Sep 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) gets sacked by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (59) at M

New England Patriots Gameday: The Tell-Tale Silence

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief –oh, no! –it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe.

The groan, audible as one but breathed forth by many, as the faithful from the New England village of Foxborough, overcome with awe…their charges, their team had lost again…

…and in the land of Poe, a cheer arose.  Another great victory, the forces of the Raven had vanquished another foe, just as the hapless madman had in the poem.  But there would be no police, no investigation of the shriek – just the words of a frustrated fan.

And in the end, there was no acute hearing, no delusion that would allow the victors to be vexed by the sound of the defeated visitors’ hideous heart, for their foe had none…not on this night…

Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

The New England Patriots seemed to have it all: the glamorous Quarterback with many weapons at his disposal, at his beck and call.  Receivers, running backs, all cut from quality cloth.  The defenders, young and stout, muscular and violent – strapping men, as if Michelangelo himself had carved them and placed them on the field of battle, fairly brimming with confidence bordering on arrogance.

Their reputation preceded them.  Led by a man with such a voracious appetite for destruction that victory sometimes waned in it’s shadow.  Misguided in his endeavor?  Certainly not!  For a man that insists on this violent style can rarely be questioned – yet how is it that he has built an army that has no use for the lifeblood of victory?

The faithful groaned but once, as seven minutes had yet to pass to complete the contest, for they knew (from long experience) what was to come.  Their heroes had no heart, no will to kill off their opposition, and watching the inevitable had caused them to shink back in abject horror.

Because they knew.  It felt so wrong that had we been present we would have gathered our children and headed for the tunnel, shielding their eyes for it was too horrible for those so young to witness – the sound of their still hearts being agony enough…

Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! –no, no! They heard! –they suspected! –they knew! –they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now –again! –hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

Yes!  The sound of silence was deafening!

But, through all of this madness, a glimmer of hope.  Their heroes had battled to the end, though the outcome of the contest was never in doubt – so there was indeed a chance that the whole could become more than the sum of it’s parts, should they discover what was missing…

The heart – metaphoric, as no person could survive without it’s physical presence – the instinct to finish the job, to dictate to their foe, to overcome the disability thrust upon them by the greed and stubbornness of others, to overcome those things out of their control.

And we as fans will suffer through another week of grief, anger and resignation – silently hopeful that their heroes’ equally silent hearts will again start beating – and not just beating, but beating loudly enough that they remember what it was like to be the victors, to be heard, to be cause for anxiety among men that would be foe, to emit the loud heart beat of a champion…

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? –now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage…

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Tags: Edgar Allen Poe New England Patriots Tom Brady

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