Let the offseason commence!
Usually, when Tom Brady hoists yet another Lombardi Trophy, it means that once again the New England Patriots have infuriated the world and are Super Bowl Champs. The boat parade that takes over the town is of the duck variety, and there’s absolutely no chance that anybody is in shorts and a tee-shirt. However, 2020 was officially the strangest year in history, and so it’s kind of fitting that we’re all sitting here cold and miserable as Tommy B lives it up down in South Florida.
However, just because Brady is no longer a Patriot, that doesn’t mean that the wheels of progress stop driving relentlessly forward. So it’s time for everyone’s favorite offseason tradition: counting down the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of the previous year.
Now I know what you’re all thinking; last season wasn’t all that memorable from a Patriots standpoint. They missed the playoffs, lost nine games, had trouble moving the ball, flat out stunk at times, and were as streaky as any team in the league. It would be just as easy to point out all of the things that didn’t go right last year as it would to talk about the cool moments. And to everyone thinking that, let me just say - you’re absolutely right.
At the same time, though, I’d also argue that 2020 was one of the most memorable Patriots seasons in 20 years. If I asked you to tell me what year Jonas Grey went off against the Colts or when Kevin Faulk played his last snap for the team, it would likely take you a little while to think back through the past two decades. But nobody - absolutely nobody - will ever forget the 2020 Patriots, for reasons both good and bad, and so compiling this list wasn’t all that hard at the end of the day.
But in fair warning: not all of the moments we’re about to relive over the coming weeks and months are fun ones. I always make sure to include a few less-than-stellar occurrences in every year, and the 2020 countdown is going to have more than its fair share of that. But there were also some great times as well, and the point of this list is to try and paint a picture of the last season as a whole, scars and all. So if you’re looking for Buttfumbles, fake punts, goal line picks, and epic comebacks, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you want to just think about the good times, you may want to sit this year’s countdown out. But if you’re looking forward to recapping the 2020 season in all of it’s infamous glory, be sure to come back to the Pulpit early and often so we can all suffer through this together.
However before we officially jump into it in earnest, as always, let’s take one last look at the 2019 season, which seems like it wrapped up 45 years ago. I don’t know about any of you, but it’s absolutely WILD to me that some of these events happened just over a calendar year ago.
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
17. The kicker carousel.
16. A Kyle van Noy scoop and score ices the game against the New York Giants.
15. The refs screw the Pats out of not one, but two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.
14. The Patriots play the Jets twice - and the defense shuts them out twice.
13. The Patriots force four interceptions as they dominate the Cincinnati Bengals and secure a playoff spot.
12. Julian Edelman hits Philip Dorsett in the end zone to help lift the Patriots over the Eagles.
11. N’Keal Harry scores his first NFL touchdown with a back shoulder grab against the Dallas Cowboys.
10. The Patriots force three turnovers on three straight plays against the Cleveland Browns.
9. Tom Brady becomes the 2nd All-Time passing yards leader in a Week 6 win over the New York Giants.
8. The Patriots sign Antonio Brown.
7. Rex Burkhead finds some nice redemption with the go-ahead touchdown against the Buffalo Bills to clinch the AFC East
6. Lawrence Guy manages to intercept a handoff in a game against the Cleveland Browns.
5. Stephon Gilmore and Jamie Collins pick sixes highlight an absolute beatdown of the Miami Dolphins.
4. Linebacker turned fullback Elandon Roberts turns his first NFL reception into a 38 yard touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.
3. A blocked punt leads to Matthew Slater’s first NFL touchdown against the Buffalo Bills.
2. Stephon Gilmore wins Defensive Player of the Year.
1. Tom Brady lays out Tre’Davious White to spring N’Keal Harry for an 18-yard gain against the Buffalo Bills.
Buckle up, everyone — it’s going to be an interesting next few months.