I remember the day vividly. It was the kind of day that you want to just not believe. You want it all to go away. You want nothing to be true, and you want no one to ever remember it. It was the day the nightmare started and, thankfully, in just 13 days, the nightmare will finally end.
Yesterday, the Denver Broncos ended the Patriots' hopes at a repeat. They hit quarterback Tom Brady 23 times. They sacked him four times. They intercepted him twice. They beat up Brady. They beat up the Patriots. And they made sure we will not have to live in a world where the Patriots are defending Super Bowl champions.
And maybe, just maybe, the Miami Dolphins had a small hand in that. New England, with a win in Week 17 of the regular season, could have been hosting the AFC Championship in Foxboro. Instead, when Miami beat the Patriots in that game, it opened the door for Denver to claim the top spot in the AFC side of the Playoffs bracket - ultimately meaning the Broncos would host the AFC Championship game instead of New England.
This season did not go in Miami's way most of the year. A 6-10 record, last place in the AFC East, and a 1-5 record against the division all are embarrassing. That one division win potentially keeping the Patriots from another Super Bowl, and another year of hearing how great Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are, is outstanding.
Does any of this make the Dolphins a better team when it comes to the 2016 season? Of course not. Does it close the gap between Miami and New England? No in the slightest. But, it does make that one win even bigger and it means the Patriots will not be Super Bowl champions this year.
And for that we thank the Denver Broncos.
Our National nightmare is nearly over.