A huge benefit to the 2001 win was that it validated the Pats in the eyes of players, especially potential free agents. Accomplished vets like Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, and Ted Washington (the first a FA and the latter two career head cases) were crucial to the Super Bowl wins that followed. I think getting to a Super Bowl and losing a close game should, at this point, have a similar effect. Brian Waters, Andre Carter, and Mark Anderson made great decisions to join the Pats. Gerald Warren and Chad Ochocinco seem happy with having been here as well. Who on the Pats would have been happier being on another team. You might be able to think of a guy or two, but there aren't many. That kind of thing will only snowball.