By Martin Alvin
Well, you just knew it was coming, didn’t you? After losing to the Ravens, some Bozos are once again trotting out the old: “lack of success since Spy-gate,” crap. Really? How astute! But let’s look at the facts: First of all, what “lack of success” are these knuckleheads talking about?
Spy-gate broke in early 2007, and the Patriots still went 18-0 on their way to SB XLII, and a helmet-catch, and a missed Asante Samuel interception, away from a perfect 19-0 season and a fourth Super Bowl victory. Since then, they’ve won the AFC East five of the last six years — failing only in ’08 when Brady went down with a knee — and they still went 11-5 with Matt Cassel. They’ve gone to three AFC Championship Games, since then, winning twice. And, including SB XLII, they’ve gone to two Super Bowls in the last five years. “Lack of success?” Are you kidding me? Some teams would kill for that kind of a “lack of success.”
But, okay, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spy-gate; fine. But is that “lack of success” due to Spy-gate, or, more likely, due to their lack of defense in recent years? For example, look at the names connected with the first three Super Bowl defensive units, most of whom were long since gone by 2007:
DC: Romeo Crennel
DB: Ty Law
DB: Lawyer Milloy
DB: Otis Smith
LB/DE: Willie McGinest
LB/DE: Mike Vrabel
LB: Teddy Bruschi
LB: Ted Johnson
Crennel was still there in 2007. So was Bruschi; but he was a bit long in the tooth by then. But what do all the above names have in common? They were all Bill Parcells’ guys; and love him or hate him, credit where credit is due: Bill Parcells was a major factor in the construction of those early Patriots teams. Vrabel, by the way, was drafted in ’97; and while Parcells was with the Jets by then, that ’97 draft class was still influenced by him. Those Parcells Factor defenses kept games close until another Parcells’ Factor guy, Adam Vinatiari — free-agent, 1996 — pulled them out with clutch field goals.
No disrespect intended, and no question about it: Bill Belichick is a great Head Coach: Hall of Fame for sure. And he’s one of the all time, great, defensive minds in NFL history. His SB XXV defensive game plan is legendary. But defensive genius or not, under Belichick, the Patriots just haven’t been as effective on ‘D’ without the Parcells Factor.
And while the Patriots have become a crushing, offensive powerhouse; year in and year out, their lack of defense has cost them dearly. And that so-called, “lack of success” — which isn’t really a lack of success at all — is due to the absence of the Parcells Factor, not Spy-gate!