On Friday night the NFL will continue their 100 Greatest series, with this edition naming the top 30 greatest teams of all time. The Patriots have already been featured prominently in the first 70 teams named, including the 2018 team coming in at #79, the 2001 team at #51, the 2014 team at #46 and the 2003 team at #32.
This still leaves a few Patriots teams that should appear in the finale. No matter where they stack up, there’s still a great debate of which Patriots team has been the best. With six Super Bowls titles and a few other very good teams that fell just short, there are plenty of options to choose from, especially if you don’t agree with how the four of the six championship teams were already ranked.
This week’s Samsonite Make Your Case question is…
What is the greatest Patriots team of all time?
Paul Perillo says …
One of the minor drawbacks of having six titles and 11 Super Bowl appearances is trying to figure out which team is best. I know it … we all have our issues to deal with!!!
But when given the task of choosing which Patriots team is the best, I have to go with the 2004 team. In my mind, that club had the best all-around balance of any in franchise history.
The 2004 Patriots boasted the dominant running of Corey Dillon, who set the franchise mark with 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns, as well as a young and in his prime Tom Brady. The defense was equally stout against the run and pass with several star playmakers such as Richard Seymour, Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Ty Law before he was injured. Youngsters such as Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel were also emerging to help create one of the best defenses in team history.
After a 14-2 regular season, New England first shut down Peyton Manning’s Colts, 20-3, in the division round and then travelled to take down 15-1 Pittsburgh in the AFC title game, 41-27. These two games showed just how versatile the 2004 team was. Regardless of style, opponent or venue, the Patriots had the answers.
There have been many teams worthy of consideration but the 2004 version was best.
Mike Dussault says…
Try to remember how you felt after Randy Moss scored a touchdown in Super Bowl 42 with 2:45 left that put the Patriots up 14-10. The perfect season was just two short minutes away and the 2007 Patriots would take their place as the greatest team in the history of the game.
They hadn’t lost a game yet, how could we possibly expect anything else? Would Eli Manning of all quarterbacks march the Giants down the field for a touchdown? Against this veteran defense that had closed out so many big games before? Never.
But then the unthinkable happened. A game-saving conversion on 4th-and-1, historic miracle pass on 3rd down that went 32 yards, a 12-yard completion on third-and-11, and then, with just 39 seconds left, a game-winning touchdown pass that gave the Giants the final score of the game.
What does that one drive mean in the context of a team that had won their first 18 games of the season? That had throttled team after team early in the season and managed to close out the first 16-0 regular season in a slugfest with those same Giants? That drive can’t take away what the 2007 Patriots did to the NFL and things were never the same for the team or the league again.
No, the 2007 Patriots did not win the Super Bowl, but they were the best Patriots team ever. One drive can’t change that. It literally took a miracle catch to beat them.