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The New England Patriots of 2013 have exceeded the expectations of everyone except for themselves. With a diverse offense that changes weekly, the Patriots have once again won the AFC East and are on the cusp of a 2 seed in the playoffs; which is something they expect to do year in and year out. Add that to the losses of key players on defense like Mayo, Wilfork, and Kelley, and there is a good argument for Brady to be MVP and Belichick to be coach of the year. But the Patriots could care less about regular season accolades and awards, especially when they are individual awards. Simply put, Brady and Belichick would rather have the 11 division titles over the passing and coaching records they have also accumulated over the years. But the difference that sets Brady and Belichick higher than any duo in the NFL over the past decade is that if they get to the Super Bowl or even the conference championship and lose? It looks like a disappointing season. That's the kind of reputation that has been put on the Patriots. Even in their Super Bowl in 2011, analysts were calling Brady overrated for losing his second SB in his FIFTH appearance. I'm not saying players want to go to the Super Bowl and lose, but they would rather have the opportunity and go to the SB than sit at home and watch. Much like the Duke Blue Devils who played in their conference championship this year in football, they were just happy to be there and have the opportunity to play against Florida State. The Patriots have reached the playoffs for the 11th time since Brady became the starter and are set out to (first beat the Buffalo Bills) win the Super Bowl. The 2013 New England Patriots would be furious with a playoff loss this year. The 2013 Ravens or Colts would be happy with a conference championship ship appearance because of the years they've had. Ravens with a rough start and a comeback late in the year, and the Colts would improve from last year with a conference championship appearance or even just a playoff win. Carson Palmer is still looking for a playoff win and would do anything to get the chance for a playoff game; and he's been in the league for 10 years now. Romo has one more playoff win than Palmer and gets so much ridicule for the poor performance he puts out there. If anything, Romo gets it worse than anybody, because he's played for "America's team" and has under produced for so many years. Phillip Rivers went to the playoffs in the first four years that he started in San Diego and made it to the AFC Championship game in 2007 against the Patriots, and hasn't made the playoffs since 2008. People get so overjoyed for their team when they make the playoffs and win a game because it is awesome for their city and their fans. And they should. It is a huge accomplishment. But let's look at what the Patriots have done since Brady became the starting quarterback. Including the 2008 season, in which Brady only started one game and didn't even make it to halftime of that game, the Patriots have failed to make the playoffs twice since Brady became the starter in 2001. They have made the playoffs 10 times with Brady as a starter. Of those 10 times, they have lost their first game in the playoffs only twice with one of those games coming after a bye in 2010 when they were the #1 seed. And they've made the conference championship seven times, winning five of them. With one game left in the 2013 regular season, the Patriots can cap a 12-win season and a first round bye with the #2 seed. Let's put this year into perspective. Brady was throwing to numerous rookies receivers and TEs. He had Gronk for about half the season. The offensive line has been banged up, not to mention the defense has lost many great players. (At the same time, the defense has won many games for the Patriots this year). The Patriots have lost three games on the last play, and they were all on the road. Their four losses are by a combined 18 points, again they were all on the road. Two of those losses involved questionable foul calls or no calls. Five of their wins came in the last two minutes or overtime. Might I add, one of those comeback wins was against the Broncos down 24-0 at halftime. What this Patriots team has done, has been unparalleled. The defense has played spectacular, the special teams has probably been the most consistent part of the team this whole year, and the offense has produced just fine with its complimentary running attack. So it's no surprise that if they Patriots get to the AFC Championship game or Super Bowl and lose that it will be a disappointment. It's the "Patriot Way" that helps the Patriots succeed. They are all about the team. Wilfork, Gronk, Mayo, Kelley, and even Talib go down at different points of the season and the team still succeeds without making excuses. They take their lumps and move on. It says more about the players who called upon than it does Brady or Belichick. The back-ups who have taken advantage of their opportunity are the ones who deserve the credit for this year. This is one of best examples of a complete team that I have seen because they could not have gotten to where they are without any part of it. This season isn't over yet, but whenever the Patriot's season ends, this team has to be remembered for what they accomplished through adversity before and during the season.
December 28, 2013  04:36 PM ET

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December 28, 2013  04:41 PM ET

Whoa.

December 28, 2013  04:44 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Whoa.

Yeah, it's a little all over the place yet all lumped into one spot.

 
December 28, 2013  04:47 PM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Yeah, it's a little all over the place yet all lumped into one spot.

We need DJ over here. STAT!

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