I just got done watching the Detroit Lions continue their annual tradition of going deep into the tank in November, sparing all their fans the agony of a late-season collapse. Why wait until December when you can just get it out of the way in November? Anyway, the Lions…yeah, they looked horrible today against the Patriots. I can accept that, to a degree. The Patriots are a very good team and play well at home. What I can’t accept is this ongoing slobberfest over the Patriots, courtesy of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and pretty much every other national sports media outlet. Especially since they really aren’t as great as the media seems to believe.
Since the 2005 season, one team in the NFL has truly set the bar when it comes to overall success. One team has been the class of its conference, if not, the entire league. That team is, of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Let Me Break it Down.
What, were you expecting me to say a different team? You think I’m making this up? Sure, the national sports media barely conceals its collective fanboi obsequiousness for all things New England Patriots. Unlike those superficial hacks, I did the math. You don’t have to take my word for it. The numbers simply don’t lie. Let me break it down for you.
Since 2005, the Steelers lead the league in:
* Postseason wins (tied with three other teams)
* Postseason win percentage
* Conference championships
* Super Bowl wins (tied with the NY Giants)
Data > Fanboi Homerism.
I’m quite certain Patriots fans will argue I’m being selective by collecting stats the year following their incredible run of three Super Bowl championships in four years. I am not ignoring the Pats’ success. They have been one of the most successful franchises in American pro sports. But over the past 10 years, New England has enjoyed about the same level of postseason success as Peyton Manning, yet Manning has been branded an underachiever and/or incapable of winning “the big one.” My question: why isn’t Tom Brady saddled with that same moniker? Do his stats from 2005 – present no longer count? Check the chart below for a full breakdown.
The Tom Brady-Peyton Manning Double-Standard.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t call Brady an underachiever or a has-been or anything like that. He and the Patriots are still one of the elite teams in the NFL. That is without question. In the nine seasons preceding this current one, the Pats have the league’s highest regular season winning percentage. What irks me about that is the national sports media looks at New England’s three Super Bowl wins—all collected during George W. Bush’s
Sure, the national sports media slobbers all over Peyton Manning, too. But they never miss an opportunity to point out the lack of overall postseason success. My point: it’s time to aim that same criticism at the New England Patriots.
I Thought All You Pats Fans Believed the Only Thing That Matters are Rings.
Yes, the Patriots have been to two Super Bowls since their last championship. They even did the unthinkable and had an undefeated season. Their benchmark of success is high. But here’s the thing. Seven teams have won Super Bowls since New England won their last one. Four other teams have gotten to the big game multiple times in that same stretch. And two teams, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants, have won two Super Bowls since 2005. All those years Pats fans gloated and called Manning an underachiever, haughtily claiming “the only thing that matters are rings” when gauging a player’s success…I guess they and the national media both maintain a double standard, or a complete blind eye to the last nine seasons (and counting).
Boasting a 110 – 34 regular season record is nothing to dismiss. It’s a level of achievement rarely equaled. But the Patriots are no longer an elite postseason team. They are woefully average. No question, they could win the Super Bowl again before Tom Brady retires. But until then, it’s time for the national sports media to cool it on the Tom Brady PDA. It’s making the rest of us sick.
CORRECTION: It occurs to me the Patriots won their third Super Bowl on 6 February 2005; about 2-1/2 weeks after George W. bush began his second term as president. I have amended the offending sentence to reflect this information.