Another amazing season in the books for the New England Patriots. Thank you, boys. Thank you.
Did it end the way we were all hoping? No it most certainly did not. Am I glad to be writing this article right now? Of course I'm not. But was the 2015 Patriots season an absolute blast? It sure was. Am I as proud as ever to be a Patriots fan? That I am. I wouldn't trade this past season for anything, and while I'd be lying if I said I wasn't upset over this loss, I also know that it isn't going to take very long to get over it and I'm positive that going to be right as rain before the week is out. Every football season is so different, so unique, that it's always important to look back on the year when it ends, whenever that is, and take a moment to appreciate the ride. For 31 teams every season, the ultimate goal doesn't get reached; count the Pats among those 31 teams on the outside looking in on 2015, courtesy of the Denver Broncos.
But you know what? That's OK.
Seriously- it is. The Patriots just won the Super Bowl last year. As of this moment, they're still World Champs. Brady has an astonishing four rings. Everything else at this point is just gravy. You aren't going to win it every year and that's just the reality of it. Obviously, it's always tough to wonder what could have been had one more guy been healthy or one less bounce gone the other way, but every almost every team can say that in some way or another. No point dwelling on the could-have-beens. The reality, the here and now, is that the Patriots lost in the AFC Championship to the Denver Broncos and won't have the chance to defend their title. And the reason for that is because the Patriots didn't play as well as the Broncos did. Tom Brady didn't play as well as Peyton Manning did. There are no excuses, no rationalizations, no fingers to point. The better team won the game and that's just the way it is.
And I'm completely fine with that.
I promise you - I am. And you all should be too. The Patriots lost fair and square, to a team with a better game plan and better execution. It's always easier to live with legitimate losses like this, and that goes double for games that were this close and saw such a valiant effort. New England tried to make a game of it in the 2nd half, butI can always live with a legitimate loss. Losing is what makes winning special. Taking your lumps when you're on the wrong side of a victory is what makes the next W so sweet. Contrary to popular belief, an AFC Championship loss doesn't signify an embarrassing disaster of a season that represents Belichick's arrogance catching up to him. That that's even a conversation - Super Bowl or utter failure - tells you all need to know about how spoiled we are as fans.
Congrats, Denver, on an extremely effective gameplan and a well-deserved win. Peyton Manning looked like Manning of old. That defense is no joke. Whoever represents the NFC is going to have their hands full with this team. Go out there and represent our conference well, Broncos. Give it hell out there. I have a funny feeling we'll see you again next year.
Thank you again, New England, congratulations to the Broncos, and Go Patriots. We're on to 2016!
ADDITIONAL EDITOR'S NOTE: The Patriots losing in the playoffs is the best part of the year for a lot of people. Folks just can't get enough of the Patriots losing. Take some joy in that as well, that New England sparks such emotion. We made a lot of peoples' days today with this loss because their teams have been out of it for some time and all they really have to take joy in is to root against the Patriots. I'll be on that side of the equation every day of the week.