One game. One very, very important game. One that will go down in NFL lore as one of the greatest comebacks in history. The New England Patriots were once considered ‘minors’ contenders’ in the NFL. They were definitely not considered among the elite teams. The 2008 season saw them win only seven games and miss the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. After a dismal 2007 campaign, many expected the Patriots to struggle mightily in 2008. They proved those people and the naysayers alike wrong.
The Patriots opened up their 2008 campaign with a bang, crushing the Pittsburgh Steelers 42–7. They continued to roll, defeating the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans by a combined score of 104–32. By the end of September, the Patriots were 7–0 and the NFL world was talking about them. People were genuinely surprised when they missed the playoffs once again, losing their last three games by a combined score of 52–27. The Patriots somehow secured a Wild Card spot with a 10–6 record, but they were no match for the New York Giants in the Divisional Round, losing 25–21. Still, the 2008 season was considered a major success. It was the first season in NFL history that began with seven straight wins and ended with a 10–6 record. Not to mention it was the first time the Patriots made the playoffs since 1999.
Arguably the greatest comeback in NFL history was the 2009 New England Patriots, who went from 0–7 to become one of the most iconic teams of all time. The Patriots scored only 14 points in the second half of their Week 8 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then they proceeded to rally from a 38–0 deficit to win the game and the division 48–28. They were later upstaged by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 AFC Championship, losing 35–23 after rallying from a 23–3 halftime deficit. The Steelers went on to win their eighth Super Bowl. The 2009 and 2010 Patriots are widely considered one of the greatest comebacks ever in NFL history.
Which Team Is Better, the 2009 or the 2016 Patriots?
Let’s compare these legendary comeback teams. On paper, it’s not hard to see why the 2016 Patriots are considered a better team. They have superior talent at every position. They have a complete backfield, boasting both a rushing and receiving threat. They have a potent passing attack. They have dynamic playmakers at every position. The list goes on.
On the other hand, the 2009 Patriots were a little less fortunate with the injuries they endured. Tom Brady missed two games due to a knee injury, and Matthew Stafford missed two games due to a concussion. Still, for the most part, their injury issues were behind them. They had a full complement of healthy, talented players. The only thing missing was a legitimate quarterback threat. That was because the Patriots didn’t have enough talent at the position to pull off an upset. They were just slightly better than average.
Whether you love the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, this debate will have you talking well into the night.