Despite the Steelers' Success, the Patriots Remain the NFL's Team of the Decade

David KlinglerCorrespondent IJune 29, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 7:  Quarterback #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during their NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 7, 2008 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 17-10. (Photo by Elsa Garrison/Getty Images)

Let me just start by saying I love the Steelers, I really do. But there is simply no denying that the Patriots are the team of this decade, even if Pittsburgh wins the Super Bowl this season.

Another Steelers title would match New England's three, but you still can't convince me that the Steelers were better during this decade.

New England has been to four Super Bowls starting with the 2001 season, including back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. They registered the most wins of any team during this decade, including a perfect regular season in 2007.

If it were not for a fluke catch in Super Bowl XLII by David Tyree, there would be no discussion.

Another thing working against the Steelers in this argument is Pittsburgh's inability to beat the Patriots head-to-head in the playoffs. Twice the Patriots came into Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game and came away with convincing wins.

Maybe if Pittsburgh were to beat New England convincingly in this season's AFC Championship game and go on to back-to-back titles of their own, the Steelers could stake some sort of claim to the title of decade's best.

I know, I know, Steelers' fans will argue about the whole "Spygate" incident and what effect it had on the number of Super Bowl titles the Patriots have won. Some fans will go so far as to say the Patriots flat out cheated and should be disqualified from the team of the decade discussion.

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I'm sorry, I don't necessarily buy into that theory.

Every team tries to gain a competitive edge any way possible, and I'm sure many of them have done things that would push the boundaries of fair play.

The Patriots were caught and punished. Let's move on.

I don't think their legacy should be tarnished. Did everyone forget about the Raiders of the 70's, who were notorious for stretching the rules whenever they could get away with it?

Their legacy was not tarnished, if anything it was enhanced. Those Raider teams from that era are widely recognized as some of the greatest in history, and I don't remember hearing cries for them to relinquish any of their Lombardi trophies.

The Steelers are perennial contenders and could end up winning a few more titles in the next couple of years, but this decade has clearly belonged to the Patriots.

Let's give them their due respect.