Today, The Boston Globe's Steve Silva has posted a look back at the Patriots, asking "which team was your favorite?"
Silva begins with the 1974 team starring Jim Plunkett and works his way to the 2010 incarnation, picking 11 standout teams. One thing that struck me in looking back was how many good players got away from us in the old days: Plunkett, Mike Haynes, Irving Fryar -- just to name a few. I'm by no means an expert on Patriot teams that pre-date me, but I always enjoy looking back.
The Patriots had a 14 year history by the time Silva's first notable team came along in '74, but there's a reason for the lingering sense -- even today -- that we are lately risen from the dustbin. The regional memory of football Patriots in New England goes back to 1960. And most of those teams stunk. The Boston Patriots of 1964 finished 10-3-1 but out of the playoffs. The '63 Pats won the division at 7-6-1 (better than the '10 Seahawks!), beat Buffalo in the Divisional round but lost to Sid Gillman's Chargers in the Championship game. Those teams featured longstanding Patriot greats like Babe Parilli and Gino Cappelletti, but other than those two years the old Pats were the very picture of mediocrity.
We didn't have the New England Patriots until 1971, though.
I was born in 1973. My granddad put a little red football in my crib; I literally cut my teeth on football. But I didn't really become conscious of the game until I was about eight years old or so. Follow me over the jump: let's reminisce together about my favorite Patriot teams.
I invite you to share your memories in the comments.I'll use Silva's list for this; you can see it here. For me this comes down to three teams: 1985, 2004, 2010.
In 1985 the Patriots provided the heretofore quintessential New England Sports Experience for me as a 12-year-old: The 1-2 combination of raised expectations coupled with public humiliation laid me low twice in the space of less than a year. First, the Patriots rose to challenge after challenge on a desperate march through the playoffs, only to run headlong into the incomparable juggernaut that was the 1985 Chicago Bears. Only the "U" has ever had a similar swagger. Then, the 1986 Red Sox. The 1985 team contributed half of the battering that would yield a permanent malaise, indelibly burned into my psychology on the threshold of adolescence.