COMMENTARY | Is it possible that this season’s New England Patriots are as good as Bill Belichick’s ’07 squad; one of the greatest football teams in NFL history?
From Tom Brady’s toothy grin to Belichick’s gray hoody, the Patriots, who are heading into Cincinnati 4-0, are quietly accumulating enough wins to snatch home field advantage away from Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos – something that is vital if they want to be the AFC representative in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
Brady’s offense isn’t as good as it was in ’07, but “Tom Terrific” is older and wiser, and his arm seems as strong as it was ten years ago. The two-time NFL MVP is hungry after losing the way he did against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game in January. That could be the X-factor that’s driving this entire squad.
The Patriots’ 4-0 record is impressive. They’re winning games with not a lot of talent on the offensive side. They lost a lot of players and they just seem to fill those spots. It’s incredible what Belichick and his coaching staff have accomplished so far this season.
The Aaron Hernandez arrest seems like old news now. Would they be better with him? Yes, but being 4-0 in October has made New England fans forget about their former tight end. And Belichick has handled the Hernandez and injury issues beautifully. If they just host a wild card game in Foxboro, he deserves serious consideration for a fourth NFL Coach of the Year Award
The ’07 Patriots were compared to great teams of the past like the 1985 Chicago Bears, the 1989 San Francisco 49ers, and, of course, the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Watching Randy Moss play the wide receiver position that year was like watching a great artist in total control of all of their skills. He did something that season you normally never see in the NFL – with the exception of Adrian Peterson last season – he set a standard for his position.
The current Patriots don’t have that go-to receiver like Moss, but Brady has been a magician when it comes to spreading the ball around to his young receiving core.
There’s such hatred toward a team that’s a proven winner day in, day out. I call those people Patriot-haters.
Disliking the Patriots is easy. You have Tom Brady, this rich quarterback with movie star looks who’s married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen; that’s enough right there for some fans to loathe the guy.
And then you have Belichick. His demeanor is one of… well, subdued isn’t a strong enough word to describe it. And there’s always the “Spygate” stuff that fans, especially Jets fans, can’t seem to forget.
Belichick’s name will be in the league of Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll and Vince Lombardi. Who knows? In a couple of decades, if Belichick wins one more title, the Super Bowl trophy could be called the Bill Belichick Trophy instead of the Vince Lombardi Trophy? No? It is a stretch.
This season’s Patriots are playing more as an impressive unit than the ’07 team, and sometimes team unity gets you farther than pure talent.
Note: I’ve written pieces for Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Voices for almost two years.