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The 2003 New England Patriots went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl, so they must have been one of the greatest teams of all-time. Winning the championship is an automatic bid into the conversation, but winning 14 times and knowing that this would be the second of at least six championships for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the 2003 Patriots get to be counted among the best teams ever constructed.
In the NFL’s recent ranking of the Top 100 teams, the 2003 Patriots came in 32nd. Maybe even too low perhaps for a 14-2 championship team? Maybe.
But what else could you tell me about that New England roster and season?
You know that Brady was the quarterback, but who else was on the team? Corey Dillon at running back? No, that didn’t happen until 2004. The running back was Antowain Smith, who had 642 yards and three touchdowns, plus Kevin Faulk, who had 638 and 0.
Leading receiver Deion Branch caught only 57 of 104 targets for 803 yards and three touchdowns. Followed by David Givens at 510 yards and Troy Brown at 472.
The offensive line was young, but talented, and the Patriots offense finished 19th in points per drive, 30th in yards per carry, and 13th in net yards per pass attempt. By DVOA, they ranked 14th on offense, 12th in passing, and 25th in rushing. Imagine how frustrating it must have been to watch that offense.
Imagine how frustrating it must have been to start the season with a 31-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
(McDonald’s tune) Bud-duh-buh-buh-buh, I’m repeating it.
The 2003 Patriots started the 2003 season with a 31-0 loss to former New England superstar Drew Bledsoe and the Bills. Brady threw four interceptions that day AND WAS REPLACED by Rohan Davey for the final two drives. I can’t buy a subscription to the Boston Globe now just to write one article about the Patriots on a Seattle Seahawks website, but I imagine that the response was not warm. And that was just from the writers, how about the fans?