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lamberts-lost-tooth
02-05-2008, 01:55 PM
Like Bill Belichick's system, Patriots' legacy ends up far from perfect
Tuesday, February 5th 2008, 4:00 AM

PHOENIX - The whole concept of perfection took on a life of its own during the Patriots' unblemished run through the regular season. Week after week, New England kept winning and it inevitably led to Super Bowl XLII.

No one dared look beyond the zero on the right side of the column in the Patriots' record for fear of being cast as a heretic.

The veneer of perfection hid the Patriots' flaws. The Giants exposed a few of them in the regular-season finale, but the Patriots won. The Chargers exposed a few more in the AFC Championship Game, but the Patriots prevailed, extending their season-long winning streak. Those cracks became a break at the most pressure-packed point of the season - the Super Bowl.

"I don't think we had as a goal that we were going to be perfect," said Pats defensive end Richard Seymour. "It just happened that way. It didn't matter if we were 10-6. Our goal was to win a Super Bowl."

The Giants pulled the final flawed thread in the biggest game of the season, beating New England, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLII. They unraveled the cloak of perfection and left the Patriots revealed as - gasp! - a very good team.

The Patriots are not great. They are not a dynasty, despite winning three previous Super Bowls. They are a very good team with a meticulous coach who maximizes the talents of his players in a system that demands execution at the highest level. Bill Belichick had demanded perfection from his players, and they delivered up until the final 35 seconds of Super Bowl XLII.

Losing the Super Bowl should not diminish what the Patriots accomplished during the 2007 season. It was a phenomenal feat that included a big dose of serendipity, and a measure of skullduggery - SpyGate. The ball always bounced the Patriots' way during the regular season. They remained healthy at key positions and they rode a wave of confidence, and arrogance, all the way to Super Bowl. Not even the charges of cheating distracted them.

They were on the doorstep, waiting to embrace history - 19-0 and a Super Bowl title. They found out NFL perfection is an elusive if not impossible goal, particularly in this era of parity, salary caps and free agency.

Had they won a fourth Super Bowl title, the Patriots would have been mentioned in the same sentence with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. Not by me. They are not a great team. The measure of greatness in the NFL is not based on wins and losses, but on dominance over a long period of time, with Hall of Famers manning the key positions.

Those Steelers teams and those old Packers teams were loaded with Hall of Famers players at quarterback, running back, receiver, left tackle, defensive end and linebacker. Even some of the modern-era teams that won three Super Bowls, such as San Francisco and Washington, had multiple Hall of Famers. That is what made them great.

How many future Hall of Fame players, homegrown through the Patriots' system, are there on any of New England's Super Bowl championship teams? I can think of only one - quarterback Tom Brady.

The Patriots don't have a dominant offensive or defensive scheme, which usually spring forth because a coach is looking for a novel way to utilize those Hall of Fame players. There is no Power Sweep. There is no West Coast offense. There is no Steel Curtain. Just a man behind a curtain, Belichick, cooking up schemes to befuddle his opponents.

The Patriots have a system, born from free agency, which operates like a machine. You lose a linebacker, you find another one with the same traits and you plug him in. You lose a receiver, and you replace him. Out goes Willie McGinest. In goes Junior Seau. Out goes Deion Branch. In goes Randy Moss.

Yes, the Patriots had their hearts broken with the loss to the Giants on Sunday night. But they were not ripped out. The Pats are a resilient team that will feed off that unfulfilled feeling of going 18-1. They will have to revamp the offensive line, maybe add some depth.

They will have to upgrade the linebackers, as age definitely caught up to Seau and Tedy Bruschi. And who knows what happens with Moss, who had a resurgent regular season (a record 23 TD receptions) but disappeared in the postseason.

Perfection again? Forget about it. Dynasty? Not now. But the Patriots will be a very good team as long as players buy into Belichick's system.

And he demands perfection.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2008/02/05/2008-02-05_like_bill_belichicks_system_patriots_leg.html

fansince'76
02-05-2008, 01:59 PM
"I don't think we had as a goal that we were going to be perfect," said Pats defensive end Richard Seymour. "It just happened that way. It didn't matter if we were 10-6. Our goal was to win a Super Bowl."

Oh really? Is that why you were still playing starters far into the 4th quarter of blowout games? Or going for it in 4th down situations in games that were already well in hand? Glad you lost, assclown. :coffee:

Losing the Super Bowl should not diminish what the Patriots accomplished during the 2007 season.

Well, sorry, but it does. Just like the Steelers being the first AFC team to finish 15-1 in NFL history in '04 was meaningless - didn't finish the deal. There's really no way of putting a positive spin on blowing a chance at history.

Steelman16
02-05-2008, 02:05 PM
Great article! But they were going for 16-0, no doubt about it.

Mosca
02-05-2008, 03:06 PM
Losing the Super Bowl should not diminish what the Patriots accomplished during the 2007 season.

Well, sorry, but it does. Just like the Steelers being the first AFC team to finish 15-1 in NFL history in '04 was meaningless - didn't finish the deal. There's really no way of putting a positive spin on blowing a chance at history.

Well, it doesn't diminish if if you don't think that it's all that special to be considered the best team for most of the season but lose the Super Bowl; that's happened lots of times. Ask Jim Kelly.

fansince'76
02-05-2008, 03:19 PM
Well, it doesn't diminish if if you don't think that it's all that special to be considered the best team for most of the season but lose the Super Bowl; that's happened lots of times. Ask Jim Kelly.

I doubt that 20 years from now, the members of the 2007 Patriots will look back in pride at being the best team in NFL history not to win a SB. Just like I'm sure Dan Marino isn't exactly completely fulfilled in being widely considered the best QB in NFL history not to win a SB. Don't mean a thing without the ring. Is that fair? No. But that's the way it is. Let's face it, the lack of a ring is what kept Dirt Dawson out of the HoF again this year.

Rinkleroot
02-05-2008, 03:37 PM
The Pats are full of it and everyone knows it, you can bet that for every 1 pats fan there's a 1,000 or more Pats Haters. It was Sweet seeing Brady getting knocked on his arrogant ass all night long.

Giants 17 Cheaters 14

lilyoder6
02-05-2008, 03:38 PM
i agree that this season of the pats would be overlooked. all yr they talked about undefeated winning the sp.. most of the reporters in the nfl gave them the ring during the middle and near end of the season.. they can't go around saying, well we went undefeated in the reg season, b/c the season doesn't matter at the end if u don't have a ring like 76 said above

Atlanta Dan
02-05-2008, 03:45 PM
I doubt that 20 years from now, the members of the 2007 Patriots will look back in pride at being the best team in NFL history not to win a SB. .

I also doubt they will look back on that, because if they do they will find they do not have that title either - the best team in NFL history not to win a Super Bowl was the best team in NFL history - the 1976 Steelers.

tony hipchest
02-05-2008, 04:04 PM
I also doubt they will look back on that, because if they do they will find they do not have that title either - the best team in NFL history not to win a Super Bowl was the best team in NFL history - the 1976 Steelers.im not sure the pats even come in 2nd best. i'd say the bills were better. that defense woulda killed brady and stopping that offense was a little more difficult than the jaguars or a crippled chargers team.

HometownGal
02-05-2008, 04:25 PM
They are a very good team with a meticulous coach who maximizes the talents of his players in a system that demands execution at the highest level.

They forgot to include "dishonest cheater" in their description of Beliprick*.

Thank God the Pats* dynasty BS can finally be laid to rest. :tombstone

Mosca
02-05-2008, 05:10 PM
I doubt that 20 years from now, the members of the 2007 Patriots will look back in pride at being the best team in NFL history not to win a SB. Just like I'm sure Dan Marino isn't exactly completely fulfilled in being widely considered the best QB in NFL history not to win a SB. Don't mean a thing without the ring. Is that fair? No. But that's the way it is. Let's face it, the lack of a ring is what kept Dirt Dawson out of the HoF again this year.

Exactly. It wasn't all that special, so it can't be diminished very much; it was no great shakes to begin with. Lots of teams have great regular seasons and then choke at the end. The '08 Pats can join all those Bills teams and Vikings teams.

The team that has led the season in passing yards has NEVER been the Super Bowl Champ. EVER. Not in 42 seasons, including the 07/08 season.

revefsreleets
02-05-2008, 05:41 PM
Now the media rats start jumping off the sinking ship.

SteelerFanInCA
02-05-2008, 07:17 PM
Nice read. Have to agree on the 16-0 part. I believe they were shooting for that all along based on the way they were pounding teams into submission.

Good to see the ship is sinking at the media level as well.

Hines0wnz
02-05-2008, 07:49 PM
You have to love the media for their penchant at making about faces.