The New England Patriots just wrapped up another remarkable regular season, posting a league-best 14-2 record and doing so despite having quarterback Tom Brady suspended for their first four games. Brady’s had a great year as well, completing 67.4 per cent of his passes (the highest single-season in his career) and throwing for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns with just two interceptions.
Just two years ago, though, the Patriots started the season 1-1, then eked out an ugly 16-9 Sept. 21 home win over the Raiders before being clobbered 41-14 Sept. 29 by Kansas City on Monday Night Football. Brady played particularly poorly in both games, and that led to a whole lot of people assuming the then-37-year-old Brady and the Patriots’ dynasty were both done. First, some takes from before the Patriots-Chiefs game:
That loss to the Chiefs really opened up the hot take floodgates, especially the day after the game. Let’s start with the Boston media:
How about some national media members, media from other cities, and prominent bloggers?
The whole dynasty was really at an end:
And the hot takes continued all week:
The best one might have been ESPN’s Trent Dilfer declaring that “they’re not good any more”:
Of course, the Patriots quickly righted the ship following that loss to the Chiefs. They beat Cincinnati 43-17 the next week, the first of seven wins in a row, finished the regular season 12-4 and went on to win the Super Bowl. They then went 12-4 again last year and won a playoff game before falling to Denver in the AFC championship, and their 14-2 season has them in excellent position again this year.
Sure, there are questions about how long the 39-year-old Brady can play at this level, and about if New England will be able to sustain their success once Brady decides to hang up his cleats. Still, those who wrote this team and its quarterback off based on a couple of poor 2014 regular-season performances look pretty silly now. Judging a great team by a small sample size might not be the world’s best idea. As these takes show, you might not want to bury the Patriots until they’re actually dead.