This is just my feeling on the 2015 season and I don't expect anyone else to feel the same way.
I'm disappointed with the finish for the Patriots. They started out 10-0, and then they limped towards the playoffs and lost homefield advantage. They had a great game against the Chiefs in the divisional round, but threw up a bad game plan on offense against the Broncos.
This was a team that could have reached the Super Bowl and could have competed. This was a team that was the best team in the conference for the majority of the season. Anything less than reaching the Super Bowl should be considered a disappointment.
But this was also a team that overcame adversity off the field against one of the stupidest power trips in sports history, and then maneuvered through some of most ridiculous stretches of injury I've ever seen.
I went to bed, woke up, and I don't feel too bad about this season. I'm shrugging it off like Tom Brady avoiding pressure. It was a good year.
I have a few ideas as to why I feel this way, and I think the root is the fact that Tom Brady won his 4th Super Bowl last season. He did it. He's the greatest quarterback of all time. He reached his 10th conference championship and the Patriots will be back again next season. Winning another Super Bowl would certainly help his legacy, but it's like Michael Jordan missing a shot while he was on the Wizards.
It didn't matter. He's already the greatest.
The Patriots won the 2014 Super Bowl and the weight of 18-1 and a decade-long hair pulling of playoff failures vanished. Anything after 2014, for me, is gravy.
New England's offense gave us the joys of Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski, and the defense stood up and proved wrong all of their doubters. This is a young team. Tom Brady, Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich, and Alan Branch will be 30 or older. Every other important starter or role player is in their prime. This team is going to compete again next season.
The Patriots' most important free agent is possibly defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who was acquired midseason from the Saints in exchange for the teams 4th string tight end. This band will be back together next season and the team can focus their energy this offseason to fix the obvious holes in the roster.
The Patriots will need a running back to complement Dion Lewis out of the backfield. The offensive line could use another quality guard, especially if Shaq Mason is a better fit on the right side. The wide receivers are getting a little up there in age and an infusion of youth would be welcomed.
This team reached the Final Four with the most injuries in the entire league. They lost to a healthier team with a perfect game plan. They'll be back next season and they'll be even better, while their main rivals will age beyond reason (Colts and Jets), or will lose players to free agency (Broncos).
Every season that doesn't end in a Super Bowl is always going to be a disappointment, especially when the coaching decisions played a major role, but this end isn't heartbreaking. It's just the close of another chapter in the greatest story in football.
The next chapter starts today.