It seems like it was just yesterday that I dropped my remote as my jaw hit the floor in reaction to the Patriots’ pickup of Randy Moss.
I couldn't help but laugh as my favorite team proceeded to sign Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth, and Adalius Thomas.
And I watched Chris Berman pick the Pats over a revitalized Eagles team in the Super Bowl.
It seems like it was just yesterday that I heard the unreasonable prediction, 19-0. I remember very well evaluating the Patriots’ schedule preseason and marking all the tough games. I remember thinking that if they could somehow go to Indy and get a win, they could do it—they could plow through the tough schedule and win every game, and then in the playoffs…well, anything was possible.
With each blowout on their way to Indianapolis, they seemed more and more to be the team of destiny, the team finally capable of the perfect 19-0 to shut up those old Dolphin farts of 35 years ago.
They beat the Colts, Ravens, and Eagles in tightly contested games, ever nearing that perfect mark.
And they even found a way to come from behind and beat the NFC’s hottest team, the Giants, and completed the regular season unblemished, 16-0. Just three tough playoff wins from silencing Mercury Morris once and for all.
I remember as they hung 31 on the Jag’s tough defense, and held the explosive Chargers to a measly 12 points. They were an unstoppable force.
Then the Giants finally knocked off Brett Favre’s Packers in overtime, and I thought that it was practically over.
I remember thinking that it was impossible for a Giant’s team led by Eli Manning, having lost to the Patriots just one month prior, to beat the perfect Pats.
But I also remember the game unfolding and finally realizing what was going to happen. The Giants were going to pull it off. I remember watching Eli Manning’s game winning drive, and having flashbacks of his brother’s late game heroics in the AFC Championship barely a year ago.
Looking back, I can’t help but find it funny that with the addition of Pro Bowl-caliber players Moss, Welker, Stallworth, and Thomas the Patriots made it exactly one game closer to their coveted 4th title. At this pace, they only need to pick up Troy Polamolu, Brian Urlacher, Ty Law, and Champ Bailey to solidify themselves as the team to beat.
But, as comical as this is, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Belichick somehow managed to pad his top-5 defense with a few more Pro Bowlers.
Honestly though, even if the Patriots don’t make any offseason moves, they still will be next year’s team to beat. Don’t be surprised if next January they are golden once again.