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Tom Brady reached another incredible milestone this season by taking the New England Patriots to their eighth Super Bowl since the 2001 season. Every team has been different in their own way, except for the obvious similarity: They all were led by Brady (and head coach Bill Belichick).
So, in a hypothetical winner-take-all bracket of Brady’s Super Bowl teams (regardless of if they actually won the game or not), which team is the best? Here are our picks:
Frank Schwab: 2007 Patriots
I’ve still never seen a better NFL team than the 2007 Patriots – they picked a bad day to have a bad day, and it still took David Tyree’s miracle to topple them – so I have to go with them in this bracket. The 2004 team was no joke either. It was the year the offense, with a monster year from Corey Dillon, caught up to what was then a defensive juggernaut. That team didn’t have a weakness. But let’s keep in mind the 2007 team outscored opponents by 19.7 points per game, which you see only in college. Unless someone on the 2004 team could pull off a helmet catch, I’m sticking with 2007.
Shalise Manza Young: 2001 Patriots
I watched every snap of the 2007 season, and that team was phenomenal. I’ve never been witness to anything like the Brady-to-Moss connection that year. But the reality is, that team didn’t win the one game that mattered. In 2001, Brady became the starter after a freak – and potentially fatal – injury to Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 against the New York Jets. New England was 0-2 after that loss, and went 14-3 from that point, with the second-year, lightly regarded wunderkind at quarterback. Brady led the Patriots to an overtime win against the Oakland Raiders in the divisional round, then an upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in the AFC championship. And in Super Bowl XXXVI – when they were the biggest underdogs in Super Bowl history (14 points), both Brady and the defense upset the greatest offense the NFL had seen to that point. Brady guided the offense on a last-minute drive to get the Patriots into field-goal position. New England had made it to the Super Bowl twice before as a franchise and been crushed each time, but Brady and Belichick stared down the Rams and began an unprecedented run of success, both for the Patriots and all Boston franchises.
Tyler Greenawalt: 2016 Patriots
Many will say the 2007 is Brady’s “best” team, since they had the best offensive team and also one of the better defensive teams. They had peak-Brady, peak-Moss and a great defense. For the most part, this team should blow every team out of the water. But, 2007’s fatal flaw was succumbing to a potent pass rush, something 2016 would have exploited in this hypothetical championship matchup. With a pass rush rife with disruptors like Dont’a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich, the 2016 Patriots would attack Brady similarly to how the New York Giants did in 2007 to hold off the Brady-Moss connection, and the more well-rounded 2016 offense could dissect the slower, older 2007 Patriots defense.
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