Picking the best Patriots team of the decade is no easy task. There are three Super Bowl winners and two other teams that fell just short of the title. And even the teams that didn't make it to the Super Bowl were all division winners and just one failed to make the conference championship game. The difference between the best and worst teams of the decade are often separated by individual plays and not much more.
But it's hard not to pick a Super Bowl winner so 2014, 2016 and 2018 are the leading candidates. 2014's team ended a decade-long championship drought and did it in dramatic fashion with a goal-line interception saving the day from what seemed destined to be another heartbreaking loss. 2016's team put together the best comeback in Super Bowl history, while 2018's team had one of the best defensive performances ever seen in the championship game. All the champs had their special moments.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is…
What was the Patriots team of the decade?
Mike Dussault says…
The 2014 Patriots had a decade worth of frustration built up on their backs. After regrouping from a disappointing loss in Green Bay, the Patriots used an extended road trip to play the Chargers to spark an epic playoff run. They overcame two different 14-point deficits to the Ravens and broke out a Brady-to-Edelman-to-Amendola touchdown pass that would become a signature play.
After steamrolling the Colts in the AFC Championship, they got into one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history. Tom Brady led the offense out of a 10-point hole in the fourth quarter and gave New England a four-point lead. That comeback was already impressive enough, but after another miraculous catch, one that gave David Tyree flashbacks, left the Seahawks knocking on the door for the go-ahead score and what seemed like another inevitable Patriots loss. But Malcolm Butler stepped up and made an interception that will forever be one of the biggest plays in NFL history.
The 2014 team had it all, signature plays and wins that will forever be remembered. Add in the decade of falling just short that the 2014 team ended, while setting the stage for another three-trophy run and they were the best team of the decade, defined by the failures that came before them and the continued success that came after them.
Paul Perillo says …
It's amazing to think there are actually a lot of choices for a question like this with three Super Bowl titles plus another five trips to the AFC title game in this decade alone. It's a tough call but I'm going with 2016 and the win over Atlanta as my pick.
That team rolled through the regular season with really just one loss – a 31-24 defeat at home against Seattle. Otherwise the only other blemish came in Week 4 while Tom Brady was finishing up his ridiculous suspension. The Patriots went unbeaten on the road, including wins in tough venues like Pittsburgh, Denver and Miami. They then rolled through the postseason with a pair of convincing wins en route to the Super Bowl.
But it was the performance on the biggest stage that earns this honor. Trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter, the Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history against the Atlanta Falcons. Two touchdowns plus a pair of two-point conversions set the stage for overtime, which seemed like a formality given New England's momentum.
When James White found the end zone to cap it off, the 2016 Patriots earned a spot among the all-time great teams in football – and the greatest of this decade.