Great things have happened to us here in New England since the Quaternity of Belichick, Brady, Moss and Welker came to us. Having been born and reared up here, it feels like we have finally entered the real world. Boston has left behind its key competition with New York, which it had for the last hundred years in baseball, for a new competition with Indianapolis. The Patriots/Colts midseason game is being called the “competition of the decade.” It is good for us here, because for the first time we no longer look longingly to New York, to which we always come in second in everything, but to the heartland of America, which we have never really acknowledged before nor felt we belonged. Not a day goes by up here without someone like Boston-area native Matt Damon trying to get us to play rugby or do something else as they do it in England, but football has truly brought New England into the American heartland.

Football and all sports are modified contention. The American Indians used sport as a substitute for war; the Canadians last century found that hockey would keep working-class French and Irish from killing one another. The pioneering psychiatrist Edward F. Edinger said the matrix formed by sports will show the pattern of future history. In baseball, which rose in the Civil War era, the big teams were Boston and New York, and they still are today. But in the post-war period football is the American game and the big teams are throughout the heartland: Green Bay, Dallas, Indianapolis and now us here in New England as well.

America is finding a new “center” and that is why perhaps the “Beltway” mentality no longer fits the heartland. Our old center kept North and South in equilibrium, but now we are a full-country, West, South, East and the frozen North. Perhaps it is time to find our new center.

The Nation’s capital was supposed to be sacred space; the benign, omniscient, impartial Brahma eye of the oculus high on the Capital Dome holding the heart-driven Old South and the head-bound industrial North together in a marriage of harmony and contention. At one time it was, but as Jefferson said, that time would pass and what would follow in its place would be a contentious bureaucracy, a republic of dress-up and political pretension. Here’s a thought: Let the nation’s capital be hosted instead by whoever wins the Super Bowl this year: possibly Boston/Foxboro, but maybe New Orleans or Indianapolis. And leave it there for a while. See what happens. Start a new century. Start a new millennium. Get rid of the riff-raff and get a fresh start.

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