Sometimes I wonder if the National fandom REALLY understand how remarkable this run has been. After watching team after team reach the pinnacle of the Superbowl, only to fall quickly from the scene due to all the trials and tribulations of the MARATHON that is an NFL season (and off season); the staying power that the Pats have shown is really OFF THE CHARTS. Think about it for a second, there have been several REALLY good teams that have come around over the last 6 years. The 2001 Rams, The 2000 Ravens, The 2002 Bucs and Raiders. The only team that even comes close to our accomplishments are the Eagles who made it to the NFC Championship game 4 years in a row What makes this even more amazing is that the road we travelled has not been an easy one. Recently we had the thread that equated success in the playoffs with relative health of the team. It is not surprising TO US, that the only 2 exceptions to this maxim has been the Patriots in 2003 and 2004 (and we can add 2006 if we get that far). It has been a constant source of wonder how when OTHER teams have injuries, it becomes major news, but when the Pats have their usual spate of carnage, it is view somehow more matter of fact. There wasn't a single word about the fact the Pats were starting their #4 and #5 safeties in this critical playoff game. OR that we've had to place 13 players on the IR (second highest in the league). It was only a casual afterthought that we were missing our starting ILB. Perhaps this is the highest of compliments in a back-handed sort of way. Nationally I guess they all ASSUME that who ever replaces a down player will produce adequately. Of course this attitude is re-inforced by the "no excuses" attitude that comes out of Foxboro. My favorite superbowl team has to be the 2003 group. They accomplished 2 things that IMHO make that team among the top 3 Superbowl teams EVER. First they won a superbowl DESPITE losing over 84 starter games due to injuries. NO OTHER superbowl team is even close to OVERCOMING that number of injuries. Second, including the playoffs, that team managed to beat TEN OPPONENTS who had won 10 or more games that season. AGAIN, no other team has come close to that accomplishment. To put it in perspective the 72 Dolphins "perfect season" team beat only 3 teams that had WINNING RECORDS, let alone one 10 games. Even the great 85 Bears team didn't come close to beating 10 ten game winners. I mean we all know this, but if you take the time to think about for a moment and realize HARD it is to beat a good team in the NFL, imagine the accomplishment of beating TEN of them, AND have all those injuries. It simply boggles the mind. (BTW- it is kind of ironic that the 2 games the Pats DID lose that year, came at the hands of 2 teams that had LOSING records - Miami/Buffalo ) SO despite all the cap restrictions, the loss of players to free agency and cap cuts, the loss of coaching staff, the 4 straight years of more than average injuries, this team just keeps on....keeping on. SIMPLY REMARKABLE - I just thought I'd pass these thoughts along. The more you think about it, the more remarkable this run becomes. I guess that's why there are so MANY haters, they just DON'T want to think about it. A COUPLE OF THINGS I FORGOT TO PUT INTO MY LONG POST - 1. I have the intense urge to go up to Ellis Hobbs and tell him to tone down his on field antics. His slap to the helmet that the TV caught, was not only unneccessary, but it could have cost the Pats DEARLY. I'm not against getting excited and celebrating (as a team) during the game, but IMHO Hobbs does a bit more than his share should be. 2. I know this is small and board-line mean, but I took great pleasure in watching Deon Branch be a virtual NON FACTOR in Seattle's loss to the VERY VUNERABLE Bears (4 catches/46 yds). Not only did Reche AND Jabar have more impactful games for the Pats, it only reinforced how ultimately RIGHT the Pats were in their decision making process. I will take special pleasure when they call out at the 24th pick the Pats will be on the clock. This pleasure will be made even greater knowing the JETS will be picking their 1st round pick AFTER us. 3. I'm certain that I wasn't the ONLY Pats fan who KNEW that the direct snap to Faulk was going to be the 2 point play. It was an exact duplicate of the 2 point play we ran against the Panther in 2003. In fact not only did half of Patriot Nation KNEW that was going to be the Play, SO DID MARTY. The TV caught him desperately trying to call TO when he spotted Faulk shifting in the formation.