Friday, December 07, 2007
The point is that these are the two greatest teams I've seen. The Bears had as good a defense as the NFL has ever seen, the Broncos, coming off of a Super Bowl win as a wild card had a chip on their shoulder, wanting to prove to everyone that they were an all time great. Both teams had the talent to go undefeated, both teams made a legitimate run at that lofty goal. In the end, the best two teams I've ever seen, unbelievably talented teams, all time greats, lost a total of 3 games between them.
On January 21st of this year, the New England Patriots played the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC Championship and a berth in the Super Bowl. Down 6-21 at the half, the Colts came back in the second half under Peyton Manning and won 38-34. The Colts beat the Pats because the Colts were playing the best football at that point in the season.
The truth of the matter is that the Pats were out maned in that game. QB Tom Brady had a great game against what had suddenly become a fine Colts defense. He did this despite a real lack of talent at the wide receiver position. Troy Brown was a fine receiver but at the end of his career, Reche Caldwell, Doug Gabriel and Jabar Gaffney just didn't measure up to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. The Patriot were simply out maned at the WR position, in a game as close as this one was, that was the margin of the Patriots' defeat and something that needed to be addressed.
The Patriots wasted little time. On March 1st the Pats signed Wes Welker, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, a good receiver who had been trapped on a bad team. Ten days later, the Pats signed Donte´Stallworth. Stallworth had been a great college receiver at Tennessee but something of a disappointment in the NFL. Still, his previous season with the Phailadelphia Eagles had been productive. Neither of these receivers were what one would consider great, but both were definite upgrades over what the Patriots had. At this point, New England became my favorite to win Super Bowl XLII.
Then on the second day of the NFL draft, on April 29th, the Patriots traded for Randy Moss. Randy Moss is ridiculously talented but had sort of disappeared after being traded to Oakland. In truth, Moss had shot himself in the foot, his attitude had turned him into a problem for any team he was going to play for.
The critics went nuts:
"Randy Moss will destroy the chemistry of this team."
"Randy Moss isn't the same player he was in Minnesota."
The Patriots were already the best team in the AFC with the additions of Welker and Stallworth. Adding Moss was, no doubt, a gamble, but a gamble with a huge upside. IF Moss was even a shadow of what he'd been in Minnesota, IF Moss could get along with his new teammates, IF Moss didn't completely destroy the chemistry of a fine New England team, the Patriots could be a monster.
Here's what most of the critics missed. The New England Patriots don't need Randy Moss. Maybe the Patriots aren't 12-0 without Moss, but they're more than likely leading the AFC East right now, they're most likely the best team in the AFC, probably in the NFL.
The Patriots don't need Randy Moss. If he acted up, if he turned into poison for the Pats' chemistry, he would have been gone. Randy Moss would have found himself sitting, maybe even deactivated like Terrell Owens was a couple of years ago with the Eagles.
With Randy Moss; a Randy Moss exhibiting a good attitude; a Randy Moss who's playing like he did in Minnesota, the Patriots have a chance to be an all time great team.
The Patriots have a chance at an undefeated season. Will they do it? They've got a tough match up against the Steelers this week. They follow that up with the Jets, a team coached by a former Patriots' assistant. Then it's the Dolphins, easily the worst team in the NFL, but a team that has never given up in any game, plus defending the honor of the league's only undefeated team. They finish it up with the Giants, a team that will likely be being playing for more than the Patriots in the season's final game.
A record of 16-0 or not, the 2007 New England Patriots are a great team. To be considered a truly great team, they need to win it all, they need to stand victorious at the end of Super Bowl XLII.
...even with a Patriots Super Bowl win, Randy Moss would have fewer Super Bowl rings than Ed McCaffrey...
Oh well there is always NEXT YEAR!