On the Mark: Pats' time has passed

BY foxsports • October 6, 2009

The Jets beat the Patriots in the second week of the season, and all of a sudden everybody in New York has them penciled in for the Super Bowl.

Yeah, I know. They have a new coach, a new defense, a new quarterback. They look good. They may even be good. But until further notice, they're the same old Jets, which is to say, prematurely praised.










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Some of you are old enough to recall that last time the Jets were touted as a lock for the Super Bowl. It was all the way back in November. The Jets had just won a tough game in overtime on the road. In Foxboro, of all places. They were 7-3 with Broadway Brett (as opposed to Broadway Mark), having scored 34 points on a fearsome and experienced defense that included the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison.

So how'd that work out?

Rather, what happened Sunday at the Meadowlands says less about the Jets than the Patriots, who were lucky to get by the Buffalo Bills on the first Monday night of the season. For a while now there has been this feeling, accepted with little question, that the Patriots would pick up where they left off in 2007 just as soon as Tom Brady came back from his knee injury .

That's not going to happen. Bill Belichick -- as evidenced by his hilariously rude inability to acknowledge rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez after the game -- will only get meaner. And barring cataclysmic injuries, his Patriots will get better. But they'll never be what they were. Maybe now you know why Belichick ran off the field with a second still on the clock against the Giants in Arizona. I'd say he already understood what's taken everybody else so long to comprehend, that the 2007 Patriots would go down as the best team never to win a Super Bowl.

You don't get a second chance at 19-0. A level of play that close to perfection is a highly perishable commodity, especially in professional football.

Already, much has been made of Rex Ryan's defense, and the way it stymied and confused Tom Brady, one of the coolest quarterbacks ever to play. In fact, Ryan's defense looks to be doing wonders for the Jets and their self-esteem. But it's not as if Brady and the Patriots had never seen it before.



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