History lesson: The 2007 New England Patriots

By Os Davis  |   Sunday, December 30, 2007  |  Comments( 11 )

New England Patriots
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We are all witnesses to history. OK, it's just sports history; nobody died, world leaders were not deposed, the dominant paradigm has not been subverted. Regardless, the victory of the 2007 New England Patriots (for henceforth forever shall they be referred) over the Giants this past Saturday night is a literal once-in-a-lifetime event for NFL worshipers.

Of course, the advantage of sports history over history itself is that the latter is so rarely neatly scheduled; millions were able to see the symbolic cap on a perfect season. (And how many things in life can we even deign to call "perfect"?)

Sure, the Giants made it a game but the tremendous force of history blew them away.

History swept aside the numbers, too. Tom Brady and Randy Moss set individual single-season records for TDs. Wes Welker, league leader in receptions, set the Patriot franchise single-season mark for catches in a season. Brady is now the all-time Patriot leader in yardage. The team now holds the single-season record for scoring.

And the 2007 New England Patriots are 16-0. Forget the asterisks.

Forget? Absolutely. Millions saw history Saturday, so millions observed the switch-flipping, the triumph of mind and matter, in the third quarter. When the Pats went down 28-16, like clockwork did Chris Collinsworth and Bryant Gumbel repeat ad nauseam that 12 points represented the largest deficit the team had faced all year.

Like clockwork did the Patriots then go to work, in that magical historical way of theirs. After Kevin Faulk was smothered for a 2-yard loss on first and 10, Brady found Welker a couple of times - once for 28 yards - when the Giants had forgotten all about the league's top slot receiver. Brady went 5 of 6 on the drive and despite a lead, the New York 'D' became desperate enough that poor Gerris Wilkinson had to carry Moss out of bounds to prevent him hauling in that record-setting TD.

No matter, the run of 22 unanswered points was on. The switch flipped, the Giants' offensive line suddenly found itself under massive attack and Eli Manning looked slower than anyone to play the position since George Plimpton.

Taking over with 12:19 in the fourth, Manning fumbled, threw a wobbly incomplete pass, called a panicky timeout, and on third-and-long called a conservative screen. Three and out.

The rest, as they say, is literally history. Brady tried one strike to Moss, failed, threw a second, succeeded. What little redemption needed all around was had, records snapped, the Patriots took the lead and the short-term message was simply that no secondary besides that of Indianapolis can play ball with Moss.

Did I really write that the numbers might balance out and cost the Patriots? Suppose it did in some respect; after all, the 35 surrendered is more than New England gave up in a single game all season - heck, at the beginning of the year, it took three games to run up that many points on the Pats.

But you know what? The 2007 New England Patriots are now officially bigger than numbers: They're historical.

Witnessing, recording, and ranting about history all year-round at RealFootball365.com
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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