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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

And that’s the end of the line for the 2021 New England Patriots.

What a blast this past season was.

I don’t know about any of you, but I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed the regular season so much. As amazing as the past two decades of Patriots fandom has been, decades I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, it’s impossible to deny that for a very long time September through December in Pats Nation was mainly spent waiting around for a 12-4 finish so the playoffs could start in hopes of a deep Super Bowl run. With this past season, though, as we all rooted for our rookie quarterback and our hodgepodge of new signings and our fourth round RB and our 2nd round interior defensive lineman who may go down as the most underrated draft pick of the Belichick era, watching each game for its own merits and hoping to build something great for the future... It was just such a joy from start to finish.

No, it wasn’t perfect. Yes, there are some issues that this team needs to address in the offseason. And yes, there’s a good chance that we’ve seen some stalwarts of this dynasty play their last snap in a Patriots uniform. But if you aren’t over the moon ecstatic about what you saw from the 2021 Patriots, and if you aren’t beyond excited for the potential this squad showed, I don’t know what to tell you. It may very well be that rooting for one team year in and year out isn’t for you.

It would appear that we have our quarterback of the future. A lot of key players are locked up for a few more years. The Patriots aren’t strapped for cap space. They’re already leaps and bounds ahead of teams that have been rebuilding across multiple seasons now. They were more or less one Week 1 Damien Harris goal line fumble away from coming into the last week of the regular season with the One Seed on the line. The Patriots overachieved this season, did some great things, made some phenomenal strides forward, and they simply ran out of gas late and lost to a superior team that is much farther along with better pieces in place. Absolutely zero shame in that, and I know I couldn’t be happier with what I saw over the past few months.

A massive congrats to the Buffalo Bills. The better team won tonight, plain and simple, and it’s very hard not to like the squad that Sean McDermott put together. I know I’m pulling hard for the Bills for the rest of the AFC Playoffs, although I remain very nervous for the state of the world should Bills Mafia find themselves on the receiving end of a Lombardi Trophy. If you think that Covid caused a lot of damage, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

So thank you, Patriots, for one hell of a season. Let’s build on this and come back even better in 2022. To bright futures and many more playoff appearances to come.