clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Patriots Super Bowls: Re-Ranking the Rings

New, comments

Looks like it's time to update the ol' Super Bowl rankings.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl, all the way back in 2014, I wrote a piece called "Ranking the Rings" in which I gave what I thought was the order of Patriots SB wins, starting with the least meaningful and ending with the most meaningful. You can read the whole article here, but if you want the CliffNotes version, my rankings were as follows:

4. Super Bowl XXXVIII, February 1, 2004. Patriots 32, Panthers 29

3. Super Bowl XXXIX, February 6, 2005. Patriots 24, Eagles 21.

2. Super Bowl XLIX, February 1, 2015. Patriots 28, Seahawks 24.

1. Super Bowl XXXVI, February 3, 2002. Patriots 20, Rams 17.

I was happy with the results at the time, and I stand by those rankings now...but, just like electronics, these rankings are suddenly out of date and it's time to revisit things. Besides, as I said the last time I made this list:

And just in case anyone on the Patriots is reading this right now: these lists work significantly better as a Top 5. Or better yet, a Top 10. Just throwing it out there...

These lists really do work better as a Top Five, don't they?

With this latest Super Bowl win, I now have to figure out where in the above list I should place SB LI. And just like the last time, it's much easier said than done. I'm pretty confident that the bottom two Super Bowls - the Panthers and the Eagles - can stay right where they are at (now) five and four. I also feel comfortable saying that Super Bowl XLIX, in all its Malcolm Go-iness, is now sitting at number three on this list.

The only real question, therefore, is whether Super Bowl LI should come in at number two, or whether it has done the impossible and usurped New England's first ever Lombardi Trophy and now stands alone as the greatest Super Bowl win ever.

First World Problems at their finest.

You can make a very strong case for both games belonging at the one spot. But what it ultimately comes down to, in my opinion, are two main factors:

  • How long you have been a Patriots fan
  • Which storyline you find most appealing

To those who have been around for the Patriots of the 90s, the 80s, the 70s, and even the 60s, I would imagine that nothing will ever top that first win. To have wallowed in the basement for so long, only to finally get a win after an improbable season and the emergence of the greatest quarterback to ever play the game...nothing could ever really come close to watching that Vinatieri kick split the uprights as time expired.

But if you weren't around for those lean years in New England, either because you weren't that into football at the time or were simply too young to remember a universe in which the Patriots weren't great, this Super Bowl has to be the best one. As great as the 2001 narrative was, the 2016 narrative is absolutely Hollywood-esque, and it was capped off by the greatest game, the greatest comeback, and the greatest player, only to end with Roger Goodell getting booed off the stage as Bob Kraft held the trophy aloft before a still emotional Tom Brady took the Lombardi in both hands and let out a "LET'S GO" that is still echoing off the canyons in Denver. I can't remember ever experiencing a win as satisfying as this latest one, made even more so by how desperately the folks in comment sections all across the web are trying to paint it as a choke job instead of an amazing victory. Deflategate avenged. 18-1 irrelevant. Debate over. Legacy cemented, cast in bronze, and planted into the ground with 12 inch spikes. Nothing more for anyone to say. Brady is the GOAT. Patriots are the best. Just deal with it. Years of defending the wall finally culminates in victory. How can SB XLI not rank as number one?

So what's juicier to you? Finally getting that one after going for 40+ years without one, seeing your dad/mom finally get to celebrate a win, or putting a bunch of nonsense behind you and cementing an already ironclad legacy?

It's a pick your poison situation here for sure. Personally, I'm not a 1 and 1a kind of ranker and believe that there is only one first place, and for me, it's always going to be that first Super Bowl. Nothing is ever going to top that one for me. I'll always remember everything about that game, from where I was sitting to what I was wearing to sobbing on my knees with my face buried in my hands as that kick sailed through. But this one is a close second, and if you want to rank it ahead of SB XXXVI, I certainly won't begrudge you.

So my new rankings are:

5. Super Bowl XXXVIII, February 1, 2004. Patriots 32, Panthers 29

4. Super Bowl XXXIX, February 6, 2005. Patriots 24, Eagles 21.

3. Super Bowl XLIX, February 1, 2015. Patriots 28, Seahawks 24.

2. Super Bowl LI, February 5th, 2017. Patriots 34, Falcons 28.

1. Super Bowl XXXVI, February 3, 2002. Patriots 20, Rams 17.

Man do I love writing articles like this one.