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Over Easy: On Sunday, We’ll All Be Patriots

For the Valley News
Published: 2/2/2018 11:00:05 PM
Modified: 2/2/2018 11:00:17 PM

The last two New England Patriots Super Bowl victories have seemed so unlikely — mythic, nearly — that they will be hard to top, unless opponents kidnap Tom Brady at halftime and tie him to a railroad track, strap bombs to his torso and surround him with armed Giants fans as a speeding locomotive bears down.

Odds are he will narrowly escape and save the day.

Well, the Patriots are at it again, reaching Super Bowl LII via a sensational comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots may lose to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but if they do, it will not be their fault, even if it is their fault. This is classic fan logic, and cannot be refuted.

There’s not enough space in this column to detail the glories of Tom Brady, who is still terrific at age XL in Super Bowl years. (Refer to Ptolemy’s Roman Numerals for Dummies — and Barbarians.) My game score prediction: Patriots XXX, Eagles, XVII.

Patriots fans are a learned lot. Even the ones who grin madly and wiggle like puppies about to pee as they signal “We’re number 1” generally have an advanced degree or two. And so, as a public service to Patriots fans who already know the basics, here are answers to some not-so-frequently asked questions.

Are the Patriots the greatest dynasty ever?

Having achieved control of 22 percent of the Earth’s land mass, the British Empire was hard to beat in terms of reach, several Chinese dynasties put up big numbers, the Mongols rank right up there in intensity, but the Patriots are, as they say in the sports world, “in the conversation.”

In an emergency, could Tom Brady safely land a Boeing 737?

You have to extrapolate the precision he exhibits on turf to handling complicated machinery and technical systems 18,000 feet in the sky, but a reasonable conclusion is that Brady could do it. In fact, computer models show that he could bring one down softly in the Kohl’s parking lot on Route 12A.

Who would Einstein pick in Super Bowl LII?

Einstein’s theories suggest he would choose the Pats to easily cover the Vegas spread, with a 14-point margin of victory. The game itself is too short for his expanding universe theory to have much effect, unless there is an unprecedented number of overtimes.

Could Bill Belichick devise a defensive scheme that he could not thwart?

The analysts at the West Lebanon Institute of Philosophy, Science and Snow Removal could not answer this, so it appears that only Belichick himself could say. And if you’ve seen one of his press conferences, you know he will not. Next question.

I believe that Tom Brady is the world’s most interesting man. Yet, when he talks about his opponents or upcoming games, he is so plain vanilla. Am I missing something?

True Patriots fans know that Brady speaks in code. When he says, for example, “They are a really great team and we respect them so much. We’ll have to execute our best and minimize mistakes to have a chance,’’ what he’s really saying is: “We will crush them.”

Did Bill Belichick invent the hoodie?

No, but he brought it to a new state of frumpy elegance with his sideline sartorial strategy. That’s why you see so many hoodies now at Harvard fundraisers and Dartmouth trustees meetings, where the dress code used to be a bit stuffy.

As for me, I’ve followed the Patriots with interest this season, but I don’t kid myself that their fate will long affect my life, liberty and happiness. I have been more intrigued by Brady’s success at 40. Just as it’s exciting to see young rookies burst onto the scene, it’s gratifying to see older athletes do great deeds. I throw a snowball at a tree, miss wide left and my shoulder hurts the next day. How can I not bow to Brady?

But what I like most is seeing a great mass of people, in this case New Englanders, excited and happy about something. The wearing of team colors and collective cheer remind me of July 4, when we can all agree that it’s good to be free and to enjoy a cold beer.

Something like the Super Bowl can unite us in a way that screeching about the new tax law doesn’t. In matters such as that, we might be justified in our opinions, but we don’t get much day-to-day satisfaction out of it. There is much about public life just now that isn’t gratifying — unless fear, hatred and despair are your cup of tea.

A Super Bowl victory, on the other hand, provides a rush of pleasure, days of happy talk among friends and strangers, then a Mardi Gras-style victory parade. A distraction like that — Rob Gronkowski dancing on a duck boat — doesn’t come along every day.

In sum: Go Patriots! Paint your face silver and blue. It will surprise the kids and the neighbors, maybe even alarm your dog, particularly if he is an Eagles fan. (Bad dog.)

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at

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