Widgets Magazine

Venkataraman: My apologies to the Seahawks fans

A little over three months ago, I accepted an invitation to perform at a local temple on Feb. 1. My mind did not process that the first Sunday of February is always the date of the Super Bowl. Even after I realized that the Super Bowl would probably start and finish within the duration of the concert, I had no qualms about missing the game because it did not look like my Patriots were going to progress far enough to get there.

Boy, was I wrong.

In my defense, the Patriots were coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Chiefs, helmed by Andy “Clock-Mismanagement” Reid, Alex “Probably-Better-Than-Kaepernick” Smith and a ferocious defense that treated the refreshed Patriot offensive line like easy-spinning turnstiles. The prevailing narrative in the national media was that the Pats were toast, and this marked the end of an era.

Tom Brady? Washed up. Bill Belichick? Also washed up.

While the dark clouds over Foxboro, Massachusetts grew ever darker, the pundits gleefully piled on. At this point, it seemed that even making the playoffs would be a struggle. So I happily looked forward to missing the Super Bowl.

Bill Belichick wasn’t buying any of the hot air emanating from vocal orifices across the nation. He tersely remarked, “We’re on to Cincinnati.” And sure enough, the Patriots rebounded. In the end, the Pats didn’t just make it to the playoffs — they locked up home-field advantage in Week 16 before giving soon-to-be gone Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone a severance gift in the form of an easy victory over their backups.

As the Patriots went marching on, I watched them with a sense of nostalgia and deja vu. These Pats weren’t the offensive juggernauts of the 2007-08 NFL season, nor were they as weak on defense of the 2011-12 team. The way they played, with a sense of poise and the seemingly preternatural ability to make exactly the number of plays needed to win — no more, no less — harkened back to the Super Bowl-winning teams of the early 2000s. Those teams featured a just-barely-sufficient offense coupled with a disciplined, veteran defense. Although the narrative had flipped, with the offense now helmed by a surefire Hall of Famer and the revamped defense bringing up the rear, the vibe of this team was infectious. And despite my immense pessimism, I found myself thinking, “What if this is the year?”

It looked bleak when the Baltimore Ravens came home to Foxboro and raced out two separate 14-point leads before fundamentally solid football let the Patriots escape by less than a hair’s breadth. I honestly doubted my own fanaticism when the first reports of DeflateGate came out.

Going into Super Bowl Sunday, given the stakes for all parties involved — a fourth ring for Brady and Belichick, immortality for the franchise, a form of vindication for SpyGate and DeflateGate — I was an utter wreck. Quite honestly, performing at a concert that day probably saved my life because I don’t know what I would have done had I watched the first three quarters of the game. The concert went for three or so hours, and a part of me was honestly hoping that the game had already ended. That way, if there were to be any pain, at least it would be instantaneous. Imagine my shock when there was still a little time left in the third quarter, and Patriots were finally awakening from their doldrums.

I drove home and turned on the TV just in time to watch Tom Brady complete a textbook four-minute drill, taking a ton of time off the clock before firing a laser into the hands of Julian Edelman for the touchdown. It would come down to the much-maligned Patriots defense to stop the Seahawks from scoring a touchdown. The juxtaposition of the glory of victory and agony of defeat, both encapsulated on that fateful interception.

The rest is history.

I have been on cloud nine for the last two weeks. (If you’re a Seahawks fan, do not worry. The pain will fade over time.) As Bill Simmons poetically tweeted, “We’re on to the offseason!”

After having to remind himself that he cannot make a living by performing at local temples, Vignesh Venkataraman has decided to wait by his email for responses to his column. Humor him at viggy ‘at’ stanford.edu.


About Vignesh Venkataraman

Vignesh Venkataraman (or Viggy, if you prefer) writes weekly columns for the Daily, unless he forgets. He is a computer science and mechanical engineering double major, with an unofficial minor in watching sports. Born in Boston but raised in Cupertino, CA, Vignesh is a diehard New England Patriots fan and has adopted the Golden State Warriors as his favorite basketball team. He was the backup quarterback for his high school football team and called Stanford football games on KZSU in 2014.