The Patriots have beaten bad teams, like Miami, and they have beaten good teams, like Dallas. They have beaten six teams that will join them in the NFL playoffs starting next weekend. In Tom Brady, they have the best quarterback who ever played the game. (Come February, when he gets that fourth Super Bowl, the discussion will be limited to him and Joe Montana, and Montana never put up a year like the one Brady has had.) In Bill Belichick, they have one of the five or six best coaches who ever coached the game. They are ludicrously better than 30 of the other teams in the league. We exempt here the Indianapolis Colts, than whom they are only considerably better. And, best of all, they make all the right people angry.
That list starts, as it must, with the surviving members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins, who decided years ago to break the world record for being publicly grumpy old farts, a mark previously held jointly by the McLaughlin Group and any show Louis Rukeyser hosted alone. Bob Kuechenberg’s opinion has been almost universally unsought for more than three decades, and the last person who truly cared what Mercury Morris said about anything was a judge. Yet, all season, the Patriots found themselves heckled by the NFL equivalents of Statler and Waldorf from the old Muppet Show. Go down to the Metamucil section of South Beach, the lot of you, and shut up.
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