I was thinking about this the other day and it seems timely based on the championship team comparison we've been talking about. Basically I was wondering if people perceive us to be a bad champion, an abberation. I guess that's not that unfounded given the achem, uneven regular season. My argument has always been that the Packers, Cowboys, and Patriots were consensus top 5 teams that year, and we beat them all successively. Any of those teams would have been considered legit champs.
I think the more interesting question is how times out of ten would we beat the Pats. Obviously, we lost once a month prior. The game was pretty close. We got some very fluky breaks: the entire Phantom play, Asante Samuel not coming down with the game-winning INT, Corey Webster getting a finger on the extremely underrated 70 yard bomb Brady through across the field at the end of the game (how does everyone not talk about that play, it was an amazing throw by Brady). I'm sure similar things happened in favor of the Pats that didn't strike as much fear in my heart so I don't remember, but Steve Smith practically handed them an INT, Pierce had that pass interference at the end zone.
I think with the same coaching strategies, that game can go both ways a lot of the time. I think with another chance, the Pats don't make the crucial coaching mistakes that cost them the game. The first, while minor, was the one play the entire game that Plax wasn't doubled which resulted in the game-winning TD and shivers down my spine. The huge mistake, that I swear I've only heard Phil Simms talk about, is that the Pats looked at the tape, saw Tuck wrecking havoc in the middle against guards and centers and decided that he was the guy that needed to be doubled. I think that was such a huge mistake, it's like if we had decided to shade our coverage to Wes Welker because he did so much damage while defenses were focused on Moss. Osi and Strahan ate those tackles alive. Hell, Strahan's been waiting his whole career for that much single teaming. I think that was a such a huge mistake, and I'm not sure how well the line does if the Offense line had actually been focused on our two best (at the time) D-Lineman.
Do we compete with Pats if Belichick doesn't make that mistake?