First off, a warm welcome to those of you who were led here by FoB (friend of the blog) Bill Simmons. The amount of support I’ve received from the rest of the baseball blogosphere has been deeply gratifying. This site has now been linked to by both ESPN.com and Deadspin, which might actually be illegal.
1) The Yankees won four championships in five years; the Patriots won three.
2) Both teams won their first championship with a squad that really wasn't all that impressive. The '96 Yankees had nothing on the '98-00 version, just as the Patriots' 2001 team looked nothing like the 2003-04 squad.
3) Both teams were huge underdogs in their first World Series/Super Bowl and won stunning victories. The Yankees lost the first two games - at home - to the Braves, who were the defending world champs and looked like they would be the team of the 1990s. The Patriots weren't given a shot in hell against the Rams, who won the Super Bowl two years prior and looked like they were in the midst of a dynasty run.
4) Both teams had an off-year the following season, then started Year 3 on a bad note - the Patriots got blown out by Buffalo, 31-0, and the Yankees started the 1998 season 1-4 and rumors were swirling that Joe Torre was about to get canned.
5) Both teams then went on truly historic runs of dominance. The Yankees went on a ridiculous 60-16 tear after their 1-4 start, finishing with 114 wins and tacking on 11 more in the postseason. The Patriots would go 35-3 after the loss to
6) Both teams had developed an aura of invincibility just as their run was about to end. The Yankees made it to the World Series in 2001 only because they came back from a 2-0 deficit against Oakland in the first round (and only won Game 3 because Derek Jeter made a smart play and Jeremy Giambi forgot to slide), then had to face the Mariners - who had broken the Yankees' own record for AL regular season wins with
116 - and dispatched them in five games. The Patriots had to go on the road to face the 14-2 Chargers and all-time TD record holder LaDanian Tomlinson, and won even though the Chargers had nearly triple the rushing yards and Brady threw three picks.
7) Both teams had their run of dominance end on a rare failure by one of their signature players, the Yankees when Mariano Rivera failed to hold a one-run lead in the ninth, the Patriots when Tom Brady threw an interception on a two-minute drill.
The analogy isn't perfect; for one thing, today's game wasn't the Super Bowl. On the other hand, it was Pats-Colts, which is a more compelling matchup than any game involving an NFC team. The fact that
Nevertheless, it holds. And just as the Yankees gained even more respect for the way they went down swinging even in defeat, I have to say I hold the Patriots in higher regard now than I did 24 hours ago. That they made it to within 60 seconds of a Super Bowl with Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell as their best receivers, with a rookie kicker, with the roster devastated with injuries, with half the team recovering from the flu...that's a bad-ass performance. There's no shame in that.
But just as the Yankees learned, in the ensuing years, what the rest of baseball already knew - that winning a championship is very, very hard, even if you have the talent to make the playoffs every year – I have a feeling the Patriots are going to struggle to win another Super Bowl again with this collection of talent.”