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Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  February 7, 2012 08:38 AM

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To the hundreds that have demanded my immediate dismissal, the fan who hoped I got clipped by the Green Line, and even the Neanderthal who wished cancer upon me, I issue a mea culpa.

Clearly, I never intended Sunday night's column, written in the immediate aftermath of the Patriots' loss in Super Bowl XLVI, to garner quite the widespread attention - and negativity - it happened to find over the course of the next 24 hours. Despite what has been theorized out there in various circles, it was not premeditated, nor was it a "joke post." It wasn't a sparkling display by any means either.

As I've tried to convey, perhaps with illustrious failure, the over-the-top tone of the piece was intentional, meant to convey the frustration that Patriots fans had to be feeling after the crushing loss to the Giants. Despite what some have opined, the first stroke of the keyboard didn't take place until confetti was raining down on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. I intended to write something while the emotions were still bubbling, creating a destination where Pats fans could vent their own frustrations over another devastating Super Bowl loss.

It backfired. Tremendously.

So, to the dozens who have pointed out my follically-challenged scalp (thanks, I hadn't noticed), called me a hack, loser, or some other unprintable expletive, and even the tough guy who promised to put my head (that's "cue ball" head, sir) through a wall if he spotted me in Boston, consider this my repentance.

I still think Tom Brady was most at fault for the loss, but it wasn't directly because of the safety as I noted. Granted, it did lead to forcing the defense on the field for most of the first quarter, but it wasn't the quarterback who happened to be the 12th man on the field. I didn't take into account how hurt he might have been when he tremendously underthrew that ball to Rob Gronkowski, but if he knew he was hurting, his decision-making process there should have been better. Yes, Wes Welker should have caught the ball, but it also could have been thrown with more accuracy. Again, I didn't take into account how Brady's possible injury may have affected his performance.

But rational thinking doesn't come to head in such a moment, and frankly, that was my intention; to present the knee-jerk reactions of what the fan base had to be feeling at that very moment. As it turned out, there was little anger directed toward the Patriots. Disappointment, yes, but the anger was at a minimum.

That, apparently, was reserved for me.

Tom Brady is not an embarrassment, and neither was his performance Sunday night. It was uneven, at best, but embarrassing? No. As many Twitter commenters noted, my avatar's four picks in a Super Bowl is embarrassing, to which I say, "Lay off Drew." But that's a debate for another time. Five career Super Bowls is nothing to deny any quarterback's greatness.

It was an intentional, heat-of-the-moment analysis that did not work. Tom Brady is not Jim Kelly. At worst, he's John Elway in reverse, but the story has yet to be completed. The erroneous blame I laid on Brady was a commentary that wasn't fully-flushed out, and thus immensely unsuccessful. If the Patriots had won the game, the initial reaction would have been that Brady is now Montana, that he had joined the ranks - like he hadn't already - of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He would have graced Sports Illustrated (again), gone to Disney World as the MVP, and sat in the Letterman chair occupied by Eli Manning last night.

But when they lose, everyone labels it a "team game."

You can't have it both ways.

Of course, my harried, obnoxious stance on that went over like Menino tackling Latin. In a rush to present a forum, I incredibly misjudged the audience, and that is my most crippling error.

I realize that. Whether you choose to believe I do or not is really up to you. 

So, to the fans who called me one step below Skip Bayless (gulp), mindless, moronic, or gutless, and, especially to those who said they simply didn't get it, you're better than this, or wondered which part of left field it was coming from, truly, mea culpa.

Spring training starts next week, though I can't promise many gumdrops and rainbows about the Sox. I'll apologize for that now, too.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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