THE ETERNAL NEMESES

Well, congratulations to the New England Patriots: They’ve been Djokovic-ed.
One of the greatest teams of all time – to borrow the hyperbole of sports journalism – lost, again, to the underdog, visiting locker room-assigned New York Giants, much the way one of the greatest tennis players of all time (Rafael Nadal) – who owns the greatest player of all time (Roger Federer) – lost, again, to former perennial third-wheel Novak Djokovic in the recent Australian Open.

It brings to mind what John McEnroe said during the heady days of his pursuit of Bjorn Borg: “It’s not important to be the best. It’s only important to beat the best.”

But who really is the best – the one with the most hardware or the one who beats the one with the most wins? Maybe the best hasn’t been born yet.

Or maybe the best isn’t the one who gets in your head but the one who has you in his. The Giants have the Patriots’ number. They know where they live, much as dear Nole has figured out dear Rafa’s Achilles heel. Both the Giants and Djokovic are true nemeses: Because they know their opponents’ souls, they remain relentless. They can afford to wait for the moment when they will attack and stand up for themselves, even if it means (thank you, Ahmad Bradshaw) sitting down on the job.

Hey, sometimes you win by the seat of your pants.

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