You read the title right. By this point, you probably think I'm a maniac or someone who was just looking to play a practical joke on the site. Honestly, after reading and re-reading and re-re-re-re-re-reading the statement I had written above, I was ready to book myself into a mental institution. So you're right for thinking that. How on Earth could what was supposed to be a perfect season instead culminating with the biggest Super Bowl upset in history not in our favor be the best event that ever took place? Okay, maybe I exaggerated with the title. It really isn't the best thing that ever happened to us. That would have to be a tie between Super Bowls 36, 38, and 39. I honestly can't choose between the holy trine. In actuality, it was the best thing that has happened to us in the past five years. But that end to what had been the greatest regular season run in NFL history stopped us from being corrupt Patriots fans and molded us into the best Patriots fans we could ever be. Alright, enough of the prolonged introduction. You're still thinking of stamping 'insane' right onto my SB Nation profile. So I'll stop leading you guys on and get on with it.
Read why 18-1 (it pains me to say it so just refer to the title of this article) after the jump!I don't know about a lot of you guys, but that very grievous game that until now, I had a hard time naming (Super Bowl XLII, say it with me), that left me in a state where I still to this day sometimes have to go and force myself to read the Wikipedia article for it just to convince myself that this isn't a 3-year nightmare that I can't seemingly get out of and it actually did happen, left me asking "What If?"
What if we had won that Super Bowl? What if Asante Samuel had gotten a lesson on how to catch passes coming right at you before the game and had made that catch? What if that defensive lineman (Wilfork or Warren, my fault for forgetting) hadn't tripped on that fourth down on the Giants game-winning series and had been able to stop Brandon Jacobs from acquiring the first down? What if Eli Manning didn't turn into Michael Vick on "the play," and would have actually gone down or Rodney Harrison could've turn the air-ball into an incompletion? What if Ellis Hobbs hadn't been burned by that inmate who shot himself in the foot and then got jailed for it with about a half a minute remaining in the game? Oh, the torture. We could've been regarded as the greatest team in NFL history. We could've been the only 19-0 team ever if the league goes to an 18-game regular season and therefore making undefeated an even more laborious task at 21-0. We would've been the greatest offense in NFL history as well as the greatest defense in NFL history. We could've basked in our team's glory for decades to come. No one would ever mention Spygate again. But think about that for a second. Is that what you really would've wanted?
Nineteen and oh would've made us corrupt and uncharacteristic Patriot fans. As Patriot fans, we must be humble. I know a lot of us aren't; I admit I'm not the most humble at times. But realize that we as fans should characterize ourselves as our team characterizes itself, and our team is coached by a wise man who once told his players, "When you lose, say little. And when you win, say even less." Everyone, please grab a slice of the Humble Pie; Chez Hoodie is having a discount. Anyway, that victory would've given us the biggest boasting rights in history. We would've felt like we were on top of the world and that our team was unstoppable. Any loss should humble us but I think that losses in later seasons, especially to divisional-rivals, with their fans bragging to us, would have left many of us with a very disrespectful "Who cares? It's only a regular season game. So we lost. Did your team ever go 19-0?" Thinking that we/the team are the best is not only bad for us, but it is bad for our beloved players as well. Everyone needs a wake-up call every now and then. The Browns game this year was a blessing in disguise; it was this season's wake-up call. I sincerely doubt we would be this hot going into the playoffs if we hadn't been blown out by the Browns. That game fueled Brady and Co. They finally took off the disguises they had been wearing and revealed their true selves, holding nothing back. So just as the Browns saved this season for us, and hopefully wrapped up our fourth Super Bowl victory for us, the Giants saved our Patriots fandom from taking a corrupt and undesirable turn.
Why 18-1 was great for us is not just based on the fact that it offered us invaluable humility, for my article is two-fold. It is also based on the fact that we didn't win via "The Patriot Way." That nineteenth consecutive victory would've turned the team into an unrecognizable aberrance from the norm. I feel like that loss helped set up our drastic turnaround back to the right course - "The Patriot Way." What exactly is this "Patriot Way" that I speak of? The way we won three Super Bowls. Sign undervalued and underrated players, sprinkle them with Brady's magic, have Belichick institute his secret coaching formula on them, and then sit back and watch the transformation that takes place. The list of no-names that went through "The Patriot Way" doesn't end. David Patten, David Givens, Reche Caldwell, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and on and on and on. They all won Super Bowls with us except the last few and Reche "No Hands" Caldwell who probably shouldn't have even deserved to be on the list. Nothing went wrong with the "Way" on the Caldwell experiment. He just outright sucked so much that even the "Way" couldn't turn him into an ideal Patriot so we just got rid of him and destroyed the evidence.
The 2007 season was fun, it was exhilarating, it was a wild adventure. Week in and week out, the question around the NFL was, "Is this the week the Patriots are going to be stopped in their tracks from attaining perfection?" Brady in all his excellence finally had a deep-threat receiver who's jumping and diving catches made our collective Patriot fan jaw drop. We had star-studded signings in the offseason like Moss, Donte Stallworth, and Kelley Washington. This all accounted towards a breathtaking season. But that loss was our wake-up call that we had to revert back to the "Patriot Way." If we had won that Super Bowl and hadn't gotten that wake-up call, we would've marched forward with our new style and ended up turning into a wholly different team and organization and this illustrious season wouldn't have ever happened like it did. If we had won that Super Bowl but still gotten that wake-up call and reverted back to the "Way," that 2007 season would've awkwardly stood out as that one year we won the Super Bowl away from tradition. It would've branded that victory with an asterisk so to speak as the one ring we captured while not being the New England Patriots.
You may still think I'm insane and want to express so in the comments section. But only recently did I have this epiphany, which resolved my frequent act of crying myself to sleep over the events that took place on the eve of Feb. 3, 2008 and I thought I'd share it with you guys so I could help some of you out in realizing something that I've come to realize - 18-1 was the best thing that ever happened to us [in the past five years].
Keep scarfing down the humble pie and stay classy my fellow Patriot faithful.