Thoughts from a non-poster
Someone who doesn't post on this board wanted me to post this . . .
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Although Super Bowl XL will crown an NFL champion that is not the New England Patriots for the first time in three years, we can be certain of one thing: the best TEAM will not win the championship.
As BB has said, it's not about collecting talent. If it was just an issue of talent--if speed, strength, and size were all that mattered--the Indianapolis Colts by all rights should have been to the Super Bowl by now. There's no way we have the Patriots dynasty. Not to say that NE doesn't have great players---but if skills were the only thing that won games, we'd have been done for in 2001. So what explains the dynasty? I think it's all a matter of building a TEAM.
Say Paul Tagliabue calls you up on the phone and offers you your choice of any NFL franchise. Is there anyone here who would be willing to trade the Patriots for one of the other teams? How many other franchises can you think of that have wide receivers playing defense and linebackers turned into tight ends? How many other franchises have star QB's would drag half their starting offensive lineup into commecials and interviews? How many other franchises could bring in "troublemakers" and let them have career years? Not many, right?
The Patriots are willing to do whatever it takes (within the rules) to win games. But I think the same philosophy goes to each and every player on the team--switching positions, restructuring contracts, not complaining about how many catches or tackles they have. They all believe they have an individual job to execute, and if they each do what they need to, they'll get the job done. None of them want to be the guy that lets everyone else down--so they work their tails off to avoid that. They're model citizens, on and off the field--when's the last time we've heard of so much as a speeding ticket from a Patriot? Belichick and Pioli have built a team in the truest sense of the word. They're people we can be proud of whether they win the Super Bowl or not.
Tonight's loss was ugly. We might have overcome bad officiating or five turnovers; the one-too punch was too much. We can all grieve over what hasn't been: no Super Bowl this year, no three-peat. What we shouldn't do is worry about the future. Until I see BB or Kraft bolting from the team, I don't see any reason why the fundamentals that make the Patriots the most admired (and most hated!) franchise in the NFL will change.
Perhaps the loss will be a blessing in disguise...A few more weeks rest, opportunity for a better draft and the chance to hunger and refocus for next year. The Defense was very impressive over the last few weeks...A sound clock grinding, punishing running attack is the missing piece. I hope they pursue a marquis running back in the off season.
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