Rex Ryan sometimes says smart things. Not really. Well, at least once.
"Let's have a [expletive] snack, 'this is perhaps his most famous statement of the 2010 Jets tour on' Hard Knocks' back when he was their head coach, is both an approved philosophy and lifestyle in this space. Yes, Rex, let's have a snack. Maybe two.
He's probably better known for saying … not very smart things. Ryan, who coached the Jets (2009-14) and Bills (2015-16), is now an NFL studio analyst on ESPN, and said that one of those things not so smart Sunday before the Patriots game with the Jets, a game that New England won without much suspense, 27-13.
Ryan said the 2018 Patriots could be the worst team in the Tom Brady era.
The comment was not very noticed – Ryan's big star this week was a reluctant movie break during Thanksgiving's "NFL Countdown" of Mark Sanchez's infamous tac-tac – and his colleagues had not not lingering on it.
But they should have, because it's absurd, and a coach who has spent eight seasons in the same division should have a little more institutional memory than that.
Sunday's win over the Jets improved the Patriots' record to 8-3. They are currently 2nd in the AFC playoffs behind the 9-2 Chiefs, a team they beat this year. The season has been uneven, with several talented offensive players at different stages of their careers trying to fit around a 41-year-old quarterback who for the first time exhibits occasional signs of mortality in football.
They had difficulties on the road (they are at 3-3 Gillette Stadium), but they were generally admirable, especially by winning victories on teams that proved quite good thereafter (Texans, Ours, foals).
They have won 7 of their last 8 games and, although the loss was a nasty 24-point loss to the Titans two weeks ago, there should be some optimism for this team – even if it is cautious – rather than complaining not dominant enough.
It's not the 2007 Patriots who shred the league every Sunday for hell, but it seems to me that they are very good for me and that they show character along the way. We could just love the end of this story.
The worst team of patriots in the Brady era? I do not see this result close to the ultimate conclusion of this team. Even though Ryan was just pure talent, he was wrong. (The 2001 Super Bowl champions were less talented than the current composition, for example, although I'll hear you on all the Josh Gordon / Terry Glenn programs you want to create)
See your Boston teams up close
So, let's help Rexy. We will not rank all the Brady Patriots' teams, which we will call 2001-18 even though it was on the list in 2000. But we will group them in terms of success and success. Allure, and it should be pretty easy to identify which was the worst of the lot. I already have one in mind. I bet you too.
BEST OF THE BEST: 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016
Simple rule: if you display a banner, you belong to this elite category. The Patriots of 2001 are perhaps the most beloved team of all time, because it was so improbable. The 2004 team is perhaps the most talented and the most complete. For me, the victory at the Super Bowl in 2014 could be the most satisfying, because it was nine seasons without one, and they did against Pete Carroll and a superb defense of Seattle. And we will never see a return like the one Brady orchestrated against the Falcons in 2016. He was 28-3 at one point, you know. I saw it on a t-shirt.
THE BEST OF THE BEST, IF ONLY THE END OF THE END WAS DIFFERENT: 2007
Put it like that. If we could reverse the 38-35 victory at the end of the regular season on the Giants with the Super Bowl loss, this Patriots team would undeniably be considered the biggest in the history of the NFL. But you can not. We have all tried.
VERY GOOD TEAMS HAVE NOT EVER WON: 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017
This includes the other two teams of the Patriots who lost in the Super Bowl (11 11, 17 17), a team 06 06 with a fatal flaw (a handful of talent at the Arena level). League to the receiver) but would still have won all this if they were able to retain the Colts in the AFC championship game, and a stacked team that scored 14-2 in the regular season, but has been stunned by Ryan's Jets in the divisional round. If I had to bet right away, I'd say the 18 Patriots are finally in this group. In fact, I like them a lot better than the 2006 team.
TEAMS OF BEAT-UP PATRIOTS WHOSE SEASONS END IN DENVER: 2005, 2013, 2015
Huge Jake Plummer guy here. I still can not believe the Patriots lost a playoff game against him all those years ago. Or knuckleballer Peyton Manning three years ago, from elsewhere.
VERY GOOD TEAM THAT DOES NOT HAVE BRADY: 2008
I'm still not quite sure how to rank the 2008 season, which Brady missed 15 games after suffering a knee injury in the opening match. It's a good story to the extent that they went 11-5 and brought a lot of money back to Matt Cassel. But they did not play in the playoffs, did not have the chance to avenge the end of 2007 and won five fewer games in the regular season than they did the year before. If you can have a mulligan season in football, I guess that's it.
THE PATRIOT TEAMS PERFECTLY LOWER THERE, SOMETHING ARRIVING, OUT, REX: 2002, 2009
The 2002 season has been a long haul of '01's exploits. They started 3-0 – do you remember the hype on the three-fold safety package of the lawyer Milloy, Tebucky Jones and Victor Green? – but lost four times in a row after that and finished with nine wins, the youngest of the Brady era.
The team '09? Well, it's easily the least friendly of this era. They hurt themselves in the first round of the playoffs by the Ravens at Stade Gillette. It was the team that forced Belichick to confess to Brady, in a nasty defeat against the Saints, that he simply did not know how to join some of these guys, a clip that was part of "A Football Life" »Doc part on Belichick.
You'd think Ryan would remember pretty well the Patriots who were leaving the day – he got his second career Jets coaching win against them in September.