MIAMI — The Miami Dolphins’ grinding ground game sent the New England Patriots into full retreat and out of the playoff picture for the first time in 12 years.
But I thought it was the brilliance of Bill Belichick that made the Pats so great. I guess we what the one piece that was truly missing, don’t we.
The Patriots (6-8) will finish at .500 or worse for the first time since 2000, the year they drafted Tom Brady. Their NFL-record run of 11 consecutive playoff appearances will end, and they’ll fall one year short of matching the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL record of 20 consecutive winning seasons.
And will anyone outside of New England pout over this?
I’ve pondered over why the Patriots are perceived as so unlikable. First, any team that wins as much as they do is going to have its share of haters. People complained that everyone LOVED Dallas back in their heyday, but just as many fans hated them for their success. People can be envious of success and hateful when it’s not THEIR team that’s racking up the wins. Bill Belichick’s sour demeanor and stand-offish attitude with the press certainly don’t help either. He’s easy to dislike, which makes it natural for people to overlook the fact that he’s obviously a great coach who is able to get players to perform at a high level. The allegations of cheating by the team, whether it was filming other team’s practices, deflating footballs or the like certainly didn’t help people to sympathize with the Patriots either. The fact that the Patriots are finally coming down to earth is obviously a source of glee for some fans, but I suspect just as many are upset that they won’t have the Patriots to kick around anymore. Somehow, however, I feel like the Pats will be back—and sooner rather than later.