Pats Post Facto
OK, I am glad I don't try to make a living making football picks. I was 0 for 2 yesterday. My Patriots had a disappointing second half. They couldn't hold off the Colts and were outplayed when it counted. However, I didn't call this entry a post mortem as I don't think that the Pats run is over. They aren't dead, but it's impossible to expect them to win it all every year.
In the Belichick/Brady era, the Pats have made it to, and won, the Super Bowl three times. No other team has even made it to the Super Bowl more than once during this time. The other two teams that have been the most consistent in this era have been the Eagles and the Colts. Now they have one Super Bowl appearance each (and just about annual playoff appearances). Although I was disappointed that the Pats couldn't hold the lead, this morning I am reflecting on how great the Pats have been over the past six years.
The salary cap era in football is a great equalizer. Hence the turnover in Super Bowl participants. For the Patriots to be in the playoffs and a serious contender for the Super Bowl every year makes them an elite team. For them to have won 3 Super Bowls in 4 years ranks them among the great teams in NFL history. I think that the credit for them being a 'dynasty' (if there is such a thing in sports these days) has to go to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli who have constantly stocked the team with new and young players, plugging gaps left by free agency.
The Pats have two first round picks this year (Seattle's and their own). Both are late in the first round, and the Pats should be able to get some good players to keep the train rolling. I'd like to see them re-sign Asante Samuel and Tully Banta-Cain, but who knows. Regardless, they have some needs at wide receiver, at linebacker, and in the secondary. I wouldn't mind another running back as Corey Dillon is really wearing down. But, the Patriots have to be a leading contender to make it to the Super Bowl next season pretty much regardless of what they do on these matters.
My hats off to the Colts this year. They deserved to win yesterday and are a classy team. Note that the game yesterday wasn't marred by over-celebration and the post-game comments were very complimentary on both sides. These are two teams that really respect each other and play the game the right way.
As far as the future of the Patriots: In Bill we trust!