- Oct 1, 2015
The TB/BB playoff losses and the pain on a "sting-meter" (0 being painless, 10 being absolute long lasting agony):I think if you make it to or win the Super Bowl, you deserve it. I just don't think you can "luck" yourself that far. It's easy to pick a play like the Dee Ford play and say they were "lucky", but doing so usually ignores an equal and opposite play that gets forgotten. Remember Kelce fumbling and Hightower recovering, which set NE up deep in KC territory with about 3 minutes remaining? Remembering how that game went down, I think it was KC who was lucky to be in it rather than the other way around.
In the end, unless you're an all-time great team you're going to play some close games in the playoffs that could go either way, and even being an all-time great team is no guarantee as we all painfully know. The intestinal fortitude of the Patriots almost always ensured that any loss they suffered would be close and thus gut-wrenching.
To circle back to Celebrating What Is, that's one of the underrated aspects of that 20 year run. The lack of egg-laying that happened in the playoffs. They might lose, but they never let themselves get obliterated and due to their ability to come back an out-of-reach playoff game before the late 4th quarter was a rare sight. Montana/Walsh lost 49-3. Manning/Dungy lost 41-0. Rodgers lost 44-21. Mahomes/Reid just lost 31-9. Elway lost 42-10 and 55-10. Favre lost 35-9 and 45-17. Marino lost 38-3 and 62-7. Kelly/Levy lost 52-17. Simms lost 44-3.
Brady & BB's worst playoff loss, despite playing in way more games than any of these guyes? 33-14, the only playoff L of the era that was by more than two scores. Three other L's were two score losses, and the other seven L's were one score games. Those are always going to sting a bit more.
1/14/06 - Loss to Denver in the divisional round, 27-13 - 8 sting - until that point, TB hadn't lost a playoff game and he seemed invincible in the playoffs. So much winning had us set up for an almost sense of destiny. Feeling screwed on the Watson/Champ play made it hard. Losing to Jake Plummer of all people...that was tough. First chink in the armor.
1/21/06 - Loss to Indy in the AFCCG, 38-34 - 9.5 sting - Losing to Peyton was really difficult after all that success against him. Losing after leading 21-6, getting hosed on a few key plays...man that was painful. Especially knowing that they'd have rolled in the Super Bowl.
2/3/08 - Loss to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl, 17-14 - 10 sting - losing a perfect season, in the way they did, just absolutely brutal in every way. Obviously this is the one game I'd always wish they'd have back.
1/10/10 - Loss to Baltimore in the WC round, 33-14 - 6.5 sting - That team was in rough shape, losing Welker at the end of the year was a death-knell for that squad. It didn't sting so much as was disappointing. Nobody likes getting their lunch handed to them like that.
1/16/11 - Loss to the NY Jets in the divisional round, 28-21 - 8 sting - This was a team that they had just manhandled a few weeks before. Plus it was Rex Ryan and the frigging Jets of all people. An absolutely baffling and inexplicable loss. And at this point, it felt like like NE would never reach the top again.
2/5/12 - Loss to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl, 21-17 - 9 sting - A chance for revenge, again losing in difficult fashion to an inferior team. Gronk hobbled, the OL a mess, ugh. Just not fun.
1/20/13 - Loss to Baltimore in the AFCCG, 28-13 - 6 sting - Another chance for revenge gone by the wayside. Another ass-kicking at the hands of the now-hated Ravens. What was tough about this one was that NE's offense had been averaging more than 38 points a game over their last 10 games, and laid an absolute egg in this one.
1/19/14 - Loss to Denver in the AFCCG, 26-16 - 7 sting - Got manhandled by Denver and Peyton Manning. Not really that competitive in the game, and the score was closer than the game really was. NE was down 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. These Pats were getting crushed by Seattle anyway if they got by Denver.
1/24/16 - Loss to Denver in the AFCCG, 20-18 - 9 sting - Another revenge opportunity lost. Brady got pummeled all game long. What's hard about this one is the way they ended the regular season, forfeiting home field advantage in the dumbest of ways, and they would likely have won the SB that year. But man, that team...what a bunch of warriors to nearly pull that game out at the end.
2/4/18 - Loss to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, 41-33 - 9 sting - Losing in the SB, losing a chance for a repeat, to a definitely inferior team riding the arm of a guy with a horseshoe up his butt, plus the refs changing the rules on a catch with nobody knowing. Tough loss, especially to see Brady go OFF in that one only to come up short.
1/4/20 - Loss to Tennessee in the WC round, 20-14 - 3 sting - Easiest loss to absorb for me. We all knew the Pats were pretty bad at that point and were going nowhere. The bad part was the pick-six at the end, Brady's last pass attempt as a Patriot. Not the way any of us wanted to see him go out.