Jordan Moment – Anchor Contributor
If you would have asked me two months ago if the New England Patriots would be at the winning end of the Super Bowl, I would have told you it would have been a miracle for them to make it to the Super Bowl. It was the worst regular-performance that I had seen from the Patriots since their lackluster 2011 season. When compared to the amount of fresh talent, explosive offenses, and all around more interesting characters, it seemed almost certain that one of the rising teams such as the Chiefs, Rams, or Saints were sure to knock the Patriots from the pinnacle, but things certainly did not happen that way. And all throughout New England, we hear the chants and see the hashtags; we hear the chants and we speak of legacies, dynasties, and eras. If you were to ask the average American what immortality looked like, they might point you towards any number of banners hanging from the rafters of Gillette Stadium, a dominion of kings.
They might also tell you that they don’t like the mixing of politics and sports but use the language of the former to describe the latter. Bill Belichick could be described as Caesar, and the Patriots as another Rome, bellowing and laying waste to the far-flung carthaginians of the NFL. Or, that was 10 years ago and now they are edging up against Germanic peoples, slowly being delegated back into mediocrity which is the namesake for the AFC East. Immortality then is a fallacy, a brief passing moment where the accolades are enshrined and then used as justification for a narrative of decline or restoration. Where those who are immortalized outlive all that they have wrought and only become a hollow name scratched into a chemical treated plaque or a picture behind glass which loses meaning to subsequent generations. Peter Jackson’s documentary about the First World War captures the essence of this reality. “They Shall Not Grow Old” is not only a testament to the Lost Generation, the nickname for the millions who fought and died in the pointless venture that was the Great War, but also a lesson to the immortality of the 15 million people who perished in the conflict.
In every small village and hamlet in England there is a statue commemorating those who died on the contentment between the 1914 and 1918. In places in Belgium and France, there are black and white crosses statues of weeping parents with faces wretched in sorrow overlooking them. But, the most captivating part was not seeing men and women our ages serving as soldiers and nurses, 100-years ago in color, but the fact you know that their sacrifices were in vein. That tears, crosses, corpses, and monuments does not prevent the next conflict only 20 years after the fact. That entire dynasties that stretched centuries into the past were eviscerated. That the Europe that built a century of wealth due to post-Napoleonic conquest of Africa and Asia ate itself alive in ten years of war. That has been the fate for all dynasties, collapse and irrelevance, so what difference can we expect for the Patriots? In the near future there will be highlight of Tom Brady and the 2000s the same way highlights are played of Joe Montana and the 49ers in the 80s. Which leads to the great struggle of history, if you were not there you do not know the feeling, and it all just becomes paragraphs in a textbook or numbers on a stat sheet. So, what is the point of having monuments if people stop paying attention to them? What’s the point of having empires if you crown your heirs with dust?