New England Patriots: 3 Reasons Their Dynasty Has Come to an End

David A. Cucchiara@@cucch22Correspondent IOctober 15, 2012

New England Patriots: 3 Reasons Their Dynasty Has Come to an End

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    Everyone remembers the New England Patriots' historic run at the turn of the century.

    For the last 10 years, the Patriots have established themselves as a dynasty, a title rarely given out by fans and writers throughout history.

    The 1927 Yankees are quite possibly the most famous dynasty in history. The team won eight World Series from 1927 to 1941 and had a lineup that included Babe Ruth, Tony Lazzeri and Lou Gehrig. They were deemed “Murderers' Row” by opposing pitchers.

    The most exciting yet dangerous team in NHL history was the Montreal Canadiens of the ‘50s. From 1950 to 1960 the Canadiens had a ridiculous 10 finals appearances, of which they won six.

    The Miami Dolphins in the ‘70s were a team to be reckoned with. Their dynasty included seven playoff appearances in 10 years, the only fully undefeated season in 1972 and two Super Bowls.

    Don’t get me wrong, this New England franchise enjoyed its glory days, but in order to continue being deemed a dynasty, playoff appearances are not enough.

    Here are three reasons the New England Patriots are no longer a dynasty.

Seven Years without a Championship

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    The New England Patriots have been a very good football team for the last seven years.

    They’ve won six AFC East division titles, two AFC championships and had two Super Bowl appearances.

    But without winning a Super Bowl in seven years, the Patriots dynasty has come to an end.

    Two other teams, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, were able to capitalize in the last seven years on their two Super Bowl appearances.

    The Steelers had a dominating win against the Seahawks in 2006, as well as a four-point victory against the Cardinals in 2009.

    The Giants are the most prominent team to blame for the collapse of the Patriots dynasty.

    In 2008, history was made when the Wild Card-qualifying Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

    The best season in the history of the Patriots franchise ended in dismay.

    The Giants, this time division champions, would knock off the Patriots in their only other recent Super Bowl appearance last season.

    In the last seven years, the Giants have made the playoffs five times compared to the Patriots' six and have obviously been more successful in postseason play.

    The Patriots have a long tradition of winning. In fact, their last 11 seasons they finished well above .500. A division title or even conference championship is simply coming up short of their primary goal.

This Season

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    Even though the Patriots rank in the Top 10 in passing, rushing and rush defense in the league, their record doesn’t show it.

    The 2012 Patriots have been plagued with being unable to close games.

    Their victories against the struggling Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos were decisive. The average margin of victory in those wins was an impressive 18 points.

    The margin of victories in losses: 1.3.

    The Patriots' failure to close out games has been detrimental to their success this season.

    In their game against the Cardinals in Week 2, Brady led the Pats down the field for 82 yards in a little over three minutes for a touchdown but was unable to convert the two-point conversion to tie the game.

    The following week, New England had a back-and-forth affair with the Baltimore Ravens. After a late third-quarter field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, the Pats went into the fourth with a nine-point lead.

    Joe Flacco and his no-huddle offense would lead two drives down the field for a touchdown and a field goal to seal the one-point victory.

    During Sunday’s game against Seattle, New England allowed another game-winning drive, this time from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

    Whether it’s offense, defense or the ability to be clutch late in games, dynasties are defined by dominance in all facets of the game.

The Division

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    For the last decade the AFC East has been one of the weaker divisions in the NFL with the Patriots leading the way.

    Others teams in the AFC East have had their moments, including the 2008 Miami Dolphins and the 2010 New York Jets, but New England owns this division.

    This year, however, the tides are beginning to shift. All four teams in the division share a 3-3 record and have failed to make any noise in the 2012 season.

    No longer are the Patriots the leaders of the AFC East as the division is now up for grabs.

    The Dolphins have made a splash this season going 3-2 in their last five games including a win over a talented Cincinnati Bengals team. They were projected to be simply “searching for mediocrity” this season, said Around The League editor Gregg Rosenthal.

    The Jets have been getting a lot of unnecessary publicity lately for their struggles at the quarterback position. Analysts and fans have overlooked the fact that their three losses come against the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and the undefeated Houston Texans.

    The Jets play New England next week.

    The days of the Patriots rolling over the AFC East are over, and their dynasty in need of resurrecting.