I sat down to write my blog today, fully prepared to argue why the Patriots could be considered the best franchise in the NFL since 1980. I knew going in that it might not be easy. I knew most people, even Patriots fans, would probably not agree, but I moved forward anyway. I heard the voice in the back of my head saying that one decade does not warrant a debate about a 30 year span. Then I began to do some real research and something interesting happened. My argument began to look legit. Could it be, that the New England Patriots really ARE the best franchise since 1980? Let’s take a look.
First, let’s decide who is even in this discussion. To me, the best way to do this is to look at team records over the last 31 years. In order, we have the Niners @ 291, the Steelers @ 285, the Broncos @ 283, the Dolphins @ 275, the Pats @ 272, the Eagles @ 269, the Cowboys @ 268, the Packers @ 263, and the Viking @ 262. I’m guessing most of you had no idea the Pats were that high.
Secondly, we look at how many times they have been in the playoffs. In order, Niners 18, Steelers 17, Eagles 17, Cowboys 17, Viking 16, Pats 15, Dolphins 15, Packers 14 and the Broncos 14. Another surprise, I’m sure, but hardly enough to warrant top status. These were merely numbers meant to narrow the discussion, because Lord knows, the Niners are looking pretty good so far.
Now we begin to narrow it down by eliminating the Dolphins, who have a 12-15 playoff record, and are 0-2 in the SB. The same goes for the Viking, who are 10-16 and have never been to the SB. Bye bye to the Eagles, too. 14-17 and 0-2 in the SB. Now we have 5 teams left in the debate with the Pats.
Here is where I have to match the Pats up on an individual basis with each team to determine why I feel the Pats are better. Starting with the easiest first, and working up to the 49ers.
I knock out the Packers. GB has never had a dominating decade, they have less total wins, less titles, and less playoff appearances. See ya.
Dallas is next. Although they had more playoff appearances and won 3 titles, they also have less total wins, half as many trips to the SB, and not as good a record in the playoffs. Adios.
Now Denver. They have 11 more wins, but that’s it. 1 less trip to the SB. 1 less title. Less trips to the playoffs and a much lower winning record when they are there. Buck off.
It’s pucker time now. The Steelers have 13 more wins and 2 more trips to the playoffs, but that being said, the Pats have 2 more trips to the SB, 1 more title and, again, a better winning percentage. Ben dover.
This brings us to the hardest argument in this debate. The 49ers. They have 19 more wins, 2 more titles, 3 more trips to the playoffs, AND a better playoff record. Yikes!! My only ammo here is this: The Pats have been to 1 more SB. They are also the ONLY team to appear in the big game in all 3 decades. The Niners haven’t sniffed the SB IN nearly 20 years, while the Pats have managed to say hello every once in a while. That to me makes a more consistent winner.
In the end, I’m just a loyal Pats fan that wants to think that my team is more than just this decades dynasty. Who knows? If they win it this year, then the argument is OVAH!!!!
Update: It’s been 9 years since I wrote this. This debate is no longer a debate. That is all.