Of course everyone remembers the last game played at Foxboro Stadium. That was the beginning of the Patriots dynasty. The Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years, but it really should've been more like five Super Bowls in eight seasons.
2001 was a miracle. A 5-11 team in 2000 that lost its franchise quarterback two games into the 2001 season left the Pats all but done. All fingers pointed to backup QB Tom Brady. Brady would lead the Pats to a Super Bowl XXXVI win over the St. Louis Rams.
A Super Bowl hangover year in 2002 left the Patriots out of the playoffs after a disappointing 9-7 season. The Pats would bring in hard-hitting free safety Rodney Harrison during the offseason, as well as a slew of draft picks including Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Dan Koppen, Bethel Johnson, and Tully Banta-Cain.
By the bye week in 2003 and 2004, it was very clear that the Patriots would win the Super Bowl. Adam Vinetari had another game winning kick in 2003 over the pesky Carolina Panthers, and in 2004 the Patriots acquired superstar halfback Corey Dillon from the Cincinnati Bengals, and it became clear who the best of the best was. The Pats did their best to hold off Terrell Owens to make it back-to-back Super Bowls and their third in four seasons.
The 2005 season wasn't one to remember for the Patriots. They finished 10-6 and lost in the divisional round to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos simply had the Patriots' number, beating them twice in one year.
The Patriots lost the 2006 AFC Championship game to the Indianapolis Colts, which was a team that they had owned almost the entire decade. The Patriots finished the regular season 12-4. In the playoffs they ran past the pretending Jets in the wild card round. The Pats were losing by four going into halftime in the divisional round of the playoffs when Tom Brady fueled a comeback, and the Pats were headed to Indy for the AFC Championship game.
In the 2006 AFC Championship game (played in 2007), the New England Patriots came out looking like they were on their way to a fourth Super Bowl in six years (I cannot possibly imagine the Bears beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLI). The Pats took a 21-6 lead into halftime in Indianapolis. The Patriots would be outscored 32-13 in the second half and lose to the Colts. Brady's game-saving drive just wasn't there.
The Patriots should've won this game. Had they beat the Colts, they would have made it their fourth Super Bowl in six years: XXXVI (2001), XXXVIII (2003), XXXIX (2004), XLI (2006).
Everyone remembers the record-setting season of 2007. It was just too good to be true. Randy Moss and Tom Brady were simply unstoppable. After this season, watching football/the Patriots was never the same. The expectations this team set for the future will never be touched. They teased us all season with their 50 point blowouts and their dominance in the postseason, and then it ended abruptly and painfully. Super Bowl XLII was the worst experience as a sport fan I ever had. I never felt worse after watching a game. Bottom line is that the Patriots too should've won this one too, making it their fifth Super Bowl in seven years.
2008 was a great experience for me as a Patriots fan. I realized how lucky I was to have been a Patriots fan. Watching Matt Cassel for a year was something I will not forget, and even though they didn't make the playoffs, they still won eleven games, which brings up another theory of mine that I will not go any further on.
So, wouldn't it be nice for the Pats to win the Super Bowl this year? Earn a win the old fashioned way? Get back to blue collar football?
If the Patriots were to win the Super Bowl this season, for me it would be tied for the my most memorable Patriot Super Bowl with 2001.
Something to think about before tomorrow's game: The Patriots have won 78 percent of games played at the Razor, and they are a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs. If they win, they will play the Chargers, who they've owned in the playoffs (wins in '06 and '07), and they will either play the Colts or Jets in the AFC Championship game. For now we will say the Colts because the Patriots will not lose to the Jets in the playoffs at Gillette.
A Pats victory over the Colts would be the second sweetest thing to winning the Super Bowl. Just to put the fourth down try behind them and the sour memory the Colts left the Patriots the last time they met in the playoffs and in the regular season. The Patriots haven't beaten the Colts since 2007.
In conclusion, the Patriots should be five time Super Bowl Champs: XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLI, XLII.
XLIV just to make up for what happened?