This could be my favorite Pats team since 2001 (which will always be #1 in my book).
1. Other than Brady, the current team is a team of no-names from #2-53 who play as a unit and play hard. No go-to guys, no superstars, no names in headlights, just a bunch of guys who keep winning.
2. They have lost so many 1st team players and the subs come in seamlessly, make no excuses, ask for no quarter and give none. To review the bidding, this team lost Wilfork, Kelly, Mayo, Vollmer, Gronkowski, Welker, Woodhead, Hernandez for a variety of reasons for the full year, and many more for multiple games.
3. I have never seen a team with so many rookies (15, which is the highest number in the NFL) and free agents (10) playing major roles at season end, and playing to such a high standard. 8 more are 2nd year players. That's a total of 33 out of 53 players who have been in this system for less than 2 years. Astonishing!
4. This is one the most balanced Patriots team in ages; they can kill you by land or by air, they can defend and take your best weapons out whether by land or by air, and their special team is one of the best in the league. There is no obvious major hole on this team of youngsters.
5. Brady is having a season for the ages; I said it at the beginning of the season and I will say it again: this is his greatest year in a storied career as a leader of men in battle. This guy is truly a selfless leader, focused exclusively on winning, whatever it takes. How can that not inspire the whole team? His contributions may never show up on the 2013 stat sheet but this year was an amazing demonstration of resilience, leadership, determination, selflessness and will.
6. If Bill Belichick is not the greatest of all NFL coaches of all time, he is in the conversation. Sheer genius is what we saw this year. Even his biggest detractors are shaking their heads at what he has accomplished this year. 15 rookies??? 2013 has been simply brilliant!
7. Best of all, this team never gives up. It has won coming back from a deficit, it has won leading through the game, it has won tight battles. It just finds ways to win. Two bad refereeing decisions cost it two games that would have given it home field advantage all the way through the playoffs but they just take that licking and keep on ticking.
I love this team! Their toughest test is this coming Sunday and I have seen no evidence that this team will not prevail. Regardless, there is no doubt that they will leave everything out on the field. How can you not love that?