Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jan 2018

ESPN: Ranking the 16 Brady-Belichick Teams

For ESPN, I've ranked all 16 of the Brady-Belichick teams going back to 2001. Which one comes out on top, and which one on the bottom? We've emphasized postseason success by giving double credit for postseason DVOA and extra credit for winning the Super Bowl... but still, three of the top five teams are teams that did not go all the way to a championship. This is free, not Insider.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 27 Jan 2018

47 comments, Last at 01 Feb 2018, 9:06am by Anon Ymous

Comments

1
by coboney :: Sat, 01/27/2018 - 4:15pm

So - after reading that - I was wondering where would you rank the 2008 team there?

Overall a nice list that reasoned its points well

9
by Treima :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:10am

He listed the methodology: DVOA + (2.0 x playoff DVOA) - (2.5% x number of playoff games not played)

The 2008 Patriots were 13.1% DVOA. They did not play in the playoffs, so there's no playoff DVOA multiplier, and you subtract 10% for four playoff games missed. That would put them at 3.1%, so...dead last.

Edited for late-night reading comprehension derp.

2
by FireSnake :: Sat, 01/27/2018 - 5:02pm

Totally stupid. First, it makes no sense, total clickbait.

Additionally, the order is crap. The 2009 and 2010 teams were total train wrecks in terms of team chemistry. What Bill learned during these years fuels the current teams - not the best individual players but emphasis on the coherence as a team. 2009 till 2013 teams were hurt by bad drafting. The 2005 team should have won the divisional play off - after the game (I was ok with them losing because of the 2001-2004 run) I felt they should have beat Denver - they weren't the worse team in that game.

7
by Treima :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 5:56am

You are aware that DVOA doesn't have a variable for "team chemistry" right?

10
by FireSnake :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 7:05am

You are aware that the ranking is not solely based on DVOA but that DVOA is only part of it? DVOA apparently isn't good enough on its own:)

Just look at the two stints Chung has had with the Pats, which are totally different.

13
by Shattenjager :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 12:51pm

"We started with Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings for the entire regular season. . . . Then we added on playoff performance by DVOA, giving it twice as much value as the regular season. We penalized teams for games they never played, subtracting 2.5 percentage points of DVOA for each playoff round the team didn't reach. Finally, we added an additional 2.5 percentage point bonus for winning the Super Bowl."

Notice that each entry has "Adjusted with playoffs:" and a number and, shockingly, the list is in order of that number.

It isn't solely based on DVOA but it's DVOA plus a weighted playoff DVOA plus an adjustment for winning playoff games. There's no adjusting for Aaron's thoughts about "team chemistry" involved anywhere.

3
by PatsFan :: Sat, 01/27/2018 - 6:47pm

Good list, Aaron. Top three are dead on. I do think you have the 2017 squad ranked too highly, though.

4
by MC2 :: Sat, 01/27/2018 - 8:35pm

Interesting article, and I think the ranking is pretty close to my own subjective opinion. So not much to quibble with.

But what did catch my eye (and then made me roll my eyes) was a link to another ESPN article debating which of the "GOATs" (Brady or Michael Jordan) is the "greatest American male athlete of all time"? Such an exercise rests on a lot of flawed premises, starting with the idea that Babe Ruth was either not an American, not male, and/or not an athlete.

But putting that aside, what really sticks in my craw is the frequency with which it is now taken for granted that Brady is the "GOAT" of QBs. It's as if no argument is even necessary.

And that's why I'm rooting for the Eagles in the Super Bowl. It's nothing against the Pats themselves. In a vacuum, I'd probably be rooting for NE, as I think they are the better team, and would be more "deserving" champions. But I just can't bear another offseason of the media lavishing ever more hyperbolic accolades upon Brady and Belichick.

8
by Treima :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 6:01am

The Rushmore of American sports is, from my perspective: Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Phelps. I don't think football lends itself well to any "greatest athlete" things because it is an 11-on-11 game. And I think comparing across sports is indeed the kind of folly that is easy fodder for ESPN talking heads to write thinkpieces about.

14
by MC2 :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 8:32pm

I think I agree with 3 of your 4 Rushmore choices. I disagree with Phelps, simply because I don't think swimming has ever been a national obsession, the way other sports have been. People go crazy for it once every four years, but the rest of the time, mainstream interest in the sport is virtually nonexistent.

Having said that, I'm not sure who I would replace him with. At one time, I'd have probably said Tiger Woods, but given his struggles (both personal and professional) over the last several years, that now seems like a stretch. So Jack Nicklaus, maybe? Or possibly Serena Williams, if you want to include both genders.

18
by TADontAsk :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:58am

Jesse Owens, Babe Didrikson, Jim Thorpe I would put well ahead of Phelps.

5
by theslothook :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 2:41am

The 2010 squad will always be the most odd ball squad of the Pats teams. I feared them so much, but it was a strangely insane of offense despite being so one dimensional. Gronk wasnt even Gronk yet. It was a bunch of Welker and Woodheads and yet it was more devastating than any other 2011-2017 pats permutation. I remember some stat that showed Brady practically never threw downfield(I guess the receivers he had, it made sense). Just never could quite get how that offense was as good as it was.

6
by Treima :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 5:54am

That 2010 group was one of my favorite Patriots teams to watch, beloved by DVOA because they were unstoppable in the red area and never turned the ball over for some ridiculous stretch of games. When Brady got picked in the divisional round the first time I remember Nantz talking about how it was the first time he'd been intercepted in 256 pass attempts or something, just astonishing. I remember the talk being how Hernandez was the emerging star that year, the rookie TE that was gonna terrorize the league for years to come.

The defense was horrid (think that was the year McCourty and Ras-I Dowling were our starting corners), Rex Ryan put his eggs into the basket of the Madden Online strategy (play quarter every down!) and that was the end of that team. Not sure if it was just that easy to stop them and nobody had thought of it or if the Jets were just uniquely qualified that year to be the kryptonite. Many Pats fans will scream bitter vitriol about how Super Bowl XLII was a shock, but that loss to the Jets was the biggest stunner I would see as a Pats fan until LI. I had to crack open a beer and just stare at the wall for a good hour after it was over.

29
by Cythammer :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 9:02pm

Jets were an excellent team that year though, fourth in DVOA. Can it be that big of a shock for 4. to beat the top-ranked team? Of course, the Patriots were coming off a bye, and were at home. But I think the first Giants SB upset was still a bigger surprise.

32
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:18am

I don't know what weighted DVOA for the Patriots was that season but the 2nd half of the year the offense scored 300 pts. They never scored less than 31pts in any of those games. They were rolling into the playoffs as a very hot team.

By comparison the 2007 offense started off fast and began to fade in the late regular season.

11
by Otis Taylor89 :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 9:05am

I wouldn’t say that the 2010 Jets playoff loss was a complete shock as the Jets did dominate them defensively in the 2nd game of the year to the point where Revis made Randy Moss look done as a player. That playoff game had BB’s single worst coaching decision during his time with the Pats - holding Welker out for the first few series due to the Rex Ryan foot comments. That was a very good team that had a hard time beating a Aaron Rodgers-less GB team late in the season and would have been beat by them if they had gone on to the SB.

12
by PatsFan :: Sun, 01/28/2018 - 10:18am

Was actually just the opening series (I checked on PFR). NE worked its way from NE16 to NYJ28 where Brady threw a pick that was returned 58 yards by David Harris. The Jets then went 3-and-missed-FG and then Welker appears on the second offensive series.

20
by RickD :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 9:48pm

"I wouldn’t say that the 2010 Jets playoff loss was a complete shock as the Jets did dominate them defensively in the 2nd game of the year"

The Patriots won the 2nd game of the year, 45-3.

Oh, you mean the Week 2 game. The one in New Jersey.

Moss did beat Revis once just by outrunning him down the field. Got a TD on that play. And then Revis left the game with a hamstring pull. You might be thinking of the 2009 game. That time Revis held Moss to 24 yards and no TDs.

Given the 45-3 whipping in Foxboro, I still see the loss to the Jets in the playoffs that year as the most surprising loss in the Belichick era, more surprising even than Super Bowl XLII.

27
by theslothook :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:40pm

Interesting question of which is the most surprising loss for NE.

Hmmm. in 2010 NE also did lose to bad Cleveland team that year, but I agree - the way they lost was surprising. Hell, Sanchez was awful the week before against one of the poorest Colts teams of the Manning era. And the team did get demolished in every way possible only a few weeks before.

Whether its more surprising than the Giants? I mean, the Giants did win against Dallas and Green Bay - both were gutty performances against tough tough opponents on the road. And yes, the D line was scary. But that Giants team was beyond mediocre and you had to think that those prior two performances were total aberrations. At the time, I kept thinking Eli was a slightly better version of Grossman and the wagon was going to fall off at any time. I didn't trust them at all and fully expected them to get blown out.

Which is more surprising? Tough to say since that 07 team is still the best team I ever saw. Probably would go with the 2010 upset but its close.

Question - how big an upset would this sb be? I mean, its Foles. This eagles team is better than that giants team overall, but that giants team seemed to have the right combination and Belichick coached poorly imo that game.I'm expecting a tight game for a half and then the Pats pulling away. To see the eagles win would be a shock for me. You just cant' expect foles to match brady stroke for stroke.

31
by MC2 :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:49pm

Matching Brady "stroke for stroke" might not be as tough as you think.

Remember, Brady played pretty poorly in the first half last year, against a Falcons defense that was nowhere near as good as this Eagles unit.

36
by Anon Ymous :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:44am

That was less Brady playing poorly and more great game planning and execution by Atlanta. They surprised NE by going primarily man and did a hell of a job at it, which is really the key to beating NE. The other team doing something unexpected gives NE more trouble than being "better" but doing the same thing you always do.

42
by MC2 :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 12:30am

I don't think the Falcons really showed Brady anything he hadn't seen before. In fact, at this point, I don't think it's really possible to "trick" Brady with some schematic wrinkle. He's seen it all before. I think the best strategy is just to mix up coverages, blitz occasionally (but not often), and just in general try not to be too predictable. Beyond that, it's just about execution. And while out-executing Brady is still not easy, it gets a little less difficult each year.

15
by SandyRiver :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 10:42am

"The defense was horrid (think that was the year McCourty and Ras-I Dowling were our starting corners), "

That was McCourty's rookie season, when he made the pro bowl, probably due to his 7 picks. Then the league found him out - he was lousy in 2011 and became a good safety thereafter. (No argument on Dowling.)

#14: Gretzky? Or is the NHL not on your "major sports" list?

16
by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:25am

The league didn't "find him out", NE switched from primarily zone to primarily man-to-man, which played against Devin's strengths. Even then, he played terribly for the first month or so but was actually pretty good for the last 2/3 of the season. He was the best CB on the team by a healthy margin and likely would have developed into a decent man corner. But he was so good so quickly at safety that it was easiest to just keep him there.

17
by MC2 :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 11:49am

I didn't consider Gretzky (or Gordie Howe) for two reasons. First, they're Canadian, and I was operating under the assumption that the discussion was limited to American male athletes (which is why I added the caveat for Williams). Second, while hockey is definitely a "major sport" in some parts of the country, it's definitely not in other parts. I would characterize it as regional, rather than national. Same goes for NASCAR, which is why I didn't consider Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt.

19
by SandyRiver :: Mon, 01/29/2018 - 1:12pm

Well-reasoned responses like this, and #16, are one important reason why I like this site.

21
by dryheat :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 8:38am

"American". Otherwise Gretzky and Federer are shoo-ins. I was trying to think about two other internationals, but I'm not a big enough fan of international soccer to distinguish between a hundred years of spectacular players (Pele vs. Messi???) or qualified in such sports as rugby or cricket to know if there's a historically dominant player, or who he is.

22
by aga :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:03am

more or less:
if you want to talk about international sport GOATs... by default anyone playing baseball, american football or any form of hockey (ice hockey included) is disqualified - those sports are more or less irrelevant in the global scale (with ice hockey being the biggest of these)...
your choices will be someone from something like european football/soccer, athlethics, tennis... and maybe, but only maybe, swimming, cycling or volleyball... i am sure i forgotten some of the big sports which i am not familiar with (rugby, cricket? no idea how big they are)... basketball, handball would be questionable, i guess...
anything else is irrelevant (the way phelps was disqualified from the US ranking in one of the posts before)

23
by Eddo :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:34am

Don't dismiss basketball - it's immensely popular globally, even if the US has a disproportionate share of the greatest players. Either Jordan or LeBron would need to be on the international Mount Rushmore.

24
by Eddo :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:38am

For sure some choices are:

Federer
one of Pele/Maradona/Messi

Then you're looking at:
Usain Bolt
Muhammad Ali
Jordan or LeBron

25
by Yu Narukami :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 5:15pm

You might want to consider Eddy Merck (cycling).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Eddy_Merckx

He won all of the 3 Grand Tours plus all of the 5 Monument Races. Those two separate things are quite a feat (6 did the Triple Crown of Grand Tours, 3 did the Career Slam of Monument Races, only Merckk got them all), having done both is something extraordinary. Plus many other minor races.

26
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:02pm

Don Bradman is the GOAT of cricket. His test batting average was 99.94, the next closest person is in the low 60s. It's a Jerry Rice-like statistical domination. Which of course reminds that Rice is the WR GOAT by far.

Edit: interesting little bit of statistical work in this part of Bradman's wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Bradman#World_sport_context

Puts him above Pele, Ty Cobb, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan for standard deviations above respective sports scoring means.

30
by MC2 :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:48pm

It's a Jerry Rice-like statistical domination. Which of course reminds that Rice is the WR GOAT by far.

I agree with the argument above that football is too much of a team sport for a "sports Rushmore" to include anyone from the NFL. But if I were going to choose someone from the NFL, it would be Rice, rather than any QB. As I mentioned much earlier in the thread, there is still a legitimate debate to be had over who is the GOAT among QBs, and at most other important positions. However, no such debate exists for WRs.

33
by Anon Ymous :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:05am

Out of curiosity, who is/are the other possible QB GOAT(s) and what is the argument for them?

34
by dryheat :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:20am

You really couldn't make, or even entertain, an argument for Otto Graham, John Unitas, Joe Montana, or Peyton Manning as the greatest QB all-time?

37
by Anon Ymous :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:45am

I didn't say I couldn't, I was asking MC2 for his opinion.

38
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 3:05pm

Peyton Manning: better regular season production, was able to match success with two different franchises, many head coaches, worse running game and OL.

Johnny Unitas: Incredible performance when adjusted for era; did most of the things Manning did as well.

It's becoming harder, sure. I'm obviously biased towards 18, but I think even stripped of all bias a debate could be entertained, unless you think the shininess of playoff W-L and ringz overwhelms the rest.

40
by theslothook :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:00pm

Apologies for the length of this post

To me - the list of goat candidates by the media seems to be: Brady(starting to form a consensus), Montana. Then theres a non trivial gap before some people think hard about Elway, Manning, Starr, Unitas.

Among hardcore serious fans, I think the list is - Manning, Brady, and Montana. Then a gap and a list of Elway, Marino, Unitas, Tarkenton, etc

For me personally - I think its between Brady and Manning if we combine peak and longevity - the latter factor is what really separates those two. While we can argue if Rodgers at his best hasn't been better than either of them - the fact is he gets hurt and the other two basically never do and they played for an insanely long time and were insanely effective.

Which is why those two keep getting debated. I've talked about this with other pats fans and other fans in general. I admit, I am an 18 fan so I am biased, but I've tried to remain unbiased as much as I could. For instance - Reggie Wayne is my second favorite player ever, but even I don't think hes really a hall of fame level receiver even if I would love to see him get in.

One of my close friends who is a Patriots fan asked me - what else does Brady need to do to convince you he is the goat? If he wins three more titles, would that do it?

I thought hard about this and here's the real reason I still think if I were starting a team from scratch, I would pick Manning. Brady has Belichick and its a simple fact that we can't be sure how much of the success is divided between the two. Whereas we have seen Manning be effective despite turnover at head coach and even team. Is that coincidence? Maybe, but I feel more certain that Manning is more responsible for his numbers than Brady is for his.

None of that is to suggest I think Brady is a system player or anything

So to answer my friend's question - he would need to go to another team and replicate his success there. Its a crazy ridiculous standard, but that's how I feel.

41
by Anon Ymous :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:57pm

None of that is to suggest I think Brady is a system player or anything

Of course, but when parsing between greats you have to nit pick.

I agree that Brady has a significant advantage over Manning from a coaching perspective. I'm not convinced the stat advantages are due to more than dome inflation and roster management more focused on weaponry, but coaching is a feather in Manning's cap that will never be taken away. And, frankly, it's there regardless of whichever QB he's being compared to since they typically are paired with all-time great coaches. The only guy I could imagine muscling the feather away from Peyton is Rodgers, since my opinion of McCarthy is pretty low.

43
by MC2 :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 1:10am

Well, since you asked: I think the first thing you have to do when trying to determine the GOAT QB is to decide how much emphasis to place on stats vs. wins. Personally, I place more value on stats, but I place the most value on combining the two. By that I mean, when a QB wins a game, but puts up bad stats, that doesn't impress me much at all. When a QB loses a game, but puts up good stats, that only impresses me a little. But when a QB wins a game and puts up good stats, that impresses me a lot. To me, this part is non-negotiable. That's why I tend to pretty much ignore arguments that start with, "Who cares about stats? Count the rings!!!" -- which is basically the argument made by most talking heads, e.g. "Well, now that Brady has 5 rings, that ends the debate. He's obviously the GOAT. Case closed!!!" That kind of argument is just a total non-starter to me.

Now, the other big question, and one that I think is much more debatable, is how to balance regular season vs. postseason (again, incorporating both stats and wins). The regular season offers a much larger sample size, but on the other hand, each postseason game is much more important in terms of getting you closer to a championship, so how to balance those two factors? I think there are basically three possible approaches, each of which could easily be considered valid.

The first approach is to just count each game equally, which results in a lot more weight going to the regular season, since even the QBs with the most team success have played a lot more regular season games (Brady, for example, has played seven times as many regular season games as postseason games, and most of the other GOAT candidates have even higher ratios -- Marino has almost the same number of regular season games as Brady, but exactly half as many postseason games). Using this method, I would rank Marino as the GOAT. His postseason performance was nothing special, but his regular season numbers are staggering, especially in the context of his era. Fouts was the only QB of that era whose numbers were even in the same stratosphere as Marino, but Fouts had HOF-caliber receivers and an offensive genius for a coach. Marino, on the other hand, had fairly ordinary receivers, and while Shula was a great coach, he had always been more of a run-first guy. But Marino still put up significantly better numbers than Fouts, and he won more often than he gets credit for, averaging approximately 10 wins a year, despite being saddled with some of the worst defenses in history. So, if the regular season is what really counts, then Dan's the Man.

The second approach is to try to give approximately equal weight. For example, since there are 16 regular season games, but a maximum of 4 postseason games each year, perhaps count each postseason game as four times more important than each regular season game. This would still give a bit more weight to the regular season, but it would be much closer. Using this method, I would rank Manning as the GOAT. Yes, Brady would have a clear edge in the postseason, but I think Manning has an even bigger edge in the regular season. The reason is that they both won a lot of regular season games throughout their careers (with the exception of a couple of years very early in Manning's career), but Brady didn't really start to put up eye-popping stats until about 10 years ago. For the first few years of his career, Brady had the wins, but not the stats, whereas Manning pretty much always had both. So, if you weigh regular season and postseason about equally, Brady was better in the postseason, but Manning was "more better" in the regular season, which means Manning is the Man.

The final approach is to give more weight to the postseason than to the regular season. For example, you could count each postseason game as being 16 times as important as each regular season game, essentially counting each postseason game as a season unto itself. I think this criteria is actually what most casual fans and talking heads have in mind when they call Brady the GOAT, but I would argue that under this criteria, the actual GOAT would be Montana. Yes, Brady has 5 rings to Montana's 4, but Montana never lost a Super Bowl, and 3 out of his 4 wins were decisive (the first one isn't as close as the score would indicate, due to a garbage time TD). By contrast, even though Brady's 2 SB losses were both very close, so were 4 of his 5 wins (again, one was not as close as the score would indicate). In fact, with a few plays going differently, Brady's 5-2 SB record could easily be 1-6. In that case, I don't think many people would be calling him the GOAT. Meanwhile, when it comes to postseason stats, and especially SB stats, Montana is in a league of his own. It took Brady 6 games to surpass the numbers that Montana put up in 4 games, even though Brady's Super Bowls came in an era that made it much easier to put up huge passing numbers. So, if you think the postseason is where greatness lies, then, as they might say in Jamaica, Montana's the Mon.

In summary, no matter which approach you take (heavy emphasis on regular season, heavy emphasis on postseason, or about equal for both), you can make a pretty strong case that someone else was better than Brady. Of course, Brady would rank pretty high (at least in the top 5, and maybe as high as number 2) with all three criteria, so that no matter how you look at it, he's at least in the conversation, and maybe you couldn't say that about any other QB. So that could be the biggest argument in his favor. But of course, that would require an argument, which was my original point: that it's not some open-and-shut case, as the media often implies.

47
by Anon Ymous :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 9:06am

Thanks for your thoughts. Obviously I think some rebuttals could be made, but an argument wasn't the point of my inquiry. I appreciate the well reasoned response. :)

35
by dryheat :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:24am

I use that same argument to posit that Rice is the greatest football player. The gap from Rice to whomever you think is the #2 WR all-time (which is where the real debate is) is much greater than the corresponding gap at any other position.

That being said, the face on Mount Rushmore should probably be a quarterback. It's about recognition and fame as much as athletic prowess.

39
by theslothook :: Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:29pm

The thing is - How much better are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady over say Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino or Steve young/Aaron Rodgers. I mean, there are probably 6-7 legitimate goat level qbs you can name.

Gun to my head, I'm not really sure Tom Brady and PM are better than peak Aaron Rodgers. I think they are all in the same ballpark save for longevity.

There are some players in the NFL that I do believe are way ahead of their peers. Randy Moss and Jerry Rice were way ahead of even hall of fame level receivers. Ditto for players like Bruce Smith and Reggie White. I think you can say the same for JJ Watt, Lawrence Taylor, Marshall Faulk, and Rob Gronkowski.

If I were doing a true Mount Rushmore for say offense - it would probably exclude qbs and be: Rice, Moss, OJ, Payton, and Jim Brown(was tempted to put someone like Ogden, but even tackles have so many other great one's).

For defense - LT, Smith, White, Lott.

Also for the Goat commentary. I think someone did some stat analysis across all sports and found Babe Ruth and Gretzky to be the most dominant players at their sport of all time.

28
by Cythammer :: Tue, 01/30/2018 - 8:34pm

Not surprised to see that 2001 team near the bottom. I remember reading that Belichick himself said that the 2002 team was actually better, and of course the 2002 was nothing special and didn't even make the playoffs. The fact that that 2001 squad somehow won a SB while multiple excellent later excellent Patriots squads fell short is a great indicator of how random and wacky things can be in a one-and-done playoff format.

Also, this is why to my mind the Patriots dominance didn't really start in 2001 at all, but in 2003. The 2001 team was just one of those teams that got on a lucky run in the playoffs, like the recent Giants SB winners or the 2009 Cardinals. This is in marked difference to years since 2003, during which nearly every NE team has been genuinely excellent. In fact you could probably make a strong argument that literally EVERY Patriots team post-2002 has been better than the team that won that first SB, which is kinda crazy.

44
by eagle97a :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:32am

Oh my and irrational thread in the making. Been ages since I saw one of these...

45
by theslothook :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:49am

So far, nothing I've read has been irrational thread level stuff.

46
by eagle97a :: Thu, 02/01/2018 - 8:48am

People have mellowed down somewhat but you never know sports belief is a strange beast. Sports debates/arguments are on a level with religious and political discussions imo. We'll see how this goes.