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Throwback Thursday: It's Probably A Good Thing That Patriots Lost Super Bowl XLVI To Giants

Note: We introduced "Throwback Thursday" posts last week. Let's make this a weekly thing.

BOSTON (CBS) -- Losing is never fun. Losing a Super Bowl is never good.

Except for when it is.

Hear me out.

With the Patriots still currently in the afterglow of winning the Super Bowl, and with the "DeflateGate" investigation looking more and more ridiculous with each day that passes, New England can feel pretty damn good about the state of its football team. When seemingly the entire country wanted to see their team lose, Tom Brady rallied the Patriots to two fourth-quarter drives against the best defense since the 2000 Ravens, and Malcolm Butler sealed the win with an interception at the goal line.

It was an unbelievable game, one that's still hard to fully process, and I imagine many Patriots fans have spent many hours over the past two-and-a-half weeks watching every bit of footage available, from the NFL Films special, to the Sound F/X episode, to all of the mic'd up clips online and all of the montages. They are extraordinarily well done, and if you're a fan of the Patriots, the past few weeks have been like a TV heaven.

I mean, look at this:

Tom Brady Week. The best.

Anyways, all of these excellently produced NFL Films-type specials got me thinking: Man oh man, it's a good thing the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI.

You'll remember that at the time, there were a number of reasons why a Patriots victory was of the utmost importance to folks in New England. For one, there was the very real emotional push to win for Robert Kraft, who had lost his wife Myra to cancer the summer before the season began. The team wore "MHK" patches, Matt Light presented a painting in her honor to Robert Kraft in the locker room after clinching a first-round bye, and it seemed like the tenured members of the Patriots -- Matt Light, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork -- really took that season to heart. Winning would have been a nice way to thank the owner who had treated them like family for their whole careers.

There was also the legacy aspect. Brady and Bill Belichick were entering their fifth Super Bowl together. No, they could not go back in time and make up for the Super Bowl XLII loss, but they could improve their record to 4-1. Brady could join Montana and Bradshaw, Belichick could join Noll, and the Patriots could take their place among the all-time great dynasties in NFL history. Plus, considering Brady was 34 years old, and his "window was closing" and his skills were declining and all of that, maybe this was his last realistic chance to win the Super Bowl. Many folks banged that drum.

So a lot was on the line, and the Patriots did very nearly win. They led by eight points in the second half, but their offense stalled out and the lousy defense played as you'd expect a lousy defense to play. Brady's Hail Mary on the final play came oh-so-close to becoming the most memorable finish in Super Bowl history, but the pass hit the turf, and the Patriots lost.

New England was angry. Rightfully. But here's why it was, ultimately, a good thing.

You know how much you've been enjoying all of the footage of the most recent Super Bowl? Well, have you noticed that at the same time all of those videos have been playing, Aaron Hernandez has been sitting in a Bristol County courthouse, on trial for murder? And do you know who would have been one of the biggest stars of the NFL Films specials from Super Bowl XLVI? That would be, of course, Aaron Hernandez.

No member of the Patriots caught more passes than Hernandez did on that night. Likewise, no Patriot had more receiving yards. Hernandez was Brady's most-targeted receiver on the night with 14, nearly doubling up Wes Welker's eight.

And if the defense had held on to that lead, or if Welker hadn't dropped that pass, do you know who would have been the man who caught the game-winning points?

That would have been Aaron Hernandez.


Look, if you're a Patriots fan, and if you ever use the Internet, you deal with a lot of crap. You've had people type "SPYGATE" in all caps to you for the better part of a decade now, even though most people don't really know what Spygate entailed. You've read "Cheatriots" and "Belicheat" and whatnot for just as long, and whenever a Don Shula or Jerry Rice chimes in to join the frenzied masses, the whole cycle repeats itself. Constantly dealing with it really has to be quite exhausting.

Still, if given the choice between winning a Super Bowl and losing a Super Bowl, you'd pretty much always choose a victory. However, now that the Patriots have won another Super Bowl and should be major players to be in next year's, maybe it's safe to say things worked out. You're a Patriots fan, and between Spygate's eternal flame and the current national hysteria known as DeflateGate, can you even imagine what you'd have to endure if a man who is being accused of three murders was the most valuable player of a Super Bowl victory?

There's simply no comeback for that.

(Required note about innocent until proven guilty, and all of that. But even if Hernandez is found not guilty in this murder trial, he'll spend his freedom awaiting his next trial for double murder. Not the best look.)

So, you know, I'm just one person, I can't tell you what to think or feel. But for as much as you're enjoying this Super Bowl win, maybe -- juuuust maybe -- a part of you can feel thankful that you don't have to tackle the complexities that would have come if they had won three years prior. Sure, you could easily just denounce Hernandez as a human, but you also wouldn't be willing to give that Super Bowl back, now would you?

Tom Brady and Aaron Hernandez
Tom Brady celebrates with Aaron Hernandez during Super Bowl XLVI. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here. You can email him or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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