Fans and media, me included, have been overjoyed by the prospect that the New England Patriots could be a Super Bowl caliber team this season. Training camp has only heightened these thoughts as practices have gone quite well thus far for both the offense and defense. The season has not even begun, yet we are all making plans for when the Patriots hoist their next Lombardi Trophy. I have learned from experience that sometimes things are not always what they seem, and the possibility that fans could be disappointed once the season begins is all too real.
I am a believer in this team — let me say this first. I truly believe the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC and have a solid chance of making it back to the Super Bowl. That being said, pressure barrels down on players and teams all the time.
When Chad Johnson (formerly Chad Ochocinco) joined the Patriots, it was as if our savior fell from the heavens. Before he stepped on the field, fans and media speculated how he would improve the offense. As it happens, he did not help the Patriots at all. In fact, he did nothing. For this reason, I have to remain open to the possibility that there needs to be room for some disappointment.
The Patriots have one very important thing going for them — professional experience. This is a veteran team with a veteran coach. Together, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork and other senior members on the roster have learned not to crack under pressure. For the young players on the team, their guidance should help them keep their heads on straight.
Do I expect this team to notch a losing record? Of course not. Do I think they will miss the playoffs? No way. Is it possible the Patriots won’t win, or even make it to the Super Bowl? Absolutely. This is the NFL.
Not too long ago we saw the New York Giants enter the Super Bowl as huge underdogs, only to defeat the Patriots for the second time in just a few short years. It is imperative that we keep in mind the Patriots may not be exactly what we hope, but they will remain level headed from Week 1 until Week 16, there is no doubt about that.