It's snowing once again in New York City, this time accompanied by a blinding wind that kicks ice shards up into your face at a moment's notice, and I'm slowly starting to understand where Jack Torrance was coming from. I've officially had enough of this winter, and this NFL offseason, and it's only mid-February.
On the plus side, today seems like as good a day as any to begin my countdown of The Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2013. Last year, I spent the offseason counting down what I thought were the Top 20 most memorable Patriots moments of 2012, and for the most part, you all seemed to enjoy it. So I'm back again this year to help us all relive the highs, the lows, and everything else that helped make this season what it was.
Unlike last year, which ultimately made for a pretty straightforward list, 2013 represented one of the craziest Patriots seasons that I can remember. Because of that, I had a pretty tough time condensing this past year down into 20 individual snapshots. Even harder than that was ranking them all in order of significance. There were certainly a few obvious choices in there, but more often than not I really struggled with what should go where, what belonged on the list and what belonged off, and how to best encapsulate the overall feel of the season as a whole. Hopefully this year's list will be a little more controversial than last year's and will spark some enjoyable debate.
Over the coming weeks and months, I'll be breaking down 20 of the most memorable moments - the good, the bad, and the ugly - that comprised the 2013 New England Patriots season. Starting next week, we'll begin the countdown with number 20. But before we do that, though, I thought it might be fun to take one last look at the 2012 list so we can see just how different this season was as compared to last one. If you would like to revisit any of the accompanying articles, just click on the link in the corresponding number.
#20. The surprise everyone, sign .
#19. The move up in the draft, select and in the first round.
#18. comes up with a huge 3rd down sack on , holding the to a field goal.
#17. picks off in the end zone to seal the game vs. the .
#16. A diving catch in the end zone shows off athleticism as well as his pearly whites.
#15. ’ forced fumble of to seal the game against the #14. New England engineers an 7-plus minute drive to close out the Dolphins and clinch the AFC East.
#13. Baltimore Beats New England 31-30 in a disastrous weekend of replacement reffing.
#12. Julian Edelman's electric punt return TD against the .
#11. New England's 28 point comeback against the .
#10. forces a fumble to seal the game against the in overtime.
#9. Dual 100 yard days for Ridley and Bolden, dual 100 yard days for Welker and Gronk against the Buffalo Bills.
#8. playaction pass to Brandon Lloyd against the , the rout is on.
# 7. A fumble becomes a Brandon Lloyd touchdown, courtesy of
# 6. ’s over-the-shoulder touchdown catch against the Texans to ice the game in the playoffs.
# 5. pick six in his Patriots debut.
#4. Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower team up for a strip sack/fumble return for a touchdown in the season opener against the .
# 3. Three Patriots touchdowns in 52 seconds against the on Thanksgiving night.
# 2. "changing of the guard" spike against the in London, England.
#1. The Buttfumble
And for the record: yes. I did seriously consider ranking The Buttfumble as my number one moment of 2013 as well. Ultimately, though, I just couldn't pull the trigger.