Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Patriots lose to the Bills, Colts lose again; is this the end of an era?

During the Bills-Patriots game on Sunday, Marv Albert mentioned that the Bills hadn't beaten the Patriots since the first game of the 2003 season. The Patriots had a string of 15 straight wins over the Bills, which is partly why the Bills never win more than 7 or 8 in a season and the Patriots never win less than 10 or so, and why the game felt like such a tough one for the Bills without me knowing why.

I remember that Bills game in 2003, they won big after Lawyer Milloy had been cut by the Patriots, went to the Bills and gave a scandalous interview alleging that none of the Patriots believed in their coach. For some reason, everyone picked up on this and it was all anyone talked about.

New England had won a Super Bowl in 2001, but they had missed the playoffs in 2002, and now this. Of course, they went something like 14-1 the rest of the year, won the Super Bowl and won it again the next year. For the Bills, it was a speck of significance on the way to an ignominious decade stretching back to when the team benched Doug Flutie for Rob Johnson, which I probably attach immense significance to as a short man myself (Johnson is 6'4, Flutie about 5'9).

Fifteen straight wins over the Bills later, the Patriots have two Super Bowls, a 16-0 season and eight years of being a perennially feared team in the NFL. Of course, they haven't won a Super Bowl since I was in high school, and the playoff disappointments for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are now numerous enough to be routine whereas once they seemed stunning.

This loss to the Bills is, in some ways, probably more significant than the playoff loss to the Colts in 2006 after a 21-3 lead, the loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl or recent losses to the Ravens and Jets in the playoffs. It was a 21-0 blown lead over a team that had been a sure thing for the Patriots, with four interceptions from Tom Brady to boot.

Seven hours after the Patriots lost, the Colts lost 23-20 to the Steelers to go to 0-3, a stunning yet not stunning turn of events for a team that has had 11 10-win seasons and 11 playoff appearances out of the last 12 years, the last 9 being consecutive.

It's safe to say that the Colts will be making the playoffs or threatening for a Super Bowl any time soon, though the Patriots could possible make a run this year, next year or the year after. It's likely, though, that neither Tom Brady or Peyton Manning will ever win a Super Bowl again, and that we're likely to see a new generation of teams and players dominate after a decade dominated by these two teams and quarterbacks.

No comments: