Welcome to yet another championship offseason!
Although the NFL never really stops, does it? The NFL Combine is already in the books, Free Agency is just around the corner, and then we’ll have mini camps and drafts and OTAs that Tom Brady will skip to demonstrate his displeasure with his current contract status and before you know it, summer will be over and it will be time to kick off the 2019 season in earnest. So take a breath while you can, because football never sleeps.
Nor do I, apparently, as it’s time to dive into my favorite offseason activity: counting down the Top 20 Most Memorable Moments of the previous year.
Over the coming weeks and months, usually during the slower periods of the NFL news cycle, I’ll be breaking down what I consider to be the 20 moments that best defined the 2018 season, starting at 20 and working my way all the up to Number One. Some moments were good, some were great, and others were pretty lousy, but you wouldn’t be able to fully grasp the 2018 Patriots without them. Of course, this is just my own personal list, ranked in the way that I see most fit, and there will for sure be some cause for discussion and debate. I’ll likely leave some stuff out that you think should have made this list as well. The reality is that each season is always so unique, so action-packed, that it can be easy to forget certain events that happened just a few short months ago. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun reliving this past year as I will writing about it.
We’ll be back with Moment #20 next week, but as always, before we really dive into it, let’s all take one last look at the season that preceded this one. It seems like several lifetimes ago, but here’s the complete list of the Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2017. If you want to read the accompanying article, just click on the number next to it.
20. Back-to-back touchdowns before the half against the New York Jets help the Patriots secure the #1 Seed in the AFC.
19. A one-handed Dion Lewis grab is pretty much the only thing that goes right against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
18. The Patriots pick up James Harrison.
17. A safety and a strip sack to help secure the Number 1 Seed in the AFC against the New York Jets.
16. Gronk’s inner caveman finally reveals itself and gets him suspended.
15. Brandin Cooks follows Gronk into the end zone...and rides him out.
14. A throw off the back foot leads to an epic Gronk touchdown against the New Orleans Saints.
13. Tom Brady hits Brandin Cooks for a 64 yard TD against the Oakland Raiders.
12. A goal line stand ends with a huge stuff on 4th and 3 to preserve the shutout against the Atlanta Falcons.
11. A bizarre fumble turns a touchdown into a touchback against the New York Jets.
10. Rob Gronkowski hauls in a spectacular one-handed TD grab to even the score against the Buffalo Bills.
9. Stephon Gilmore gets airborne to break up a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.
8. The Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
7. Gronk goes beast mode in the final two minutes to give the Patriots the lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
6. A standard punt return somehow turns into a safety against the Los Angeles Chargers.
5. Stephen Gostkowski sets a personal and franchise record with a 62 yard field goal just before halftime against the Oakland Raiders.
4. A 103 yard Dion Lewis kickoff return for a touchdown highlights special teams dominance in a beatdown of the Denver Broncos.
3. Tom Brady hits Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone to complete a 4th quarter comeback for the ages to send the Patriots to the Super Bowl.
2. Tom Brady hits Brandin Cooks in the end zone with 25 seconds left to play to lift the Patriots past the Houston Texans.
1. Duron Harmon intercepts a pass in the end zone to seal the win in a wild game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I don’t know how, but it always seems to work out that I’m finishing up this list right around the time the following season kicks off, so be sure to check Pats Pulpit throughout the course of the offseason - not just for Patriots news, but to relive what turned out to be one of the wildest NFL seasons ever.