Tuesday, February 06, 2007 | It was October 2001 and the New England Patriots, just this Sunday freshly minted as the newest dynasty of sports history, appeared on their way to another lackluster season in what had been a lusterless franchise history.

They were 1-3. Their star quarterback was hurt. They had a team of nobodies.

Then came the war in Afghanistan. An administration fond of pushing patriotism to its limits and keenly adept at manhandling public perception had embarked in its first war. A starless team whose only asset was its name and its colors went on an amazing run, winning 13 of their next 15 games. God-fearing Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner played an uncharacteristically-horrible Super Bowl in the Patriots’ upset.

The war was swift, the mission was accomplished.

A team that had never succeeded at anything finally had its first victory.

The next year, 2002, passed with little foreign policy problems. Bush basked in victory, and we didn’t really see too much of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The Patriots had an average season and failed to make the playoffs.

In 2003, Bush went to war again, and again the Patriots were reborn. The one-time underdogs were suddenly the leaders of the NFL. They were as American as apple pie. A red, white and blue-clad quarterback named Brady beat Mushin Muhammad’s Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.

Mission accomplished? Not quite.

The situation in Iraq came apart like Marty Schottenheimer in a playoff game. The war was a full-fledged mess. Those that spoke against the war were un-patriotic. They were against the good-guys, against winning. They were un-American.

The Patriots continued what would become the NFL’s longest winning streak ever, rattling off 21 straight games. They didn’t loose for more than one full calendar year.

But Bush barely won the election, and the situation remained perilous. The Iraq election was curiously planned for the Sunday between the NFL regular season and the Super Bowl. The ultimate all-American Super Bowl was to be held: the Patriots and the Eagles.

All we needed was Ben Franklin exposing his nipple during the halftime show.

Again, the Patriots won.

As Bush made clear in his inauguration speech last month, his crusade to bring peace through war and change people for the better of Americans and American corporations will continue for the next four years.

So what hope does that leave for any other professional football organization with a non-patriotic name? Name change.

Although nothing could be more patriotic than a Patriot, the Voice of San Diego suggests San Diego business and labor leaders get together to mull a name change. A few recommendations:

San Diego Prison Guards: Sure they’ve had their downs this season. But everyone loves a comeback story.

San Diego Resolve: In the face of a disaster, this team never admits error or second guesses.

San Diego Freedom Lovers: You mean you don’t root for the loving of freedom? You must be French.

Ricky Powell is a 26-year-old San Diegan who enjoys professional sports and the sport of politics.

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