Pro Football Teams


New England Patriots:

Two out of three ain't bad

The New England Patriots have been the closest thing to a dynasty the National Football League has seen since the end of the Cowboys run in the ’90s. The Pats have won two of the last three Super Bowls and are favored to win it again this year. The thing that is most endearing about the Patriots is the fact that they play the “right way.” The team doesn’t have any major superstars, and they play together. No one player is bigger or more important than the guy that is lined up next to them and that’s what makes them the lovable team that will sell Patriots tickets and that the fans will embrace that the NFL has needed for so long. They were the ones that started the “trend” of playing as a team and the other sports saw that it worked also (Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Pistons). Most thought the Patriots had played in one of, if not the, greatest Super Bowl of all time in 2001. The Patriots were taking on the “greatest show on turf” the mighty St. Louis Rams. The Rams had erased a 10 point deficit make it all square at 17-17 with 1:30 left in the game and the Patriots had no time outs left. This is when the legend of Tom Brady officially started. Brady completed five passes to get down to the Rams’ 30 yard line to set up the 47 yard attempt for kicker Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri nailed the kick and won the game on the last play for the first time in Super Bowl history. Brady was named the MVP for his clutch performance. The best stat of the night was that the Patriots were out gained by the Rams 427-267 in total yards but the Patriots forced three turnovers that turned into 17 points for them.

Last year was another successful year for the Patriots. They had come off of a Super Bowl hangover in 2002 where they failed to make the playoffs despite being defending champions. The team started the season out 2-2 and everyone basically counted them out and then the team went on to win 12 straight games going into the playoffs. In the playoffs the Pats just squeaked by the Titans 17-14 and dismissed the Colts 24-14 to get another chance to win the Lombardi trophy. This time was different for the Patriots because they weren’t the underdogs anymore. Most people expected the Patriots to handle the Carolina Panthers quite easily and it wasn’t quite as easy as everyone thought it would be. Like veteran boxers neither team took any shots at the end zone opting to feel the other team out. Neither team scored for the first 27 minutes of the game, but in the last three minutes of the first half they combined to score 34 points. The game came down to the last drive again when Brady, with 1:08 left, led his team down the field. Brady went 4 of 5 for 75 yards on the last drive that set up yet another Adam Vinatieri game winning kick while time was running out. Brady won another Super Bowl MVP and got to go to Disneyworld.

In the off-season the Patriots didn’t want to stay as good as they were… they wanted to get better. They made a blockbuster trade for troubled Bengals running back Corey Dillon and only gave up one of their second round picks to obtain him. They did lose a couple of key players like center Damien Woody, guard Mike Compton, and defensive tackle Ted Washington.

In the draft the Patriots only got better than what they already were. They had two first round picks and snatched up two very good college players. With their first pick they selected Miami defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Wilfork is one of the amazing athletes that has tremendous size and incredible speed and agility. Many scouts compare him to a faster Warren Sapp. With their second first round pick they took Georgia tight end Benjamin Watson who ran the fastest 40 yard dash by tight end in the country with a time of 4.44 seconds.

The Patriots offense had been very potent throwing the ball and running when they needed to, but this year the offense should be more balanced with the acquisition of Dillon. There should be no stopping the plethora of offensive weapons of the Patriots this year.

The Pats offense is very good but the Patriots defense is even better. The team finished 7th overall in total defense. The unit is incredibly versatile and even more athletic. They sent three players to the Pro Bowl last year and may be sending more players to Hawaii this year.

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