Monday, December 9, 2013

Why the Patriots can still win the Super Bowl without Rob Gronkowski

First I'd like to share a few tweets I sent out during the Patriots crazy 27-26 win over Cleveland yesterday:

Stephen Gostkowski celebrates his successful onside kick
Before New England's miracle comeback win I was still planning on writing a post with this same title.  I realize I'm being redundant and making the same two points week after week, but they're still true:

1.  The last three Super Bowl winners have been anything but favorites heading into the playoffs.  In fact, the 2012 Ravens (10-6), 2011 Giants (9-7), and 2010 Packers (10-6) were all Wild Card teams.  The Pats will be in the post-season this year, and their chances aren't going to be any worse than any of those teams' were.

2.  Three weeks ago the Patriots lost a game in part because what looked liked an obvious pass interference penalty wasn't called.  Yesterday they won largely due to the fact that a very questionable PI flag was thrown.  That is what the NFL has turned into.  As I've said previously, I'm becoming more and more convinced that all close games are decided simple by what penalties the refs feel like calling that day.  Come playoff time this could either go New England's way or not, but it's out of their control.

However, the fact that they did come from behind again and win yesterday adds to my case.  There's something about this 2013 Pats team that can't be defined.  It's the reason they pulled out that game vs New Orleans, almost did in Carolina, and have somehow recovered from double digit deficits in each of the last three weeks.  It's an energy/karma/mojo/luck that pretty much all title winning teams have, and in this case its very reminiscent of the first championship squad of the Belichik/Brady era in 2001.  Whatever that thing is exactly, this club's got it; even without Rob Gronkowski.

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