There isn’t much debate on what NFL franchise was the most dominate over the first decade of this millennium.
Sorry Colts fans, your lone Super Bowl Title doesn’t cut the mustard.
Pittsburgh, you had a shot. However, missing the playoffs after your ’05 and ’08 titles cost you in the end.
Philly, if there was an award for losing the most NFC championship games you would have it locked up.
That leaves us with the obvious choice, the New England Patriots.
The team everyone hates and roots against.
The Patriots are despised for their success.
They are now the NY Yankees of football.
Let me throw some staggering number and stats at you.
In the last 10 years (2000-2009), New England has had only one losing season. That season being 2000, Bill Belichick’s first year at the helm.
The Patriots have had eight double digit win seasons with the exceptions being in 2000(5-11) and 2002(9-7).
They are the only team to have an undefeated 16-game regular season.
New England has captured seven AFC East titles.
The Patriots have played in five AFC championships this decade, winning four.
And the lone factor that trumps all the others when determining a dominate franchise, championships.
New England has won three Vince Lombardi trophies and was within an Eli Manning scramble and David Tyree catch from their fourth.
They are first team since the ’98-’99 Denver Broncos to win back to back titles.
New England won three championships in four years. The last team to accomplish this feat was the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990’s.
I could end my defense right here but there is more to justify the Patriots being dubbed the team of the decade.
The Patriots have the best quarterback and head coach in the league.
Tom Brady has three Rings. Big Ben has two and Mr. Manning has one.
Take your touchdown passes, completion percentage, and passing yards and throw them out the window.
League MVP’s? The only MVP that matters is the one presented at the ending of that game played in February.
Tom Brady has two of those by the way.
Regular season wins? Impressive stat, but the win-loss record that matters most is in the playoffs.
Tom Brady is 14-3.
Ben Roethlisberger is 8-2 and Peyton Manning brings up the rear with a 7-8 playoff record.
To be the best team of the decade, you need to have the best quarterback.
Now you need the best head coach and the Patriots have him.
His name is Bill Belichick.
Belichick learned a lot from his failure in Cleveland and that turbulent time is a very distant memory.
The numbers say it all.
His regular season record is 116-45 for a .720 winning percentage.
Ok Spygate conspiracy theorists, I can hear your fingers typing the word “cheaters” already.
Even if Belichick did cheat, his team still had to execute and the opposition still had to stop him.
The Patriots executed and no one could stop them.
We can put that argument to bed, FINALLY.
Belichick’s greatest coaching job was in the 2008 season. He made Matt Cassel who was a lifetime pine rider into a bona fide NFL quarterback.
Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record after Tom Brady went down with a season ending knee injury in the first quarter of the opening game.
The Patriots didn’t make the playoffs but what an incredible coaching performance.
How many NFL teams would implode if their starting quaterback went down?
The Colts and Steelers wouldn’t be able to crack .500.
The 2009 season has shown that Belichick had chinks in his armor, however.
You had 4th and 2 in Indy. You had Welker’s injury in Houston when some thought he should have been rested.
Bill has taken a lot of heat but he led a team with a rebuilt defense to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth.
This guy just does it with smoke and mirrors.
Brady and Belichick are the most impactful duo since Batman and Robin.
These two men are the brains and soul of the first dominate team of the millennium.
The Patriots of the 2000’s could even be considered the best dynasty in NFL history. They achieved all this success in the free agency era when the cores of teams seldom stay together.
I feel I have justified my choice of the New England Patriots at the best team of the 2000’s and of the millennium thus far.
Feel free to comment if you want to make an argument for another franchise.