Which Two of Tom Brady's Super Bowl Wins Would You Trade For The 2007 Patriots to Have Finished 19-0?
During the first round of the NFL Draft, the league hosted a "Draft-a-thon" charity live stream fundraiser for communities affected by COVID-19 because why should they donate any of their billions when they can use fan donations for tax breaks? (If the NFL is matching donations, strike the latter half of the sentence from the record.)
In a four and one-quarter hour live stream (that I did not watch), there was plenty of star power, but this blog is all about what was said by former New England Patriots QB Tom Brady during it in response to a question from Shannon Sharpe about perhaps the most famous loss in NFL history.
After Tom gave Shannon Sharpe some shit for his awful TV show with Skip Bayless, Shannon posed a question that millions of New Englanders have pondered since February 3rd, 2008. I have since had this conversation a thousand times with various friends and co-workers. I'm paraphrasing here, but "would you trade two Super Bowl wins for the Patriots to have gone 19-0?"
In somewhat of a surprise, Brady said yes.
Maybe this is just because Tom is at a point where he has a comical amount of Super Bowl championships, but when he's been talking about how "the next one" is his favorite ring since 2002, I gotta say I was a little surprised he'd be willing to trade back two rings for 19-0. I'm curious if he'd have this same stance in 2013 with only three rings? From his POV, now it seems like an easy trade. He'd still have six rings which are more than any other player in the 101-year history of the NFL, while quarterbacking what would be considered the greatest team ever. TB 12's not exactly giving up a lot in this situation. This is the ultimate first-world (sporting) prob.
Obviously, history cannot change. The way we interpret it certainly can, but the fact of the matter is the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. No amount of dropped interceptions or missed holding calls can change that.
But let's say they could, and this situation could play out in real life; what two Tom Brady Super Bowl wins would you trade for the perfect season to be truly perfect? No more 18-1 and the rest of high school is incredibly more enjoyable for the boi. Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Logan Mankins and the late Junior Seau all now have rings. Maybe Junior Seau is still here? It's kind of fucked up to think, but I've always wondered that.
If I can include the Buccaneers Super Bowl win in this hypothetical, that's a no fucking brainer, but for the sake of difficulty, I'm not allowing that to be on the board. I'm not one of those assholes who counts that as a Boston championship.
For those of you playing along that don't have the Brady-Belichick era tattooed on your brain, let me recap the options:
Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots 17, Rams 14.
11-5 regular season. First Super Bowl win in franchise history. 14 point underdogs vs. the Rams. Tom Brady famously leads Patriots into game-winning field goal range with no timeouts after the Rams tie the game at 17, and John Madden says the Patriots should play for OT.
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Panthers 29.
14-2 regular season. Hadn't lost since Week 4. Overcame 22-21 4th quarter deficit after leading 21-10. Adam Vinatieri kicks 2nd Super Bowl-winning field goal in three years. Low key one of the best games in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl XXIX: Patriots 24, Eagles 21.
14-2 regular season. Extend recording winning streak to 21 games. Cements early 2000s Patriots as a dynasty. Join the 90s Cowboys as only other team to win three Super Bowls in four years.
Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24.
12-4 regular season. First championship in a decade. Tie a then Super Bowl record 10 point 4th quarter comeback. Malcolm Butler's goal-line INT seals it after being on the wrong side of another circus catch. Patriots win Super Bowl amidst deflate-gate BS.
Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28.
14-2 regular season. Comeback from 28-3 deficit. Roger Goodell was forced to give Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP trophy after the deflate-gate witch hunt. Certifies Brady as the GOAT. Finally, catch a break with miracle catches.
Super Bowl LII: Patriots 13, Rams 3.
11-5 regular season. Only Super Bowl where Tom Brady didn't throw a touchdown. 3-0 at the half despite getting passed midfield four or five times. 3-3 going into the 4th. Lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. Patriots defense plays lights out against fraud-ass Rams.
So many variables come into play. Do these wins become losses? Do the Patriots not make those Super Bowls because those factors 100% matter. For the sake of argument, let's assume the Patriots don't make those Super Bowls and instead lose at some point in the playoffs.
Right off the bat, there are two that I'm never trading in a two-for-one situation; MAYBE, if this was one for one, I'd consider it, but there is no way in hell I'm giving up Super Bowl XLIX or LI in this trade. These are my two favorites of all six and are two of the greatest comebacks in all of American sports; they're not going anywhere. But in this hypothetical, if the Pats went 19-0 in 2007, think about the butterfly effect rabbit hole this opens up, and things get interesting.
One of the biggest reasons Super Bowl XLIX was so satisfying is how "long" it had been since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl; five days short of a whole decade. (sorry to basically every other fanbase) The Patriots were a yard away from 3-3 in the Super Bowl with a three-game losing streak had it not been for Malcolm Butler. Had the Pats gone 19-0, I don't think Super Bowl XLIX is as sweet, and damnit, was it pretty fucking sweet.
I'm 100% choosing Super Bowl LIII with my first option. Now, I can appreciate how they won that game, but from a historical standpoint, this is the least important and certainly is the least memorable. I never even bought a t-shirt. It barely felt like a win; it was more of a relief. Super Bowl LIII felt like anything but a big game after how the Patriots' previous three Super Bowl appearances played out. With no notable "true" Patriots winning their only ring in this game, it's easy to trade away for perfection.
For me, the second choice is where things get much more difficult. I need to either break up the three out of four run or go against everything I just said and get rid of XLIX or LI.
In over six calendar years of blogging, the Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXVI when I was in 4th grade is undoubtedly on my Mount Rushmore of most referenced life moments on DOL. It shaped the next two decades of my life. I really want to pick this one since I remember this regular season the least of all the options, but that playoff run is what truly got me into the NFL and the Patriots. It's one of the greatest upsets in all of sports and seminal to the Patriots dynasty. If I was selfish, I'd trade this one, but when you add in the Tuck Rule game being the final game at Foxboro Stadium, I don't want to hypothetically erase that from history.
After much consideration, I'm getting rid of 2004 in this situation for a few reasons. One, Rhode Islander, Mike Cloud, was a member of the 2003 Patriots, and I don't want to take a ring off his finger, but this was not an easy decision. Let's not forget how great the 2003 Pats were. They played so well against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game that they cried to the league and got the rules changed. I really don't want to give the Colts satisfaction by potentially awarding them the 2004 AFC Championship by knocking out the Patriots before facing Pittsburgh, but knowing Peyton, they don't get the job done. If I get rid of the 2004 Super Bowl Champion Patriots, Brady still starts his playoff career at least 6-0 in this scenario. The hardest part of this is taking a ring off of Corey Dillon's finger. Super Bowl XXXVIII is a much more historically relevant game than Super Bowl XXXIX. I feel like taking XXXIX away hurts the overall double-dynasty less. Especially when you're replacing it with 19-0. Three out of seven with 19-0 > three out of four with 18-1.
So I guess I'd trade Super Bowls XXXIX and LIII for 19-0 in 2007. Patriot fans, what two Super Bowl wins would trade for the 2007 Patriots to have finished 19-0? Would you even make that trade? TBH, after writing this blog, I'm not sure if I am, and that's not just to contradict Tom. I wish the Patriots went 19-0, but in a lame, I'm almost 30 way; it helped me learn many important life lessons and certainly knocked me down a peg or two. Plus, I'd be getting rid of the moment where I went onto the deck and took our Patriots flag down in shame only to have my dad make me put it back up, an important lesson in loyalty for 16-year-old Doz.
I could've gone soooo much deeper into all these sliding door moments in history, but after six calendar years of blogging, I'm trying to trim the fat and get to the point and this is still over 1,500 words. This is a conversation that would translate much better in audio/video form.