Patriots Shouldn’t Try to Win Every Game [OPINION]
While it sure looks like this 2019 Patriots team can flirt with the ages and run another 16-0 season, I found the first time to be an unnecessary distraction. It just mounted pressure on the 2007 Pats team which was born of nothing more than a lofty, luxury goal which ended up being a luxury tax of burden.
Sure, the Pats are 2-0, outscoring their opponents by 76-3 in the first two games. There are still 14 games to go and some look pretty darn tough on paper: home against Kansas City, at Baltimore, at Philadelphia – and you never know about divisional rivals.
It almost looks unfair having the TB12-Antonio Brown pairing. You have to give Brown some space unless you commit three defenders on him, and the space even a good cornerback gives him is typically 4-5 yards, which is enough for Brady to complete in his sleep.
Overcommit to Brown and the best route runner in the game is waiting in Julian Edelman. Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett are also options and if they are all somehow contained, running backs Sony Michel and James White are standing by ready to serve. Oh, and tight end Ben Watson hasn't even stepped onto the field yet.
The defense looks like a record-breaker on paper and so far on the field with an eighth of a season in the books.
The objective is winning the Super Bowl. We’ve all gone through this in New England where the former goal was met, the latter was not, as the Patriots suffered a heartbreaking loss due to a phenomenal effort put forth by the New York Giants defensive line and an odd, once-in-a-lifetime catch by Giants wideout David Tyree.
Tyree ran his route for a risky fourth down play, which the Giants had to have, and battled Patriot safety Rodney Harrison for a lofty, soft-thrown pass, slung by heavily-pressured Giants quarterback Eli Manning. The rest is history.
He came down with the ball with one hand, trapping the ball against his helmet while Harrison prevented his second arm from securing the pass. Somehow, through fate, karma, God, luck, whatever, Tyree prevented the ball from hitting the ground by one inch before the whistle blew and the catch was deemed to be good.
That crazy catch kept the drive alive for the Giants, who then made the very most out of the unlikely opportunity, scoring a touchdown that gave them the lead with little time left for the Patriots to do anything about it.
Point being, Patriot Nation completely shunned the consolation of an undefeated season and saw the loss in the Super Bowl as a shocking disaster. It didn't help that it was a New York team.
I saw every down that year. It was fun to see Brady and Moss breaking records; at 7-0, you begin to look at playoff seeds and where would they be in the mix. But at 11-0 you started to whisper the “what ifs;" at 13-0 you openly predict they'll do it, and by 14-0? It was a clear pressure on the team.
They were really lucky in at least two games. New England should have blown it against Baltimore (ask any Ravens fan). It was 27-24 in Week 13 and the very same Giants came very close to stopping perfection in Foxboro in the last week of the regular season, barely losing 38-35, but the Patriots got their 16-0.
If not for the loud-mouth former Dolphins running back/kick returner Mercury Morris, I couldn’t care less if they fail to secure a “perfect season” and go 19-0. Even though it would be nice to shut his big mouth, he is not a big enough reason.
Pad the records, but the right ones. Hey, if you can do both, I'm for it of course, but I will take the No. 1 seed all day as opposed to it coming with a two-ton rock around your necks.
The Patriots should have a typical gaudy record, whether it be 12-4 or an unlikely 16-0, but I suspect it will fall somewhere in the middle and am glad if so.
As long as they don’t fall to Kansas City in Foxboro, they should secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs and remain at home, giving them a huge advantage.
As we saw, going undefeated requires a lot of things to fall into place on top of having luck on your side.
The Patriots may have their best team ever on the roster right now, but there are some issues to be concerned with.
Brady is 42. His backup is a rookie.
Antonio Brown is a dynamo but is also a keg of dynamite, not including the rape allegations. Josh Gordon is battling addiction and always will.
The starting offensive line is banged up.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski is looking less impressive these days, missing an extra-point and a doable field goal yesterday.
Since it's better to be lucky than good, especially in the Super Bowl, I’ll take a typical Tom Brady record (78 percent wins at 209-60 in the regular season) into the playoffs and leave distractions like protecting the vaunted “goose egg” alone.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@