16-0: In Search of Perfection

Josh Cohen

For all you football fans out there, we are witnessing history. We’ve all heard our parents rave about the good old days of football, the dominance of the Steel Curtain in the ’70s, the guarantee by Broadway Joe and of course the 1985 Chicago Bears, often called the best team in NFL history. Although the Patriots have won three of the last six Super Bowls, they have never been given their due in the history books.

Until now.

This year’s Patriots are a team that you will tell your children about. The dominating defense, the plethora of offensive weapons and the unstoppable force that is Tom Brady to Randy Moss have led many to question if this is the best team ever. We are without a doubt witnessing history, and I feel comfortable saying this team is the best that I have seen in my lifetime.

In evaluating this season’s Patriots squad, it is obvious that we must start with the QB, Mr. Brady. To say that Brady has had an MVP type start is an understatement. The man is tearing apart every defense in the league. In seven games this season, Brady has led the Pats offense to 279 points, or for the numerically challenged, a tad less than 40 points per game. Not only is this ridiculous, but the lowest scoring output in a game for the Pats so far this season is 34 points! Brady has already thrown for over 2,100 yards and 27 touchdowns. Beyond the fact that Brady is on pace for 62 passing touchdowns, 13 more than the record held by Peyton Manning, Brady is only one touchdown short of his career high for an entire season. I could not believe this at first, but check the books. Previous to this year, Brady’s highest tally for a season is 28 TDs. He has 27 through seven games this season! The man is playing on a level never before seen. If Brady, who has a QB rating of 137.9 and has only thrown two picks this year, is able to lead this team to another Super Bowl, I think he will take his place as one of the top three quarterbacks in the history of the game.

For all the accolades that Tom Brady receives, the reason that this team is scoring at will is the incredible number of offensive weapons that Brady has at his disposal. Never before has free agency allowed a team to improve its receiving core as it has for this team. If we somehow were able to put aside the absurd numbers being put up by Randy Moss (44 rec., 732 yards, 10 TDs), Brady still has Wes Welker, Donte’ Stallworth and Ben Watson to throw the ball to. Welker, the go-to guy for the Dolphins last year, has emerged as the premier slot receiver in the game, on his way to a team leading 47 receptions, 524 yards and five scores through seven contests. Many teams would call Welker their speed guy, but the Pats also have Stallworth, one of the fastest wide receivers in the league, and the third option who for many teams would be the number one. Tack on Watson who is a more- than-serviceable tight end, and Brady is equipped with the best set of skill guys that he has ever been surrounded by. Oh, by the way, we didn’t even mention Laurence Maroney, the second-year stud halfback who has been limited in the last four games due to injury.

On the other side of the ball, the Pats’ defense has been playing inspired ball, having only given up 20 or more points twice. Asante Samuel, Tedy Bruschi and newcomer Adalius Thomas lead a team that is fourth in the league in yards per game and second in turnover differential at +8. Junior Seau seems to be getting younger everyday, having already collected three picks, and Mike Vrabel anchors the strong linebacking crew. Keep in mind that the Pats are doing all this without Richard Seymour, who has been out all year due to injury, and juicehead Rodney Harrison, who missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension.

Finally, none of this is possible without the subtle genius of Bill Belichick. The guy looks more like a bum in his grey sweatshirt than a strategy guru, but he develops successful game plans week in and week out. Even after the early season video scandal, Belichick kept his team focused and they have never looked back. This is the year that will solidify Belichick’s place in history. If the Pats keep this up, they will win their fourth Super Bowl in seven years, a feat only matched by the Terry Bradshaw-led Steelers in the ’70s. This team is the most dominant I have ever seen. And when it is all said and done, the 2007 Pats may go down as the best ever.