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Two steps forward, one step back, but Patriots persevere

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Pride runs deep.  After so many years of mediocre outings and sitting in Foxboro Stadium watching our New England Patriots struggle year after year, the 2001 season saw the emergence of one of the greatest quarterbacks playing the game.  For the next five seasons, we witnessed our team become a juggernaut of a franchise, always a seat at the table eating prime rib and drinking champagne.  Only one year did they not make the playoffs.  Think about that for a second - one year.  It's almost as if they were making up for all of the tough, lean years when we supported our team as they struggled.  Thank you fans, here's a bunch of playoff trips and three rings to boot.

Then, in 2007, the Patriots essentially carpet bombed the NFL.  NE blasted so many records that it's a bit ridiculous to run through them, not to mention all the player milestones.  Nuts, just nuts.  Unfortunately, they just couldn't put the cherry on top.  Heartbreaking, I know, but the truth hurts.  In preparation for the 2008 season, Belichick and Pioli started an injection of youth into our defense with the acquisition of rookie stars like Jerod Mayo and solid players such as Terrence Wheatley and Shawn Crable.  On offense, the running game was looking incredible with vet LaMont Jordan and rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  I was stoked.  We were getting a running game to complement the aerial assault so powerful in '07.

Kansas City, first game of the year, you gotta be kidding me.  The #1 quarterback in the league goes down.  The backup, who many of us thought would be cut during preseason, went in and got the job done, winning against KC.  Then the rumors started flying - Brady's out for the season.  It was later confirmed and we began the healing process.  Since then, starter after starter has dropped off the roster: onfield defensive coach Rodney Harrison, Adalius Thomas, and Laurence Maroney have gone down.  LaMont Jordan, Sammy Morris, and Ty Warren have all seen extended stays on the sidelines, too.  To add insult to injury, perennial favorite Tedy Bruschi injured his knee and will, most likely, sit out the rest of the season.  Is this the end for Tedy?  Who knows.  Brady's back next year, so maybe he has one more in him.  We can only hope...

Two steps forward, one step back.  Throughout all the injuries to starters, not to mention backups and backups to backups, this team has persevered.  Our New England Patriots are in a three way tie for first place in the AFC East.  It's easy to climb a mountain when you start at the base.  How about starting in the valley at the base of the mountain and now you're pacing with everyone else?  Thank you, Bill.

The haters talk about karma, about payback for Spygate and running up the score (field a damn NFL defense!), and how Hoodie is not a really nice guy who lays a carpet of flowers at the feet of his opposing coaches when the game is over.  Grow Up!!  Or, how we have an easy schedule.  That was before NY and Miami turned into Playahs.  All the injuries and turmoil, yet we're still in the mix.

Have you ever been prouder of your team?