Let me start by saying that I am in no way complaining. I’d take a boring 2016 season over a thrilling 2013 or 2015 season any day. But it’s impossible to argue that this Pats season was an awesome one to witness.
Since Week 17 ended, I’ve been looking for Pats 2016 season highlights everywhere I can find them. And I’ve watched the NFL highlights of all 18 Pats games this year, which have gotten better since the NFL took out the narration of Rich Eisen and made more room for more plays in the highlight package. (No offense to Eisen, who’s a beast.)
What I’ve found is there really weren’t any awesome Pats wins this year. The best game of the year was the Seattle game, which loses a lot of luster as a Pats fan because of the final result.
Every other game that was supposed to be a huge game for the Patriots simply did not live up to the hype. The Week 15 game in Denver flat out sucked, and in November we were all looking ahead to that game as one of the most important of the season. Week 7 in Pittsburgh wasn’t great because of Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, and the previous week against the Bengals, Brady’s first home game of the season, didn’t deliver because the Bengals didn’t deliver all year. Week 3 against the Texans was supposed to be a close game to the point that the Texans were actually favored in Foxboro, but Jacoby Brisset and the Pats didn’t give a shit about your stupid Las Vegas lines. The Week 14 Monday Night game vs. the Ravens was a decent one, but only because the Pats almost threw the game away.
The Patriots had 5 regular season games against playoff teams this year, and 4 were against the Dolphins, Texans, or Roethlisberger-less Steelers. And they lost the 5th. Meanwhile, the Pats played 6 games against the Jets, Browns, Bengals, 49ers, and Rams.
Lastly, the Pats’ duo of playoff games have sucked in terms of entertainment. One of them was supposed to suck, and it did its job of sucking because Brock Osweiler is a joke. The AFC Championship game, however, wasn’t supposed to be a joke, but the 2nd half of the game was almost as lopsided as the 2nd half against the Colts in the AFCCG two years ago. If you don’t remember that game, it was the one when the Pats cheated their way with deflated footballs to a 17-7 halftime lead, and then won the 2nd half 28-0 with properly inflated balls. Roger Goodell can go fuck himself.
The most entertaining game of the season for the Pats, surprisingly, was the opening night game in the desert. The Pats beat the Cardinals on a missed field goal with under a minute to go, and it’s the only game where I feel my heart rate rise a beat or two when watching highlights. The fact that Al Michaels was calling that game only helps matters.
The Cardinals game featured lead changes, late-game drama, and all around good football. There are two problems, though. First, the Cardinals finished 7-8-1 and missed the playoffs, and it’s always more fun in hindsight to look back on games in which the Pats beat a playoff team. Oh, and the second problem is that there was no Tom Brady.
So there it is: The most entertaining game of the Pats season was in Week 1 against a non-playoff team without Tom Brady.
During the past 7 seasons in which the Pats have earned 1st round byes, 2016 was easily the most boring year. The 2009 season was infuriating, but it wasn’t boring. It still featured the awesome comeback win in Week 1 vs. the Bills and the 4th-and-2 game against the Colts, and people forget that, through the first 3 quarters of that game, the Pats were probably the best team in the NFL at 6-2 and on their way to 7-2.
The 2001, 2003, and 2007 seasons were not boring in the slightest, and 2004 had enough drama to beat out 2016. The 2002 and 2005 seasons weren’t boring at all, as the Pats were defending the first title in ’02 and defending back-to-back titles in ’05, neither of which we had ever happened before in Foxboro. The 2006 season may have been just as boring when it comes to the regular season, but the Chargers game in the playoffs and the subsequent loss to the Colts ensure that 2006 wasn’t as boring as this year.
That leaves 2008, which takes the cake only because Brady was out the whole year. Among normal years, though, 2016 was the least entertaining season the Pats have had since they started crushing the league. The good news, though, is that nobody in the 5.5 states of New England will care how boring it was if the Patriots make the Falcons their latest victim.