Hannable: There’s good reason why Bill Belichick doesn’t want to compare 2017 Patriots to other teams

Ryan Hannable
September 11, 2017 - 10:54 pm

Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Last Thursday’s loss to the Chiefs wasn’t the first time the Patriots have been blown out early in the season. 

You don’t have to go back far at all to remember 2014 when the Patriots were blown out on Monday Night Football in Kansas City during Week 4 and many said Tom Brady and the Patriots were done. Of course the Patriots went on to beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX that season.

Following the season Bill Belichick called the second half in the Week 4 game a turning point because even though the game was out of reach, the team still competed hard.

"I thought that we really tried to compete and play hard all 60 minutes, even at the very end when we had no chance to win," Belichick said on Dale & Holley in his weekly interview following the Super Bowl. "I think that was a good sign from our team that we did that. Not that we played well, but we played hard. I think at that point we all kind of realized that if we could just play well and just combine that with our physical and mental toughness that we could be OK."

Naturally, following Thursday’s loss, a comparison was tried to be made of the 2017 team potentially using the game as a turning point as well, but Belichick wasn’t having any of it.

"I think I've said it a thousand times. I don't think anything that we did was really good enough," he said on Friday’s conference call. "I'm not really interested in living in the past – in 2014, in 2015, 2003, 2004 – which constantly keeps coming up in everything about some other year than this year and this team. I don't really think all that is relevant because we're talking about another team. 

“But we get a thousand questions about it every week. So I'm really concerned about the 2017 team and what this team is, what this team needs to do. I'm not trying to live in the past like everybody else is."

Belichick is right in the fact that the majority of the questions leading into the season-opener were about the Super Bowl LI banner going up and not many about the 2017 team. The coach had to constantly say the 2017 team hasn’t accomplished anything yet to try and get the questions back on track.

The fact of the matter is the 2017 team hasn’t accomplished anything yet and at this point isn’t even close to some of the Patriots teams of the past. 

Consider this: the Patriots had seven players who started against the Chiefs who didn’t start in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons (three on offense and four on defense). Also, of the 53 players currently on the roster, 16 of them were not on the team last season. This means 30 percent of the roster is different than it was last year.

This is a different Patriots team with lots of new faces, some of which are still learning what it takes to play for the Patriots.

“I think it’s really a new team,” Tom Brady said Monday on Kirk & Callahan. “There’s new players, a lot of new players. A lot of new schemes. Obviously, new opponents and challenges. New circumstances you are dealing with and you have to try and get this team to be as good as we can as quickly as we can. It’s a long marathon of a season.”

Every year is a new team, but this year is particularly different because of how much the roster has turned over. It would be unfair to try and connect any past teams to this one just because of all the new faces and since it hasn’t established any sort of identity. 

So while Belichick comes across as being arrogant when he responds like he did, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. Comparing the current 2017 team to any past teams would be doing the other Super Bowl-winning teams a disservice. 

This is a brand new team and it remains to be seen what exactly what it is and will be.

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