It is now beyond any dispute - the Patriots are a genuine
football dynasty. Just don't ask any New England coaches or players
to acknowledge it.
In the past week the question has been asked and re-asked about
whether winning three Super Bowls within four years would elevate
the Patriots to dynasty status. And all week the Patriots have
offered little more than a collective shrug - even after downing the
Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 Sunday night.
"I think that dynasty tag is for somebody else to say, not for us
to say," says Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
Head coach Bill Belichick offered a similar response shortly
after the game: "I'll leave the comparisons and historical
perspectives to everybody else."
In winning the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004, and now in 2005, New
England joins the ranks of the NFL's most dominant teams. The only
other team to win three Super Bowls within a four-year period was
the Dallas Cowboys between 1993 and 1996. Other great NFL dynasties
include the Pittsburgh Steelers, with four championships from 1975
to 1980, and the San Francisco 49ers, with five Super Bowl victories
between 1982 and 1995.
Sunday night's NFL championship extended the Patriots' undefeated
playoff record under coach Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady to 9-
0. That accomplishment ties a record set by another legendary team -
the Green Bay Packers.
It is not hard to understand why New England coaches and players
are reluctant to draw comparisons. Generally, the Patriots prefer to
let their play on the field do all the talking.
"You can say whatever you want before the game starts, but if you
go out there and make all those crazy comments and you lose that
game, that is the first thing that is going to come back and bite
you," says tackle Matt Light. "So why put yourself in that
Some suggest that the passage of time will reveal the Patriots'
proper place in history.
"When you talk about dynasties, you are talking about people 10,
20, 30 years ago," says Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
"Maybe 10 years from now they will be talking about this team the
same way we talk about teams from the past."
Not surprisingly, those on the Eagles side also prefer to avoid
the D-word. "I'm not saying dynasty," immediately replied
Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson to the ubiquitous
question of the week. "They are the world champs, I know that."
Beyond all the talk of dynasty, perhaps the Patriots' most
significant accomplishment in recent years is that coach Belichick
and Patriots owner Robert Kraft appear to have established a
blueprint for football success in an era of player free agency and
team salary caps. …