This Patriots team simply was not good enough to win a championship.
The wide receiving corps was sub-standard all season without Julian Edelman, the defense was atrocious for most of the campaign with Dont'a Hightower out, and the secondary was not as good as we all thought it would be at the start of this season.
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The entire team was not as good as we all thought it would be at the start of the season. Remember, this was a team that was getting legit "19-0" buzz all summer - sans hyperbole.
We even made the mistake of running a "19-0" cover in Metro Boston on the day before the season started back in September. It was titled, "The Undefeateds." Super hero theme … predicting an undefeated campaign for the Pats.
So, we jinxed that. The Pats lost opening night to the Chiefs - but as they always do, the Pats eventually rebounded. They gave New England hope once again during the fall and winter that a Super Bowl title was not only a possibility, but also likely.
There were plenty of warning signs over the first five months of the season that this team just didn't have "it," though. The 2017 Pats reminded me of a lot of those mid-2000s Pats teams … definitely in the mix, but relying on Tom Brady just a little too much.
Recall that Brady had to single-handedly beat Deshaun Watson and the Texans in September, the Pats relied on Brady late again to try and beat Carolina the next week but to no avail, and he had to be damn near perfect down the stretch of the AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville.
Too many rabbits being pulled out of hats … yup, too many rabbits even for the GOAT.
Look, Brady's legacy is in place. He remains the GOAT, even though he is now 5-3 in Super Bowl games. The "Joe Montana is the best ever" crowd will continue to point out that Montana was a perfect 4-0 in Super Bowl games, but Brady absolutely deserves credit for getting the Pats so deep into the postseason year-in and year-out to go along with his most wins in the Super Bowl record.
That said, if Brady is to make this thing a blowout - as in no QB ever, on any planet, in any galaxy will ever be able to touch his winning pedigree … then he needs to win one or two more Super Bowls.
The only way that happens? If the Patriots figure out the pieces around him. They need something resembling a defense that Brady had supporting him in the early portion of his career again. They need better receivers, and a better offensive line. They need to be better in free agency, and they need to be better at drafting.
Brady famously once said, "I didn't come this far, to only come this far." And that's the perfect way to sum up his career and legacy right now following last night's Super Bowl loss.