New England Patriots: 11 Wins and a One-Way Trip Home

Jeremy MasonCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2008


After last years' perfect REGULAR season, expectations for the 2008 season were sky-high for countless Patriot fans worldwide. Despite the loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl and Tom Brady's ailing ankle, the Patriots entered this season heavily favored to repeat as AFC champions and contend for the title.

But just as quickly as it started, their season appeared over when 2-time Super Bowl MVP QB Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury to his knee. The team appeared destined to endure a long ‘08 season shrouded in a dark cloud of mediocrity.

Backup QB Matt Cassel surely lacked the experience and talent necessary to overcome such adversity. Talks of a second consecutive perfect season were silenced and replaced with doubts and predictions of struggles to play .500 ball.

However, Cassel appeared up to the challenge from the start. He quickly exceeded expectations and sparked a glimmer of hope in the hearts of Pat fans. Somehow, the Patriots overcame additional injuries to Laurence Maroney, Adalius Thomas, and several others.  They fought their way to a respectable 10-5 record with week 17 looming.

They knew what they had to do. They entered a tough environment against a long-time rival in conditions more suitable to sail boating. The Bills would have loved nothing more than to spoil the Pats season and avoid their 11th straight loss to New England. Again, the Patriots overcame adversity and blanked the Bills 13-0.

Unfortunately the win didn't guarantee anything. They still needed a loss by hated Miami, or a Baltimore team led by a perennially vaunted defense anchored by pro-bowler Ray Lewis.

 Baltimore took care of business, beating Jacksonville 27-7. Miami also got it done against the Jets 24-17.

Good teams miss the playoffs in all sports every year. Granted New England didn't do enough to get in...this would all be acceptable, if it weren't for the fact that four of the teams that did make the playoffs had worse records.

Philadelphia, Atlanta, Arizona, and San Diego all made the playoffs with ten or fewer wins!!! I believe this is unacceptable. The playoffs are supposed to be about the best teams playing their best football on the biggest stage. The best 12 teams should go to the playoffs, period!

The NFL should seriously consider an alternative method for determining playoff contenders.