Is it the END of an ERA for the Patriots? A Pat's Fan's Persepective
After the past two seasons many people in and around the NFL are questioning if the Patriots amazing play has come to an end. After looking at some numbers I show you my perspective on my team's situation in New England
Let's look at the following numbers: 6,5,4,3,2,1, and 0
First off: The Number 6
The number 6 represents the AFC Playoff seeding given to the Baltimore Ravens who beat the Patriots last Sunday 33-14 in New England. This was the Patriots first playoff loss at home since 1978, an 11 game winning streak. It also handed the Patriots their first playoff opener in the Belichick era, now 6-1 in that situation, this also happened to be the first playoff loss for Belichick and Brady, now 8-1 at home.
The Number 5
That's right Pat's fans, I know it might be hard to believe, but its been 5 years since we last raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy. While for most franchises, winning a championship in the last 5 years would be something to brag about, but for any of us spoiled Patriots fans, 5 years without a superbowl seems to be a travesty. The last time the Patriots raised the Super Bowl Trophy it was February 6, 2005 when they beat the Philidelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. They have had 4 AFC East Titles since then, and have only made it past the AFC Championship once since that date.
The Number 4
The number 4 represents the number of players who are still on the team after being part of all 3 of the Patriots Super Bowl Victories. Quarterback Tom Brady, Running Back Kevin Faulk, and Offensive Linemen Stephen Neal and Matt Light. Clearly there is experience on the team, but when only 4 men are left standing who tasted all three superbowls it might be a problem in the Pats locker room.
The Number 3
The number 3 is the amount of assistant coaches that still remain under Belichick from the last 3 superbowls. And no, coach's such as Weis and Crennel. It is the coach's that you might not have heard of. They are running backs coach Ivan Fears, Defensive Line coach Pepper Johnson, and Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Woicik. It would have been nice to bring back the old staff, but it seems that the Patriots organization has moved out to Kansas City for the time being as they now have Pioloi, Weis, Crennel, Cassel, and Vrable out there.
The Number 2
This number is pretty much pitiful. The number 2 represents the amount of road wins the Patriots compiled (if you can even call it that) this season. The first was a 35-7 "road" win against the Tampa Bay Bucs in London England. The second was a 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bills in week 15. The Patriots 2 road wins were tied for the fewest in the AFC with the Browns and Jaguars. This picture shows Kicker Stephen Gostkowski throwing a pass in pre-game warmups in the London game. For what its worth the Pats may as well have had him throwing passes in their away games.
The Number 1
After winning three superbowls in 4 years the Patriots have only appeared in one Super Bowl since their last one in 2004. Of course this was the painfull perfect season ruiner put on Pats fans by the Giants in Superbowl XLII. Patriots go 19, er...18-1. Needless to say I suppose it would be fitting to include the one thing David Tyree ever has been, and ever will be known for. Oh and as if I forgot to mention it, if you have 5 and a half minutes, watch this video of a Boston sports fan known as Fitzy as he rants about the Super Bowl loss to the Giants, worth the time..trust me
Finally: The Number 0
The Number 0, if you can even call it a number, represents the remaining Defensive Players from the 3 Super Bowl titles. Notabley Linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel as well as Defensive Linemen Richard Seymour. Losing these players this season hurt the Pats, and it was evident as they were proven to be one of the youngest and most inexperienced core defense week in and week out.
So the conclusion, is it the end of an Era for the New England Patriots. Depends on what you consider to be an Era. Were they one of the great Dynasty's in the first decade of the 2000's? The answer to that is Yes. The way I look at it everyone thinks that this team is done in the league and are no longer to be considered amongst the elite teams in the NFL. I would agree with that, they probably aren't an elite team such as the Colts, Saints, Chargers, or Vikings. However, there are more than enough teams in this league that would kill to have the records the Patriots put up season after season. Since 2000 the Patriots have gone 112-48 in the regular season with 3 Super Bowl victories and 4 Super Bowl appearances, not to mention the last time they went a season without winning at least 10 games was back in 2002. So to answer everyone's question, are the Patriots a Dynasty, No, but are they still in an Era where you can say at worst the New England Patriots are a good team, Of Course. I say they are still in an Era, a Winning Era.