It is what it is.
We all saw it there’s not much sense in rehashing it. The better team won Sunday end of story. Denver 26, New England, 16 and it wasn’t even as close as the final score looks.
They were better on offense. They ran the ball better, they passed better, they blocked better, they protected their quarterback better, they had more first downs, they were better on 3rd down, they were better on big plays, they had the ball more and scored more points.
They were better on defense. They tackled better, they defended better, they rushed the quarterback better, they stopped the pass and the run better, and they didn’t give up big plays or first downs.
In all my years as a Patriots fan I have never used injuries as an excuse and I won’t start now and I go back to Chuck Fairbanks bolting to Colorado. Every team suffers injuries; the remaining teams at this time of year look like a mash unit it wasn’t just the Patriots.
In recent years we have played significant time without guys like Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Amendola, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi and many others. It will happen again and like he always has Bill Belichick will ask for the next player to step forward and produce.
I don’t have a full list of Patriots free agents but off the top of my head they include CB Aqib Talib, LB Brandon Spikes, DT Tommy Kelly, DE Andre Carter, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Julian Edelman and I am sure a host of others. Players will come and go but the upper leadership and the colors remain the same and regardless of who is on the roster Week 1 of the 2014 season you know this franchise will compete. It’s instilled in their DNA now.
Now longer will we ever see a 1-15, 3-13 or even a 5-11, I hope we never see another 8-8 or 7-9 but you never know. A few times in the last handful of seasons the team could have turned one of those 7-9 seasons out but pride and the way they play and who they play for wouldn’t allow them to phone it in.
This year could have been an 8-8 or 7-9 season but thankfully it wasn’t and this team went so much farther than I ever thought they would. I was very afraid of both a late season collapse or getting the wrong playoff matchup and going 1 and done.
This team fought all season long, they won 12 games, were the second seed in the AFC, earned a playoff bye week and a home game then the wheels finally fell off in Denver.
It has now been 9 seasons since the last Super Bowl Championship and there are only two players left from any of those wins. Sure they’ve been to two more Super Bowls since, and 5 AFC Championship games but the games they won 10, 12 years ago are the games they are losing today.
I truly trust Belichick and the Kraft family will keep this team competitive for seasons to come and change the big game losses. As Patriots fans we have been blessed with some great teams and it’s because of a handful of people. Robert Kraft, his late wife Myra, their kids especially team President Jonathan Kraft, Belichick, the scouting staff and those who did their jobs in Foxboro helping build this franchise and then moved on to other places.
If you look at the last few NFL Dynasties Patriots of the 2000’s, Cowboys of the 1990’s, 49ers of the 1980’s and the Steelers of the 1970’s a couple of things should jump out at you.
First New England managed to do this in the free agency, salary cap era that is truly staggering. To have such great cap management is a huge part of what the team does that puts them in this position year after year.
Second is the Patriots have not had the down years. Since winning 3 Super Bowls in four seasons New England has not had a season in the last 9 worse than 10-6, which they did twice in 2005 and 2009. Looking at those other dynasties 9 years removed is much different.
Pittsburgh in the 9-year post dynasty period put out an 8-8, a 7-9, a 6-10 and a 5-11 that’s 4 seasons of .500 or below. San Francisco meanwhile in their 9 years post dynasty had a 6-10 season and a 4-12 and in subsequent years beyond the initial 9-year period they really started to unravel and had 8 consecutive seasons or .500 or worse football. Dallas meanwhile since their last title has become the poster child for mediocrity. In the 9-year period after the last championship the Cowboys put up an 8-8, a 6-10 and three 5-11 seasons.
So while we as a fan base are hurting today and feeling disappointed with the end of our season I can pretty safely say we’ve been damn lucky.
Thanks for reading as always. It’s been fun even though every year it becomes harder and harder to find the time and the drive to do the research for the weekly game previews and to write them.
Hopefully after some time off I will be ready for next season.no comments