horford buried a way-better-than-average turnaround jumper to beat both the buzzer and the Trail Blazers in the Celtics’ 97-96 comeback, it was all too easy to identify it as both a prologue and harbinger of the Super Bowl later that night.
I was among the media types who respected the Eagles entering Super Bowl LII, a respect they won roughly 538 times over from every doubter during their 41-33 defeat of the Patriots. I figured it would be a close game — Patriots Super Bowls in this era always have been — between two 15-3 teams.
More specifically? I believed Stephen Gostkowski, the Patriots’ occasionally maligned kicker who will be one of the top five scorers in NFL history when his career is done, was finally going to have his Adam Vinatieri moment. A 55-yard field goal with the Patriots down 2 points and one second left on the clock? Why not?
It might not have been probable. But we’ve seen zanier outcomes. And as another very tall and fairly recent champion around here once told us after the Celtics had clinched banner 17, anything is possible.
Following Boston sports these last two decades and so often having great expectations fulfilled in breathtaking ways can have the effect of encouraging further expectation of the extraordinary. A Celtics game-winner serving as the appetizer for one more delicious Patriots Super Bowl victory seemed reasonable.
Boston teams have won 10 championships since the 2001 Patriots ended the city’s sports-parade-free stretch that lingered since 1985-86 Celtics won the franchise’s 16th title. Boston teams have played for 15 championships in the same span, and that sometimes leads to a strange juxtaposition.
Because there have been so many battles for championships — the Patriots are 5 for 8 in Super Bowls since the ’01 win, the Red Sox are 3 for 3 in the World Series, and the Celtics and Bruins both shot 1 for 2 in their respective finals — there is bound to be aching disappointment in seasons that are otherwise incredibly successful.
Sorry, Neil Diamond, but Monday morning was one of those situations when the good times never felt so . . . well, lousy. Boston fans are awash in sports riches, still. Underestimate LeBron James at your own peril, but the Celtics sure look capable of overcoming (perhaps even overwhelming) the mismatched Cavaliers and winning the Eastern Conference this year. After their thrilling 4-point loss to the champion Warriors on Jan. 27, the consensus social media response was: We need to see these two go at it in the Finals. There may be an outbreak of Patriots fatigue nationally, but the Celtics are the team sports fans outside of our bubble want to see more of.
The Bruins, a compelling blend of young and veteran talent, are 16-1-4 over their last 21 games and deserve more attention than they are getting both locally and nationally. The Red Sox? They did win 93 games last year and their second straight AL East crown, though Monday’s Truck Day departure would have been much more encouraging had a legitimate cleanup hitter like J.D. Martinez been loaded up to accompany all of the equipment to Fort Myers.
The Celtics and Bruins are ascending, but the Patriots are probably still the closest to bringing another championship to Boston. Once the disappointment of defeat — not to mention the self-inflicted chaos of Bill Belichick’s odd and damaging benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler — wanes, our appreciation for this season will grow. Tom Brady, at age 40, threw for 505 yards in a Super Bowl. In his race against time, he still has a comfortable lead and the wind at his back. Some band members will change, but they’re not playing their last waltz just yet.
In some way, I imagine most clear-eyed Boston fans are happy for those overjoyed, slightly demented, greased-pole-climbing Eagles fans. This is Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl victory. They must have felt Monday morning like you felt on the morning of Feb. 4, 2002. They’ll never have a happier hangover than this one.
Eagles fans had Patriots fans vastly outnumbered here. That’s understandable. A Super Bowl trip is a once-in-lifetime deal for fans who must pay attention to their checking account balance. There have been eight Super Bowl trips for the Patriots since 2001, and they’ve won five. That’s a little bit of disappointment and so much joy.
Besides, savvy multisport Boston fans are probably hoarding their $10s and $20s for a trip to watch the Celtics in Oakland in June. Too soon to count on that? Maybe. But even during the temporary disappointing times in this era of Boston sports, more good times are never too far away.
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