I remember the first time the Patriots went to the Superbowl. Their opponents were the Chicago Bears, under Ditka, who of course destroyed them. There was hype then, too, on a national level -- for the Bears. This was the era of the Saturday Night Live "Chicago Superfans" skit, in which loyal Bears fans tried to convince each other that Ditka could field a Pop Warner team against NFL opposition, and win. Students of Ditka's subsequent career will know it's not like that. Whatever happens on the field, the players also have something to do with it.
And yet in Boston we're seeing exactly that kind of hype about Pats coach Bill Belichick. To give you some idea how bad it is, here's the sort of thing I'm used to hearing around here. Suppose both of the starting cornerbacks on the Pats' defense had season-ending injuries. People are saying -- not as a joke, but in all seriousness -- that Belichick could put together a secondary whose featured players are an undrafted free agent, a five-time castoff, and a converted wideout, put this group on the field against the most prolific passing offense in the history of professional football, and have them allow just three points. Not for a quarter, but for an entire game. It's completely ridiculous.