Here's what people don't seem to grasp in understanding the failures from 2005-2010. Great teams no longer have eight Hall of Fame players. You don't have Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Larry Allen, and Deion Sanders. You don't have Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, and Roger Craig. Add to those teams numerous pro-bowl caliber stars. Teams that go 14-2 in today's NFL are usually just a sliver above a 10-6 team, with the only difference being confidence, consistency, organization, and some luck. Player for player, these teams are not separated by much talent-wise. How many teams in the NFL have three future Hall of Famers right now? Not many, if any. Teams that are constantly the front runners often get knocked out by hungrier teams clamoring for respect. They just don't have the head-and-shoulders above the field level of talented needed to truly dominate. The problem with the Patriots (and Colts, to a lesser extent) is they will forever be frontrunners as long as Brady and Manning are the quarterbacks. They are expected to win every game and are never going to be the underdogs. If you don't think it's important to have that chip on your shoulder of needing to feel like you have to prove your worth to the world, you should probably talk to Rodney Harrison. The dynasty Patriots made their dynasty from being feeling disrespected, especially against elite, MVP-caliber quarterbacks (McNair, Manning, Warner, etc.) This isn't an excuse; it's just the reality. Patriots and Colts constantly come out cold and calculated while fired-up teams stomp them out of the playoffs. This team has gone against the odds to continue competing at a high level, but that level is neutralized by the very real nature of being the frontrunner. This isn't basketball, where being the best team pretty much guarantees a win. It can all be lost in 60 minutes, and it usually is. Props to the Pats organization for standing strong. Obviously, these young players need to become mentally tougher. Being tough isn't enough when you are going to be the favorite for as long as you put on the silver and blue uniform. They need to be championship-level tough. For the Pats, every season, the pressure cooker is similar to the defending SB champions. I hope next year we will see some huge growth from experience. Just like the Browns game, a loss like this, while a huge blow, could make the team mentally tougher.