Patriots Seek to Validate 16-0 Record With Playoff Success

16-0. Congrats, Coach Belichick. Sixteen down, three more to go. I’m not a man of sentiments, so NFL records don’t really excite me. Sure, it’s nice to have the single season point total record and the single season win record, but nothing matters in football history unless the Super Bowl is won. The Patriots will not be remembered unless they win the Super Bowl. Super Bowl champions are immortal; the teams and the players who win are inscribed in NFL history and revered for their heroics and aptitude during the big game. The NFL MVP never gets a commercial about going to Disney World because half the country doesn’t care about who wins this award. There are too many games and teams to monitor during the regular season. Only the Super Bowl MVP gets the Disney commercial because the Super Bowl is the only game that matters. So, congrats Tom Brady on the MVP award. I’m sure the trophy looks nice on your mantle but you still have three more games to go. For the Patriots, the easy part is over. Now it’s time for the season to really start. Every season, there is a regular season warhorse. This is the team that seemingly dominates every other team on its schedule and cruises into the number seed in the NFL. However, this team never has an easy route through the playoffs and this year is no exception. Sure, the Patriots are the first team to go through the regular season undefeated but they’re not immune to playoff atmosphere. In the playoffs, teams don’t hold back. It’s a completely new ball game because every player has nothing to lose. In the playoffs, it’s win or go home. No one is trying to save himself for another season, each player wants a piece of the NFL championship. From the time they were kids, each NFL player watched this monumental game every year, dreaming about his time in the spotlight. Every player on the eight remaining playoff teams remembers these childhood dreams and will stop at nothing to be a part of a Super Bowl Championship team. Every team still standing in the race for Super Bowl XLII has something to prove. Right now, the Patriots are considered to be on top, and every team is gunning for that position. The Jaguars are looking to assert themselves as the dominant team in the AFC South. The Jags have been overlooked the entire season and are fighting to earn their fair share of respect. When the AFC South is mentioned, only the Colts come to mind. The Jaguars are looking to change this presumption with a win over the Patriots. The Chargers and the Colts are seeking redemption from early season losses to the Patriots. The Chargers are hot right now, having won eight of their last 10 games. The Pats embarrassed the Chargers 38-16 in the second game of the season, a game that star running back LaDanian Tomlinson has used to motivate his teammates to make sure the team never gets outplayed like that again. The Colts are still seething from Brady’s fourth-quarter heroics that propelled the Patriot past the then-unbeaten Colts back in week nine. Sunday’s Colts-Chargers game is sure to be a dogfight because each team is playing to get another shot at the Patriots. Both teams are still bitter from the losses and nothing would redeem their season as much as knocking off the Patriots. The Patriots are close to a perfect season, but they can’t let overconfidence get to them. It’s not a coincidence that two games that were predicted to be blowouts were close wins for the Patriots. The Eagles and the Ravens both had over thirty points against them, according to Vegas. Both games were predicted to be so lopsided that many firms took the game off the betting boards. These teams defied all odds by actually leading the Patriots until late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots took these teams lightly and almost paid the price. They cannot repeat these mistakes in the playoffs. Now, better teams and more determined players are gunning for the Pats, and if the Pats don’t show up every weekend with their best game, they will be the first to receive an all expenses paid trip to watch the Super Bowl from their living rooms in Boston. Randy Moss’s single season recieving record of 23 touchdowns is pretty impressive, but records don’t mean anything in the playoffs. Moss’s 23 touchdowns and the Patriot’s 16 wins are all erased now that playoffs have started. If the Patriots continue their streak and win Super Bowl XLII, I will concede, bow down and proclaim the 2008 New England Patriots the greatest professional football team of all time. But until the moment the Patriots are crowned Super Bowl Champions, I’m standing on my feet and waiting to see greatness truly is.