I have been doing these offseason countdowns for five years now. Five years of looking back over the previous season and trying to condense the whole shebang down. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this last season was the toughest. I don't even want to tell you how long I spent trying to pare down the entire 2016 campaign into a measly 20 moments. However, I powered through, I comprised my list, and now there's only one to go.
However, before I get to that magical Number One Most Memorable Patriots Moment of 2016, I thought it only fitting that I took a minute to pay homage to all of those plays and events that didn't quite make the list. My usual process when compiling these countdowns involves me thinking back on the moments that stood out, jotting them all down, and then trying to put them into an order that I think makes the most sense. And while I've been fortunate in that the #1 Moment always seems to make itself very clear right away year in and year out, there's always something of a jumble after moment five or so. And looking back now on the cutting room floor, I found myself saying over and over, "how the hell can you possibly be leaving that off??!!"
So before we get to the #1 Moment of 2016, for the first time ever, I'm going to pay tribute to all of the moments that narrowly missed the cut. You could make a very valid case for any and all of these moments taking the place of anything that actually made the countdown...but the sad reality is not everything can be included.
Here are the moments that just missed out on making the Top 20 list, in no particular order:
- Shea McClellin almost takes a fumble return to the house against the Miami Dolphins
- Michael Floyd gets his first TD by running through the entire Dolphins defense.
- Rookie Malcolm Mitchell records his first 2 TD game – going against Darrelle Revis
- Malcom Brown blows up the Ravens line to force a safety in order to set the tone against Baltimore
- Malcolm Butler gets two picks and a fumble recovery against the Jets
- Martellus Bennett notches 3 TDs against the Browns.
- Chris Hogan reels in a beautiful sideline TD catch against the Rams.
- Devin McCourty picks off Joe Flacco on a deep ball to keep momentum with the Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Malcolm Butler punches the ball out of Robby Anderson's hands to force a fumble after giving up a completion against the New York Jets.
- Danny Amendola opens up the third quarter with a huge kick return against the Bills.
- Tom Brady hits Amendola for a touchdown while falling to the ground against the 49ers.
- Jimmy Garoppolo comes out gangbusters in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins.
- LeGarrette Blount turns a 4th and 1 into a 43 yard TD run against the Rams.