As we look toward our first pre-season game, I know it's the new additions to the team that I'm supposed to be most excited about. But around this time of year, it's usually all the old faces I'm most interested in seeing again. Of course, the usual fan favorites--Bruschi, Brady, Troy Brown, and Coach Belichick. And for me, there's one other guy on the Patriots that often stands out above the others despite hardly ever getting his name on the marquee: Matt Light.
Offensive linemen in general don't get the credit they deserve for their intelligence and abilities. Linemen in general don't get that credit, or the credit they deserve for their role in the game. This is a truism that's been drummed into my head by my father, a former offensive line coach (who is of course not biased at all). In my house, it's not "skill position", it's "so-called skill position."
So I am naturally predisposed to give an offensive lineman a second look, but Matt Light has earned my affection entirely on his own merits. I believe it was his exaggerated beard and wild hair during the Pats' Super Bowl run in 2003, combined with the fact that he walked off the team bus at Gillette Stadium after the Super Bowl that year carrying the Lombardi Trophy, still rockin' the beard, and wearing a fuzzy white bathrobe.
It was clear from those things that Matt Light was a colorful guy. But what really cemented him as one of my favorite players has been his regular appearances on the morning show I listen to on WAAF out of Boston. He has a sharp wit and a hysterical, sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor, but best of all, he's also multitalented. So far he's limited to one publicly performed musical work, but it is a doozy. It's called "The Mustache Song" and you can listen to it here.
This morning it was linemate Dan Koppen who called in to the show while I was listening. Immediately after he called the phone lines filled up with requests for the Mustache Song.
Meanwhile, Koppen also revealed that Light is working on a new song for this season. "We are all set at left tackle in the Music League," was how he put it. It was also mentioned that Matt was the cover boy (well, back-cover boy) of the Boston Herald today, and much was made of his hair once again (see photo above).
This was my official first warm and fuzzy Patriots moment of the season. And it wasn't because of Randy Moss, Brandon Meriweather, Donte Stallworth, or Adalius Thomas, but good old No. 72, Protector of Brady's Blind Side, Grower of Hair and Singer Extraordinaire.
Maybe not everyone shares my tastes to quite that extent, but in this quiet pre-season week, remember: offensive linemen are deserving of your love. If their musical stylings don't charm you, then if only because they're they only thing between Tom Brady and certain death once the season starts, and because their job is light years harder than it looks.